Friendor Feature: Kristen Janes, Kio Kreations

This is the second installment in the Friendor Feature series here on the blog highlighting some of the most uniquely talented local Chicago wedding vendors!

Kristen of Kio Kreations grew up with flowers much the same way her own two young daughters are growing up. Her mother, also a professional floral designer, began teaching her to process blooms and craft arrangements when she was eight years old.

She followed her curiosity and passion through 4-H Fair floral competitions and then was hired at her first retail floral shop at 14. After graduating from NIU with a BFA in Illustration, Kristen had accepted a position as a product designer for a housewares company. However, she wanted to continue her floral pursuits and created Kio Kreations to allow for floral work in her spare time.

Several years later in 2009, she took a leap of faith and turned Kio Kreations into an LLC and her dedicated life career. Since then, she and her team have served nearly 1,000 weddings and truly love what they do.

It is a point of pride for Kristen that she still designs for each and every wedding. In order to handle the popularity and increasing demand of her floral designs, she has developed a team of freelance designers. Kristen is quick to say how lucky she feels to have such a remarkable team and that is only through their support and talents that the company is what it is today.

I enjoy working weddings featuring Kristen's timeless, creative and expertly designed arrangements. As a photographer, my work is either limited or elevated by the creatives who contribute to a wedding. When I hear that a client has booked Kio Kreations, I'm even more excited to see what Kristen has dreamed up for me to photograph!

Through the following photographs, watch as Kristen constructs a big blooms bouquet and a floral compote centerpiece!

xx Grace

Do you have hobbies or enjoy creative activities beyond floral?

"Being a mom is my #1 thing- even above floral design. But my #2 passions are floral design and art. Sometimes one jumps ahead of the other depending on my mood and the time of year! If you ask me mid-summer in the busiest and most stressful part of wedding season, I would guess I love art more then. (Wink!)

I love that my passions of art and floral are intertwined and inspire each other. I love sketching. I love teaching private lessons to my art student... I love using watercolors, colored pencils, pen and ink, graphite and markers to create illustrations. I would love to illustrate children's books... but that's a future career goal."  

 
 

What's the story behind your company name?

" 'Kio' has been my nickname since high school and actually is supposed to be a "K" and a numeral "10" which was how I used to abbreviate my name: Kristen = Kris10 = K10 = Kio. Naturally it's a much rarer an a unique title for the business than "Kristen's Kreations" would have been. (There are actually several businesses with this name across the USA.) There are still no other Kio Kreations anywhere!"

Favorite Chicago wedding and event planners? 

"At the moment, I really love working with Anika from Anika Kai Events, Leanne from You Name It Events and Monique from MLP Events. I've worked with a handful of other great ones- and many, many other mediocre ones!"

What flowers and greens are you using to create the compote design you're building for this feature?

"The stars of the compote are the double-tulips. They are working their own curves and elevating the design to new heights. I'm also using ranunculus, silver tree foliage, ruscus, foxtail fern, "Free Spirit" roses, "Tibet" roses, snapdragons, hypericum berries, silver dollar eucalyptus, spray roses, hydrangea, seeded eucalyptus and protea. I love texture and having a good balance in a design, and that is one of the reasons I adore designing in compotes!"

What are your current flower muses? 

"Pieris japonica, "silver tree foliage, double tulips, locally grown zinnias, pepperberry and I'm always a sucker for a fragrant cabbagey garden rose or a farm-grown dinnerplate dahlia." 

"A top highlight in my day as a florist is getting in an order, processing it and then just staring at the buckets full of glory in front of me. The creative possibilities are endless, and it is such a trip to think these flowers were in huge fields just days before. To think of the path of a single flower from seed to centerpiece is just mind-blowing."

What's your best advice for Chicago brides searching for a florist?

  • "Book early if you want to get a great florist.

  • Budget 10% of your overall budget for flowers if you find them to be an integral part of the overall look.

  • Always work with an independent event florist if you want the most one-on-one service, highest quality blooms, strong design skills and a keen attention to detail."

Who is your ideal client? What is he/she looking for? 

"She or he is trusting, open-minded and know the importance of flowers in creating a stunning wedding ambiance.

My favorite phrase to hear from prospective clients are: "I love flowers, I want them EVERYWHERE!", "I am open to your suggestions- you are the the expert" and "I trust you."

Describe your current and ideal workspaces! 

"Our current studio is great. It has the space we need (nearly 2,000 square feet), it's close to the highway and the venues we work at most and close to my home. It has a workable layout with storage, meeting space, design space, play space for my kiddos and "dirty work" space. It works well for us!

My DREAM workspace is very different. It would be located in its own building that I own, and it would be completely designed by me. Maybe it'd be an old barn, maybe a new construction- but whatever it is, it'd have all the functional space I need, and utterly charming and stylish. It'd be just steps away from my house so I could work at any hour of the day, safely, creatively and with my family nearby. I'd have gardens adjacent where I'd grow local blooms to use in our designs. This dream studio will likely be a reality in the not-so-distant future."

It seems everyone is doing a palette of mint green, blush and ivory these days. What's a terrific modern wedding color set that is fresh and bold?

"I love jewel tones. I think they're timeless. I love navy as a base color (linens, dresses) and then flowers in other jewel tones, or berry hues or light tones. Pretty much every color looks good with navy..."

 
 

Kristen and her Kio Kreations team are available for select remaining 2016 wedding dates and are now booking 2017. Her website can be found here: www.kiokreations.com