“I want to give people an opportunity to have something beautiful,
no matter how big or small.”
-Lindsay McMillan, owner, Flowers & Flour floral design and bakery
by Jessie Ammons
photograph by Madeline Gray
Ask Lindsay McMillan about her business concept, and she says it boils down to a good ol’ passion project: The Le Cordon Bleu graduate “just loves to arrange flowers.” When she moved to Raleigh six years ago she couldn’t find chic centerpieces on a budget, she started a company so that she could buy wholesale blooms and arrange them for herself and friends. Combining it with her culinary training seemed like a good move, and Flowers & Flour was born.
“It’s still very small,” McMillan says of her one-woman business, if very small means providing flowers and desserts for events almost every weekend. Sometimes she does arrangements for a dinner party, baby shower, or bridal shower; sometimes she does the flowers for an entire wedding. Other times, she’s baking the cake as well.
McMillan excels at trendy nontraditional styles: greenery wreaths, flower crowns, throwback birthday cakes (one recent confection featured funfetti strawberry shortcake with cream cheese buttercream frosting covered in rows of pink and white frosted Mother’s circus animal cookies).
During the week, she’s busy at her day job in the bakery of the new Sprouts Farmers Market specialty grocery store in North Raleigh, which keeps her culinary skills sharp. Much of her floral design knack comes naturally and from self-taught practice; she’s briefly worked with Meristem Floral to learn a few tricks of the trade, and now relies on a friend at church for traditional arranging guidance.
So far, Flowers & Flour’s nearly constant stream of orders has come mostly via word-of-mouth and social media. “People find me on Instagram! It’s crazy how people from all over find me.” For now, her home base is her home kitchen and a spare room-turned-flower-studio, but one day, she’d love to open her own store. “That’s always been my personal dream. But something that I really respect and want to do is to take time, and learn, and hone my craft.” The best part, she says, pun intended, is the opportunity for growth, especially in the flower design department. “I get to be creative consistently, but it’s not overwhelming. I’m not burning myself out.”