As a teenager, Chicago native Carolyn Harbert had to choose a summer job. After learning her mother used to work for a florist, she decided to follow suit and give it a try. It was during that job, while assisting her local florist, that she discovered her passion for floral design and her gift for creativity.
She took that artistic bent to college at Auburn University, where she earned her degree in graphic design, which in turn earned her a position at an advertising agency in Atlanta. While building her creative portfolio in Atlanta, she met her husband, a Birmingham native. The couple soon moved to Birmingham, where Carolyn dabbled in the freelance world of branding and logo design — but she had a nagging feeling that it wasn’t quite the job for her. She oftentimes found herself visiting local supermarkets to buy flowers to decorate her new home, but wished there was a local stop — both trendy and fun — that sold fresh arrangements, along with other pretty trinkets to pepper throughout a home and brighten someone’s day.
Then one day she realized she should create this dream shop she had been envisioning. And so, Wild Things Flowers & Curiosities was born. Nestled in an almost hidden spot behind SOHO Square in downtown Homewood, this quaint floral boutique offers home decor accents, gifts and candles, as well as floral arrangements, workshops, event design and more.
During her planning stages, Carolyn decided she didn’t want to be limited to just flowers, and she wanted the shop’s name to reflect just that. “I wanted people to be curious and come in for a lot of reasons, not just for flowers,” says Carolyn, who has a love for antiques and envisioned the store feeling trendy, but also nostalgic, appealing to women of all ages, styles, tastes and personalities.
The shop is clean, elegant, inviting and inspiring all at once. Upon entering through the large glass door, you’re met with smells of fresh florals and decadent candles, as well as the inspiring and crisp popping sound of Carolyn shortening stems to fit perfectly and wildly into her free-form arrangements. The shop displays items for all areas of the home, including the garden, kitchen and bathroom. And she’s mastered the ability to provide it all — coffee table books, bath towels, house plants, wicker baskets and so much more.
After shopping on the front end, she welcomes folks to the workshop in the back of the store where large steel tables line the back wall. One of her favorite aspects of her new business is sharing her love for floral creativity with others. She invites people to host showers, brunches, bridal parties, office parties, garden parties and more in her Wild Things Floral Studio.
In addition to workshops and a shopping experience, Carolyn offers event design from small- to large-scale events – weddings, parties and gatherings of all shapes and sizes; editorial styling; and retainer packages for private businesses, residences and restaurants around town for weekly or monthly flower arrangements.
“I just want Wild Things to be a place where people can come and learn and be creative — a place for people to come and enjoy being themselves,” Carolyn says. She provides each workshop attendee with their own Wild Things apron, a pair of garden scissors and a “Flower Formula” with the number of flowers and filler to grab from the cooler. The large buckets are filled with single stem flowers and greenery for arranging. Carolyn demonstrates the technique for creating an arrangement, while also explaining there’s no “perfect formula.”
Carolyn’s goal for Wild Things is to ultimately become Birmingham’s go-to florist. “We do weddings, events, workshops and pretty much anything else you’d need flowers for! It’s a very relaxed environment. I want it to be a creative outlet for the people of Birmingham — a stress-free zone.”
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