Love is the flower that blooms on and on
Deaney Bautista plants the seeds that make her paper flower business bloom
The wedding industry has undeniably diverged from the days of old—prepandemic. The change could stem from any of a multitude of factors, be it the widespread communal anguish of canceling your dream wedding or the freedom that came with an ultra-private ceremony without the pressure of pleasing everyone. These days, classic wedding traditions have been cast aside to make room for new ideas to bloom.
Deaney Bautista has flourished in this changing industry by using her cutting-edge taste, study of industrial design, and the experience she gathered at her own wedding as building blocks for her small business. When Bautista was searching for a way to customize her wedding, she stumbled upon an idea that spoke to her.
“I was about to get married, and I am the type of girl who [doesn’t] like fresh flowers; they die, things like that. And then, coincidentally, I saw an article with a bouquet of paper flowers [made from] book paper. There’s something in me that clicked. Like, that’s beautiful! I really like the sculptural look of it, that’s the first thing that I thought of. The second thing is that given my background I can totally make that.”
After an abrupt transplant from North Carolina to Rochester in the beginning of 2021, Philippines native Bautista needed to think on her feet as a businesswoman just as she had learned to do as a pandemic bride. She recalls starting her business in North Carolina with PDF templates that patrons could buy online and use to create their own paper flowers at home. She used her own wedding as a portfolio to show potential customers her skill and attention to detail. Her business, Deaney Weaney Blooms, quickly began taking on a life of its own as Bautista herself searched for more connection in isolation.
“When the pandemic started, I just felt I needed connection. After so many months I was just talking to my husband and my almost-one-year-old daughter, and I’d had enough,” she laughs.
“When I had an opportunity to set up a flower wall at a wedding, I was able to talk to the mother of the bride, and I loved it. So, I started offering the flower walls. Prior to that I’d already set up a number of them, but that was not the main thing; it was just a byproduct of the templates. But then after I’d set up my first one, I [knew I] really wanted to do this.”
Bautista described painstakingly building a permanent flower wall installation in a local boutique in North Carolina at thirty-six weeks pregnant and actively experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions, but the installation made the discomfort fade away. After this experience she pivoted her business to focus on large-scale floral wall installations for weddings instead of the DIY templates. Bautista found her new clients by marketing on wedding service websites like WeddingWire and The Knot and displaying her floral walls at local wedding trade shows. But just as she renewed her contracts for these locally based marketing platforms, her husband announced that they would be moving to Rochester.
“I started marketing the flower walls, and then when we moved here [to] Rochester. I realized that there’s a very good creative market here, and the small business community is so supportive. So, I started joining [artisan] markets, and that’s when I developed the other products.”
After arriving in Rochester Bautista was determined to make Deaney Weaney Blooms flourish in her new climate. She began posting in Facebook groups and sharing photos of her work on social media. As of publication, her Instagram account, @deaneyweaneyblooms, has 128,000 followers. Deaney Weaney Blooms was able to grow in Rochester with no paid marketing, and Bautista found that the market here was even more suited to her goal of focusing more on flower wall installation and less on DIY templates.
When asked what potential clients are looking for when they come to Deaney Weaney Blooms, Bautista explains that her paper flower displays are not a substitute for fresh flowers but an entirely different animal. Every element in a Deaney Weaney Blooms installation is lovingly crafted to perfectly compliment the vision in a way that nature cannot execute, whether it be playing with the scale of the flowers or offering custom colors. She includes her customers in every step of the process to confirm that they are all on the same page and makes their wildest dreams come true.
“My main thrust of 2022 was to plant my seed here in Rochester, to meet people. So, I decided ‘Hey I want to do markets.’”
Artisan markets became a way to experiment with new ideas and techniques. She found the spark to branch out into laser cutting acrylic earrings, small scale sculpture for the home, and dainty paper flower bookmarks. While this dalliance allows her skills to flourish, she maintains that the heartbeat of her business is the flower walls. Upon meeting Bautista, you might first assume that she is shy or reserved: a self-described introvert who works on delicate paper flowers with a feminine sensibility. To speak to Bautista about herself and her business is to discover that she is more akin to a bear or a panther. She takes every single opportunity and sinks her claws into it to pull herself up further. She used her own paper flower wedding decor as ammunition to start her business. She installed her first flower wall while very pregnant and pushing aside contractions. She refused to put her business on the back burner when she relocated to Rochester after building it up in the very different business climate of North Carolina. If you give her an inch, she will grab and pull to give herself a mile.
When asked where she hoped to see her business in the next few years she told me that she’d love to hire an employee or two and perhaps move her workplace out of her home. It’s this duality between the fierce and gentle that defines Deaney Weaney Blooms as a force to be reckoned with. A paper flower appears fragile and ephemeral, but it is resilient, firmly placed, and will last the test of time.
You can find more about Deaney Weaney Blooms at dwblooms.com.