If you’re in search of a new Instagram obsession, look no further than The Flower Hat. Based in Bozeman, Montana, Julio Freitas is the florist and farmer behind the whimsical & bold creations. We were lucky to work with Freitas on a spring campaign showcasing our occasion dresses, and we chatted about how he came to be The Flower Hat. Tip: if you’re ever in Bozeman, be sure to check out one of his famous flower bars.
Images by Rebecca Hollis Photography | Orange Photographie
Tell me a little about your background and how you got into floral design.
I’m originally from Brazil, and I moved here 11 years ago to study Marketing & Business. I got an internship at Hilton Hotels in Billings, Montana, and I was a hotel manager for about 7 years. At some point, they asked me to put the Christmas trees up, and I was good at that. I eventually started doing all floral designs for the hotel. One day I walked into one of my favorite coffee shops, and they had this beautiful flower arrangement. It was the first time I had seen them have it, and the next week it was gone. The space was black and white, so the flowers had added such a great pop of color. I mentioned it the manager, and she asked if I wanted to do weekly flower arrangements. The flowers were the first thing you saw when you walked in, so people asked for my card and started hiring me.
At that point I was doing hotel management, an interior design business with my partner on the side, and flower design. I decided to go full time in 2014. It was scary because I didn’t have any weddings booked yet, but the next year I booked 25. Flower Hat was born in 2016.
We started growing our own flowers in 2014. Now we’re harvesting thousands of flowers that we sell to wholesalers, other florists, and use ourselves. We’ve also started hosting a flower bar. In big cities, you have flowers markets where you can get whatever you want, but we don’t have that [in Bozeman]. I put out all kinds of flowers, and people can choose what they want. Flowers sell themselves!
Images by Simply Sarah Photography
How did you come up with your name?
The Flower Hat came about because when it was hot and sunny, I was always wearing a hat with flower prints. I would show up and the bride would say, “I was wondering what hat you’d wear!” It started to be what I was known for, and the domain name and Instagram handle were available, so the name made sense!
What inspires your gorgeous arrangements?
Being an actual flower farmer, I let the seasons dictate how my arrangements will look. I don’t follow rules like things should be in odd numbers; I follow my instincts. You have to let the flowers be themselves!
Images by Simply Sarah Photography
What are your favorite flowers to work with?
I love Dahlias. I have to say that because we’re planting 4000 of them, but they come in so many sizes, shapes, and colors that a whole arrangement can be made of dahlias and still look so beautiful and unique. I also love anemone and ranunculus. There’s a variety of phlox called crème brulée that we use in almost every wedding. I also like to incorporate dried grasses, pods, sticks and tumbleweeds.
Freitas with a bouquet of creme brulee phlox.
Do you have any tips for brides-to-be looking for the perfect florist?
- I think there is a florist for everyone out there. Instagram is such a great tool to use for research. Brides should look for a florist who is consistently producing the style that they want. Not all florists will have your style, so it’s OK to step back and say, “I don’t think is going to match my vision, so I think I’ll research other florists.” I would hate to talk a bride into something that I want, but she doesn’t absolutely love.
- Look for local farmers. A lot of them are willing to do weddings. So many brides are focusing on buying local these days, which is great. Do some research and see if there is someone local whose work resonates with you. Some of my favorite sources for finding farmers are Ascfg.org, Slowflowers.com, and Floretflowers.com.
- Be open to seasons and listen to your florist for suggestions. Peonies in August are probably not going to happen. Don’t order something just to have it, and be open to what else is out there. Most brides don’t really know what all is out there, so it’s my job to show them.