Episode 1: Crafting from the Heart with Wendy Middaugh
In our very first podcast, we are featuring the wonderful Wendy Middaugh of WJM Paper Floral Designs. We met Wendy at our Masterclass in Seattle this past spring and was so impressed by her art and personality. Wendy resides just southwest of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, U.S.A. She’s been making paper flowers for about 1.5 years, picking up the craft via YouTube tutorials.
She currently works full time as a lab technician, however, you can find her making paper flowers all the time and selling them via her website, WJM Paper Floral Designs. She’s also got an Instagram presence, sharing her craft with her followers under @wjmpaperfloraldesigns.
Listen to Wendy as she talks with Quynh, Jessie, and Priscilla, about her paper flowers, her growing business, and her paper flower journey, on the PAPER TALK PODCAST.
In addition to our chat with Wendy on Paper Talk, are some of the things that Wendy told us about her paper flowers, her business, and her overall philosophy regarding self-investment and the paper flower industry:
Let’s first get to know Wendy!
1. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mostly from looking at fresh flowers and photographs of floral arrangements on Pinterest. I love artists from the late 19th century like Renoir and Manet.
2. How would you describe your paper flowers and/or aesthetic?
I try to be on the realistic side. I’m still crafting my aesthetic but like the airier arrangements with soft edges.
3. What do you love about making paper flowers?
Seeing the happiness it brings into people’s lives. My business slogan is “Crafted from my heart to yours” and I really mean that.
4. What advice would you give to new paper flower artists?
Don’t undervalue yourself! I’m struggling with that too.
5. What’s your favorite tool and/or material to use?
I would be lost without my wooden handled scribe tool. I utilize both ends depending on what I’m doing. Also, I work almost exclusively with “washed” doublette. I’m always trying new ways to blend the colours for a more natural look.
6. What’s your favorite flower to make?
I don’t have one. But if I could make a David Austin rose, that would be my favorite!
7. What’s one thing you want people to know about paper flowers or the paper florist industry?
That it is not a cheap substitute for fresh flowers!
8. How did you decide to invest in your business, WJM Paper Floral Designs?
It started with The Paper Florists Masterclass. From there, I’ve been working with a branding consultant, which is a fun process because I get to be the client! I am going to an all-day intensive workshop on how to use Instagram to build a business. It includes an audit of my page. I never thought I would have a need for social media as I am not a picture taker nor social. I also found several associations and groups for wedding and event professionals and creatives that I want to be involved in.
I witnessed and learned at the Masterclass that it takes hard work and perseverance to be successful in business. It’s not like opening a car wash where people know what it is and what to expect. The paper florist has to find their clients and make them realize they need our services. The hardest part of that for me is putting myself out there and meeting new people. I am going to a Meet and Greet arranged specifically for wedding and event professionals. This is not something I naturally feel comfortable with, but I know I have to do it to move ahead. I want to show myself the investments paid off!
THANK YOU Wendy for sharing your wonderful story with us. We look forward to following along with you as your artistry and business grow.