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Whit Hazen: Finding Community and Creativity in Floral Design

Squarespace is celebrating Black History Month by elevating the voices of Black creatives and entrepreneurs who nourish and care for themselves and their community through the unique expressions of their work.

When floral designer Whit McClure founded her LA-based studio, Whit Hazen, it meant she’d finally taken the leap to start working for herself and pursuing a path that honored her creativity. Through her unique floral arrangements, McClure translates her background in social justice work, and stays connected to community — even in the shifting landscape of the pandemic. McClure recently talked with Squarespace about making the decision to launch her own business, where she finds inspiration, and how her online presence has become integral to her success.

Squarespace: You founded Whit Hazen in 2016. What originally motivated you to open a boutique floral design studio?

Whit McClure: I was originally inspired to start Whit Hazen because it was time to place a bet on myself and my dreams. Up until 2016, I had spent my career path working for small businesses in the coffee industry and in the non-profit sector around food justice. My last job before pursuing flowers was as an owner in a collectively owned and operated dog walking company.  In all of those experiences, I believed in the vision or mission of who I was working for and used my talents and work ethic to support that vision becoming a reality. However, I've always been a really creative person, and just kept on having this nagging feeling of dissatisfaction because I wasn't pursuing my own creativity in earnest. I finally decided to take a leap of faith to try my hand at being my own boss in a creative field, and with my love of nature and plants and parties, floral design revealed itself as a harmonious fit. I figured that if it didn't work out, I could always go back to working for someone else. But I at least needed to be able to say that I had tried to do my own thing.  

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SQSP: You have a strong background in social justice work, including teaching people to grow their own food. How do social justice and community inform your approach to your current business?

WM: My work with flowers serves as a reminder of the world I am fighting to bring forth; a world where nature’s beauty reigns supreme and is protected, and where everyone has access to the inspiring and healing aspects of the natural world. Working with flowers helps me to remain present to the struggles that our communities face while simultaneously being present to the beauty that always surrounds us.   

SQSP: Where do you find inspiration for your floral designs?

WM: Nature is always my biggest muse, and I get so excited seeing flowers and foliage that I haven’t seen in many months come back around at the market. Getting out into nature for a hike and seeing the new flowers that are hitting the market floor inspires me to bridge those two experiences of what I see out in the world and in the market into a piece that speaks to this moment in time.  

SQSP: How has your business been affected by the pandemic, and how have you pivoted in response?

WM: Before the pandemic, I was primarily an event-based floral designer. That abruptly came to a halt as the pandemic progressed. In response to this sudden change, my studio now has expanded to styling micro-weddings, creating gift arrangements for non-contact delivery and floral art prints that I sell through my Squarespace site, weekly floral clients, as well as selling bouquets through a couple of cafes and coffee shops around Los Angeles. It definitely took some adjusting but I see the blessing in being forced to create additional income streams for the sake of having a sustainable business now and in the future.

SQSP: What role does your online presence play in the maintenance and growth of Whit Hazen?

WM: My online presence has kept my business afloat during such an intense year. I honestly never saw myself having an online store for my studio, but now that I do, I can't imagine my business without it! It allows me to handle orders in an efficient way. My online presence also gives me the opportunity to facilitate new connections while allowing me to stay connected with my community and customers.


Interested in launching your own online business? Get started with Squarespace.

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