Julia Testa Speaks Up in Flowers for Africa

We love New York City for all its color and culture, something we get the chance to explore and promote through our work. We really get to feel like part of the fabric of the city when we do events that promote cultural diversity and strength.

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That’s the vibe we got from the event we did recently for Speak Up Africa, a charity that promotes international advocacy on the part of African nations, cultures and people. It holds governments all over the world accountable for consideration of African policy and concerns, including health care considerations and child care.

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Speak Up Africa held an event at the Upper West Side’s very own Museum of Natural History, one of the biggest museums in the world and one dedicated to the preservation and accurate presentation of cultures and people the world over. The consideration the museum takes to educate New Yorkers and guests from around the world about the history and present-day characteristics of the world dovetailed nicely with Speak Up Africa’s mission.

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They hired us to decorate the museum by giving a nod to Africa’s natural beauty without taking it too seriously. They didn’t want us to recreate the Serengeti, but they did want to give the event a sense of place. We used Manzanita and Camilla branches to create six-foot-tall treelike structures, which we lit softly with tea lights, and lit floating candles around the bases of the tree to create a soft, gentle effect. We created a special tree to hold the name cards to really get people into the feeling we wanted to create.

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The room was styled with orange votive accents, wicker plate-chargers, orange napkins, bamboo chairs and orange seat cushions to perpetuate the natural vibe while giving a nod to the bohemian and colourful accents of African traditions.

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We loved getting to work with a charity like Speak Up Africa. It gave us a chance to feel like we were making a difference and helping paint the Museum of Natural History with the rhythms of modern Africa.

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Events at The Whitney Museum of American Art

We talk a lot (a lot!) about client satisfaction here at Julia Testa. We have to — it’s the most valuable part of every arrangement. When our clients love what we create, they trust us with bigger projects, which means we get to spread our creative wings even further, mastering new skills and building relationships that we’ll enjoy for longer than any one piece.

One such relationship is the one we’ve been building with the American-arts-focused Whitney Museum, a client we were anxious to impress: after all, we share a passion for art! We wanted to make sure they got what they came for, and then some.

They first came to us to set the scene for their Education Committee Luncheon, which they wanted to feel clean and crisp, with a modern pop of color here and there. Since they’re a non-profit, we wanted to give them as much bang for their buck as we possibly could. Fortunately for the Whitney, tightly packing artistry into simple arrangements is our forte. We lined the table with bud vases, each sporting a few simple, cheerful yellow blooms like roses and wildflowers. It was a budget-friendly way to add a little color to the table without adding bulk or weight and it made for a gorgeous lunch.

The Whitney liked our bud vases so much that they approached us again later in the month for a bigger project: they wanted us to craft arrangements for a 1920s-themed American Jazz education dinner for their docents. We were glad to hear from them again; to be trusted so soon with a bigger event that requires more creativity means they liked our work the first time. It’s a second step towards a thriving business relationship.

In keeping with the Roaring Twenties theme, we used lush white peacock feathers as an accent to classic white hydrangea and rose arrangements. When we finished, we lifted them on tall trumpet vases — a subtle nod to the jazz music that greeted guests.

We loved working with the Whitney, and it was so satisfying to see them come back to us a second time. Developing long-term relationships with our clients is so important to us because as we get to know them better, we’re able to craft our arrangements so that they’re even more in keeping with their wildest dreams.

Unleashed: Hooray for Hollywoof!

As much as we love our New York City office, we also love our community, and sometimes we get the chance to get out and show our support for a cause we believe in.

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We got that chance last Tuesday. We were approached by ESPoused Events to do the flowers for Hooray for Hollywoof, a fundraiser for Unleashed, a social justice program that empowers adolescent girls to embrace, recognize, and harness their power and potential. Unleashed offers a 12-week after-school leadership development program which teaches girls to think critically about animal rights and welfare, giving them the opportunity to create change and act as leaders and shapers of the future. Unleashed is also an animal adoption agency, seeking homes for puppies and dogs.

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We wanted to help – future powerful women and dogs are both causes close to our hearts! – so we donated floral arrangements at cost to the event. We took great care to make sure we captured the girly, Hollywood vibe without losing the high-end feel of the event. Since hot-pink paw prints were the theme of the evening, we used hot-pink orchids, which looked almost exactly like paws, as an accent on a background of white hydrangea. Since the space itself felt very white, clean, and elegant, we didn’t want to overpower the setting or the event with our arrangements, so we stuck to sophisticated, with a splash of feminine pink.

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In addition to our contributions, the event also benefited from donations from Coca Cola, LVMH Hennessy, and Belvedere Vodka.

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Hooray for Hollywoof was a blast! There was a photo booth, dogs running around, and a live auction – and Julia won Yankees tickets! We couldn’t help but donate at the event; it was just too much fun and the young women and dogs were so appreciative! We love getting the chance to give back to our community, especially when it entails a fun night out helping future movers and shakers.

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