Alyssa of Color Theory Collective

Here in Austin, we are so fortunate to have some truly amazing wedding professionals! I met the lovely Alyssa of Color Theory Collective at the Swoon Event, a curated wedding market, and have been an ardent admirer of her work ever since. Her floral creations are ethereal, romantic and definitely a little bit magical!

Through this interview, I learned that Alyssa and I have a few things in common besides being creative wedding vendors, including that fact that our moves to Austin were both (at least partially) inspired by the great Polar Vortex of ’14 and that we’re equally enamored with the full bathtime experience, complete with face masks and Netflix!

Intrigued??? Read on below for more about Alyssa and her work:

Welcome Alyssa! Tell us a bit about your background and what led you to start Color Theory Collective.

Well, I was never that kid who knew what they wanted to “do,” other than catch baby turtles to tag them with a highlighter, release them and attempt to track their growth. By the time I was 18 I decided out of necessity that I would become an FBI agent, so of course I went to school for film, switched to graphic design, realized I hated sitting that much, but chose to get the degree anyway. I had always been a visual artist, but came from a very “make practical decisions” type of family, so I wasn’t confident on how to pursue it as a career.

After college, in 2008, with a degree I didn’t want to use, I decided to pursue my Master’s in Fine Arts so I could teach painting. I found a part time job in a small flower shop in Chicago and started washing millions of buckets while I waited to hear back from the grad schools. I did not get into the schools I applied to, but it didn’t bother me because I had started designing for the flower shop and loved it. I worked there for a few years, moved around to some other shops in Chicago, including Jayson Home where I had access to an amazing palette of flowers and a lot of freedom in design.

I can thank the Polar Vortex of 2014 for my move to Austin, TX. I found a job for a wedding floral company right away and realized how second nature floral design had become over the years and that it wasn’t to be taken for granted. I also realized that I needed more freedom to spend time with my family and friends, as life was passing by quickly, so I decided to take the leap towards Color Theory Collective.

Your florals have a dreamy, ethereal quality to them – how did you develop your style? What are your favorite sources for creative inspiration?

Oil painting is my number one inspiration for floral design. However, nature/the human
form is my number one inspiration for oil painting. I’ve always loved using unexpected
colors in paintings, especially in portraits and skin tones. In addition to keeping the colors unassumed, I use loose lines, relaxed strokes and juxtapose them with areas of
structure and realism. I think this translates in my floral design and gives it this “ethereal” quality you are referring to.
Austin Wedding Florist: Color Theory Collective
Austin Wedding Florist: Color Theory Collective

What’s the most rewarding aspect about what you do?

By far the fact that I spend the majority of my time required to think about things like color palettes, installations, movement, form, composition, etc. So many artists have to make time around their jobs to develop ideas and create them. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to do this everyday and I don’t get tired of it! There are so many types of flowers to use as a medium, so many colors, shapes to create, vessels to use, spaces to utilize, you really never need to do the same thing twice (unless someone wants that).

Wedding florals involve a lot of last-minute work and on-site installation – how do you keep cool under pressure?

Snacks, water and sleep. I’m telling you. Everything will be more difficult if you are
hungry, dehydrated or exhausted. Of course I stay very organized before the wedding, I
come with extras of everything, have a massive tool box, and have run over everything
in my brain that could possibly go wrong. I then devise a plan in my brain for these
potential moments, bring supplies for said situation, and talk to those working the job
about these theoretical situations. Having said all of that, a clear head/energy is the glue that keeps it all together. Years of experience can help too.
Austin Wedding Florist: Color Theory Collective

What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as a business owner?

Jeeze, I wish I could say bookkeeping because that would mean I’d learned how by now.
I would say that the hardest part, especially because there is no easy way to learn it, is overcoming the vulnerability of putting yourself out there when starting a business.
Vulnerability is inevitably difficult because it is forever linked with self-doubt. When faced with starting a business, you have SO many choices. You have the freedom to make it whatever you want. From the start I knew I wanted the content I was putting out there to be genuine. This brought me to start wondering “What is genuine to me?” I would answer that question and then spin out into questions like, “What are people going to think of this?” “What are potential clients going to think of this?” “Is this weird?” “Yes.” Then, “Is this too weird?” “I DON’T KNOW!” It has been the best process for self-growth that I didn’t even realize I needed. It has taught me, and continues to teach me, that there is no right answer and to just embrace who I am and, consequently, what I represent. By now I have realized that by attracting a tribe rather than a luke-warm general audience, I have had clients who totally trust me, making the event floral design process better for both parties.

Running a business can be stressful; do you have a go-to self care or de-stressing routine?

I am religious about baths. To be honest I go all out. I will put on a face mask, add bath salts, add a chlorine neutralizer tablet, make a meal, make a beverage and bring it all into the bath tub. I will then set up my laptop with a movie and disappear from the world for awhile. Enjoy that visual.

Describe your perfect day.

Thinking back on some of my best days that I’ve purposely repeated probably makes
them pretty perfect. My wonderful partner and I wake up early, put on our hiking shoes,
our bathing suits, grab our cameras, bring a cooler and stop by Wheatsville on our way
out of town. We always buy breakfast tacos for our drive and a million beverages- fancy
fermented drinks, coffee, yerba mate, bone broth, and water. We usually pack our cooler
with some fancy cheese, a loaf of sourdough, dried mango, chips, guacamole, and
Lambrusco (I love food). We drive to Pedernales Falls State Park, just past Dripping
Springs in Hill Country. We hike for a bit, stop at some of the secret little swimming
holes, and circle back to our car. We then drive to the public swimming spot where there is a clear and cold river lined with soft sand and shady trees. We swim and lounge until the evening. By our drive home we are hungry, so we clean up and go get sushi! The End.

Thank you, Alyssa, for kicking off our Vendor Profile series! To see more of Color Theory Collective’s gorgeous work, please visit the links below:

Website :
Instagram: @colortheorycollective
Pinterest: colortheorypdx
Facebook: colortheorycollective

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