L.A.’s Star Floral Designer Tiffany Gabrus Talks Bouquet Vision Boarding, How to DIY, and the Bloom that’s Sexy AF

It was Valentine’s Day during the pandemic when Tiffany Gabrus made a snap decision to trade her corporate job as a creative marketing executive to chase a long-held dream of becoming a floral designer: “I had asked friends if they wanted flowers and ended up with over a dozen orders,” says Gabrus. “So, arrangements went out that weekend, I left my job on Tuesday, and that Friday I had another dozen orders going out. I haven’t looked back since!” Her L.A.-based floral design studio, The Sweetzer Life, which does everything from individual bouquets to massive installations for events and weddings, has cultivated a devoted following for its hyper bespoke approach. Gabrus will quiz clients about their favorite movies, songs, artists, even the aesthetic of their homes before she arranges a single bloom. “I want my work to resonate with the recipient and speak to them personally, not just be beautiful,” says Gabrus. Here, she offers advice for how you can DIY with that same energy, and talks all things flowers.  

What Do You Think Is the Sexiest Flower?

“This is like choosing your favorite pair of shoes! But my answer isn’t even a flower… it’s a plant and it’s Amaranthus. She looks and feels like velvet and can drape and slink like no other.” 

Is There an under Appreciated Flower You Think Is Ripe for a Renaissance?

“Carnations! In the flowerverse, we LOVE them. We understand and appreciate their beauty, complexity, and longevity, even though middle school and Sex and the City have given these queens a bad name. And why? Because it’s easy for them to look cheap, they often aren’t used properly, and clash with other flowers. But these girls are the undersung heroes of the flower world and when used properly are just as elegant as a garden rose.” 

Any General Rules for People to Abide by If They Want to Bouquet DIY?

“Think about the space they are going in or who is receiving them, then match your flowers and vase to those vibes. Then…HAVE FUN! Just let your creative freak flag fly! Have a good mix of textures and colors on hand so you have options to play with, or do the complete opposite: pick one type of flower and just work with that! Chic results guaranteed.” 

Are There Other Materials Besides Flowers That You like Incorporating?

“I live for texture and using the unexpected. I love incorporating feathers, preserved flowers/ palms, glitter, jewels, more feathers, pearls! Seriously, ostrich feathers are the sexiest non-floral accent and can double for some other fun…” 

Where Can You Find Inspiration for Your Design?

“Inspiration is EVERYWHERE. Mother nature is my personal favorite…what’s in season and what colors, tones, and even textures best embody it. When you go shopping take in the prints and fabrics, wallpapers, etc. Flipping through a magazine? Rip out the pages that speak to you. And my goodness, music is my guiding force. Make a playlist and base your arrangement on that. How does it make you feel? Well, show it with your flowers!” 

What Tools Do You Need for DIY-ing?

“Get a pair of shears, not scissors. They’re sharper and more precise. My personal favorites are from Modern Sprout. Chicken wire is an excellent tool for creating a structural base at the bottom of your vase. It’s better for keeping your flowers in place than the common floral foam which is not a green option and the flowers don’t actually live as long in it.”