Event industry back in bloom

Posted at 8:08 AM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 10:08:34-04

In 2020, couples canceled their plans and small businesses suffered. Some, shuttering their doors forever. Others, like Boise's 'Rust & Thistle' adapted to the new-normal and came out on the other side.

Kristen Skovira spoke to the founder who says her business is finally back in bloom.

Behind a Boise home, sits a secret garden. It's a sweet set-up, but it took years for floral designer Emily Campagna to take her business idea and get it to grow.

"[Started] in a kitchen in an apartment almost 8 years ago," she said.

'Rust & Thistle' is beloved by brides and anyone looking to elevate their event using the natural elements of nature.

"I love art. I love installations. And I love being able to go into a space like a venue or a church or even an open space like an open field and creating in my mind some sort of masterpiece," she said.

A certified floral designer, Emily and her assistant spend their days clipping and styling - creating original, eco-friendly arrangements in her home studio.

Courtesy: Rust & Thistle

"I really don’t have any interruptions all day long. So I get to just be in my element doing my thing," Campagna said.

That is, until a global pandemic interrupted everything and changed life as we knew it.

"Pretty much before [COVID] started we were all watching the news wondering what this is going to turn into what this is going to look like," she said.

Then the cancellations started.

"Every day was another five phone calls with clients that had been booked for years and in some cases saying, 'We have to cancel our wedding, we have to push it out.' So it was a pretty scary thing to go through."

Campagna was not alone. According to a 2020 study from industry website The Knot , the vast majority of weddings (96%) had to be modified in some capacity due to COVID-19. And 15% of couples who had planned to get hitched in 2020 postponed the entire wedding.

The small business owner did her best to bump dozens of events. She went from a fully scheduled season to a completely blank slate.

"I would say about 75 to 80-percent of them were bumped up or canceled altogether," Campagna said.

Her plans uprooted, the floral designer had to get creative.

"We ended-up pivoting in the business quite a bit. We started doing deliveries and what we called cheer-up deliveries. We would knock on people's doors and leave an arrangement at their door," Campagna said, "In a time that felt so isolating and ultimately it saved us, it saved the business."

Emily Campagna

Now, a year later, Campagna is excited to get back to work. She's ready to bring her bouquets to Idaho events and thank those who supported her small business.

"I felt grateful for that because it kept me busy. It kept me going."
Emily Campagna

Just in time for wedding season 2021, when gathering together means so much more.

"To see people happy again feels really amazing," she said.