A walk down 12South is incomplete without a stop at Nashville’s favorite photo op: Amelia’s Flower Truck. Stocked with seasonal blooms, the truck is beloved by locals and sought out by tourists for its charm and single-stem flowers. The face behind it, Mattie Bush (not Amelia, that’s the truck!), is as delightful as you’d expect. A flower novice when she jumped into the game, she brings fresh eyes and unique ideas that undoubtedly make Nashville a brighter place to be. Recently, we sat down for coffee and got to know Mattie Bush, the face behind Amelia’s Flower Truck, and today we introduce her as our newest FACE of Nashville!
Tell us a little bit about your background. How long have you been in Nashville?
I grew up in Florida and went to school for fine art. After school, I decided to travel because I didn’t know what to do. I went to Spain for six months, then Atlanta and then headed up to Nashville. My sister lives here with her husband and kids, and I came to visit them.
I got a job here managing Retro Sno, the snoball truck. It was a seasonal job, and while I was trying to figure out what was next, I came up with the idea for Amelia’s Flower Truck. That was in 2015, and I opened in 2016.
What inspired Amelia’s Flower Truck?
I always knew that I wanted to own a business, and I was just waiting for the idea to come. I was running a business in the mobile industry pretty well. I started thinking about flowers. We just don’t have that on the streets here, and it’s something that I’ve always loved about New York and Paris. I wanted to make fresh flowers more accessible to anyone. I wanted it to be an experience where people could create their own experience and not as intimidating as flower shops can really be. All of my inspiration really came from the flower markets in Europe.
My sister, actually, was a big inspiration because she loves to make arrangements. A concept like Amelia’s gives her, or someone like her, the ability to be a floral designer.
So you bought your first truck and filled it with flowers. What came next?
Our first spot was at White’s Mercantile. We’re still there on Saturdays. Three months later, I expanded into a second truck. The trucks are so rare, and we found a really good deal on a second truck, so we figured … we might as well go ahead and get it. The third one popped up in Texas. My dad actually offered to buy it and said I could buy it from him when I was ready. And once he bought it, I was like … I’m ready now! We have three trucks now, Amelia (Amy), Rory and Melody. For the first two years, I was always on the truck. Now, there are 10 employees who run them.
We opened up a brick and mortar in The Factory at Franklin. And now, we’re opening at L&L Marketplace at the end of June. It’s going to be such a cool place with so many great vendors.
Do you have any big plans for the future of Amelia’s?
Opportunities arise, so I don’t want to be set on one path. I do hope to expand to other cities. Whether it’s brick and mortar or the truck concept, I’m open.
What about at L&L Marketplace?
This space will be even bigger than our Franklin location. We will have more than just flowers too … things for the home and gifts and such. We’re also going to have an apothecary bar where you can make your own tea and potpourri. And of course, we’ll also have stem flowers. It will be styled very Parisian with space to hang out. We’ll have two tables outside of our place and one inside – very French!
I also want to have workshops there. We’re thinking about doing a camp for 9- to 12-year-olds with a tea party at the end. The first day, we would teach a classic Amelia’s bouquet, the second day would be an arrangement and the third day maybe flower crowns. It will be a fun way to get out of the heat in July.
How do you choose where to park the trucks?
We base it off of foot traffic. 12South is great because it’s littered with people. Having worked with Retro Sno, I had relationships with other business owners where we’ll park. We’ve gotten close with the people who own the Gulch. But really, a lot of people reach out. We have been doing pop-ups without the trucks, too – inside stores, the alley in the Gulch, etc.
Are there other things you’d like everyone to know? Aside from the cuteness of the truck we all see on Instagram?
I think people don’t know that they can rent out the trucks. We’ve had businesses rent them out and surprise their staff. It’s really rewarding and always fun to see.
We also have a subscription service. You can do weekly, biweekly or monthly. It’s so mindless, you just get a day-brightening delivery.
Do you have a favorite flower? One that you’re excited when it’s available?
Right now, butterfly ranunculus. We just put some on the truck today. They actually last a while – the last ones lasted a whole week. Cremones, too.
What flowers last the longest? Any tips for keeping them alive?
The cremones last a really long time. It’s weird, I gave a restaurant an arrangement and after a week – where they hadn’t changed the water or anything – the cremones were still alive!
We’ve become known for having flowers that last. Consistently, about two weeks. We get them from the wholesaler, process them again, and we sell them really quickly. We actually don’t use flower food or recommend it. I don’t like the idea of adding chemicals to them. Change the water every two days, clip them, etc., and your flowers will last.
What’s your ideal day in Nashville?
Going to a coffee shop. There are so many good ones. Going to Portland Brew on 12South and getting a Hawthorne sandwich for lunch. I just moved to Germantown and love walking around there, too. In Bicentennial Park, there is a retro baseball game that happens, with 1860s rules … that’s kind of fun. Then hanging out with friends, finding a good a happy hour on the porch and enjoying the sunshine.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Before I started, it was that threshold moment of, Am I really going to do this or not? And my friend, who has a popsicle empire in Florida, said, “I’ve seen more people not do something because they were scared than try and fail.”
Aside from faith, family and friends, what are three things that you cannot live without?
I can’t live without a beverage. I always need coffee, a La Croix or a cocktail. I can’t live without my Vans. I’m always wearing Vans. And, my sunglasses.
Thank you, Mattie, for bringing more beauty to Nashville! Find more details about Amelia’s Flower Truck on her site here, as well as a schedule for the trucks. And thank you to Leila Grossman for these lovely photos.
She’s a new Nashvillian who moved from Atlanta and is now adding to the talent pool at TriStar Summit Medical Center. Click HERE to meet breast surgeon Dr. Amanda Morehouse, our newest FACE of TriStar.