Beyond the Brooch
Posted: Thursday, Apr. 11, 2013
Whitney Parker, of the Whitney Alyssa line, designs beaded flower hairpieces and bouquets for the bride who appreciates couture and wants something a little bit different. Since her move to Charlotte last year, Parker has become a not-so-hidden gem for her innovative and classic designs. Check out her work at local boutique Hayden Olivia. www.whitneyalyssa.comHow did you start making beaded flowers?
When I got married, I wanted to do something different for my flowers and my bouquet. Im a huge arts and crafts fan, so I love all things Martha Stewart, and I have her big craft encyclopedia. In there, theres a basic little pattern for a beaded flower. I was like Oh, well that would be cool.How long did it take you to make that first bouquet?
Probably about 90 to 100 hours.Wow. Was it worth it?
I love flowers, but I hate that they die so quickly. This is really nice because you know youll have it forever. You can have it sitting next to your wedding photos. Its something that somebody could actually pass down to their daughter.Why weddings?
I just have a passion for bridal. I think its such a special time in someones life, and for a bride to choose something that Ive made for her to wear on that big day, I think, is really special.And you do all this on your own?
Right now I am my only employee. Its hard being one person and doing all the different aspects of the business. Sometimes I feel like Im dropping the ball, but then I just have to tell myself, Youre only human. The right encouragement always comes at the right time.Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
I will be so stereotypical and say Martha Stewart. I mean, shes the reason I figured out how to do this, which led to, now, not only making pieces, but having a whole business built around it. I actually met her last fall, and I was like a little kid. It was awesome.
Can you tell us a little bit about the customization process?
If a bride wants to do something custom, she can contact me through the website. One of my more recent brides wanted a tiara. She wanted something tribal-esque but very soft and romantic. So I did kind of a basic layout and I took pictures and sent them to her. There was that collaboration between us, where I was using her to make sure she got exactly what she wanted. She said she started crying when she got it. I couldnt make that piece again if I tried.