Flowers for People LLC founder Katie Lila didn’t think she would hear back after she pitched an idea for a series to the young floral-themed streaming television service BloomTV.
“I pitched it to them through like a fangirl, cheesy video,” she says of the idea that she would travel to local Inland Northwest flower farms, tell their story, and create artful installations with their harvest. “Right after I sent it, I was like, ‘I want it back. This is so embarrassing. What am I doing?’ But then, I did hear back, miraculously.”
The pilot, titled “Follow the Blooms,” was picked up by the streaming service, which offered Lila an eight-episode season. BloomTV also hired Kelly Ditto of Spokane-based DittoFilm Media LLC, who partnered with Lila to shoot the pilot, as the director of photography. Spokane and the area’s surrounding farms and farmers figure prominently in the first half of the upcoming season. Each episode culminates into artful installations at an event, such as Bloomsday and the Lilac Parade.
To secure an offer for a series, Lila spent about $15,000 to create three pilot episodes, each about 20 minutes in length.
“Katie is a brilliant person,” says Ditto. “As soon as I put a camera on her, I knew she’d be great for TV. She’s fun and quirky and knows a ton about flowers.”
Ditto says instead of referring Lila to film students, he saw the potential in the show and the opportunities that could follow and decided to take on the project himself.
As of mid-July, Lila was shooting the season’s fifth episode of “Follow the Blooms.” She says the series is BloomTV’s first full season and is expected to air on the streaming service in the fall. She declines to disclose the financial details of her contract with BloomTV.
While she wraps up production of her series, Lila says she is taking a break from her business, Flowers for People and anticipates returning to it in the next growing season.
Established in 2019, Flowers for People has the stated mission to get more people interacting with flowers through workshops and artful installations. Lila turned her South Hill home’s dining area into a floral studio space and while she is the businesses’ sole employee, she often ropes in the help of her four kids and husband, Talmage Broadbent, an oculoplastic doctor with Spokane-based Northwest Eyelid and Orbital Specialists PS.
Originally from Orem, Utah, the family moved to Spokane in 2016 after several stints living around the country for Broadbent’s medical training.
Lila started her first floral company while her husband finished medical school and took a break after the birth of her fourth child. When she decided to return to working with flowers in 2019, she wanted to move away from making floral arrangements for weddings, during which the blooms were only enjoyed for a few hours, and toward finding ways for people to interact with flowers and relish their fleeting beauty, she says.
Flowers for People’s first workshop space was with Terrain Programs’ From Here retail shop, located in River Park Square, at 808 W. Main. Lila also booked private workshops for book clubs, birthdays, and other events.
“Once I started doing workshops, I noticed people come alive. It’s like flower therapy,” says Lila. “Mostly, you’re told don’t touch the flowers, but the magic is in touching the flowers.”
Flowers for People’s first flower installation project was commissioned by Clarin McDerrah, owner of The Now Now Space LLC, a Spokane-based photo studio at 309 W. Second, downtown. With that project, the studio offered photo sessions amid a “Flower Wonderland” over the course of a couple of days.
“I was just enamored with this large fresh art and people getting their hands on it,” says Lila. “Flowers are ephemeral, like food and sunsets. They’re just these gorgeous moments and then they are gone. They’re meant to be that way. We just need to figure out how to savor it.”
Lila says the flower installation at The Now Now inspired her to want to create a YouTube channel to showcase her work. As she was thinking of how to move her business in the direction of production-quality video, she came across the call for content by Monica Michelle, CEO of BloomTV.
“Of course, that felt like liquid lighting in me, and I was like, ‘Yes, I have to be a part of this,’” she says.
BloomTV was launched in 2020 as a network for “all things floral.” To Lila’s knowledge, the network has 6,000 subscribers and a social media reach of over 4.5 million. While it bills itself as a network, BloomTV offers monthly and yearly streaming subscription packages.
Lila says she wants to mold her business to follow the grow season and will take a break in the fall after “Follow the Blooms” airs.
She wants to grow Flowers for People and hopes to create a flowers mechanics line of products, which will include materials and supplies that designers use to place and hold flowers and foliage in arrangements. She says she also sees the opportunity to create a company that facilitates large floral installations.
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