Magazine article Working Mother

How She Does It

Magazine article Working Mother

How She Does It

Article excerpt

Standing in the open-air patio of a shop in New York City's flower district, Jeanne Costello inspects a violet sea of hydrangeas, tests them for freshness and stoops to smell a butter-colored crop of roses. "If you want the best flowers, you have to get to the market before dawn," says the self-employed floral designer. "If you get here later, you get the leftovers." Today she's designing 16 wedding bouquets for a fashion show at an uptown bridal boutique. The dresses are "Bohemian meets twenties Hollywood glam," Jeanne explains, so she's angling to have their floral counterparts be just as "insanely fantastic." That means hours of touching, smelling and creative thinking at New York's 28th Street flower market.

Since her growing business, Jeanne Costello Designs, covers everything from weddings to magazine photo shoots, she makes these predawn blitzes for fresh blooms five or six days a week. The best thing about it, she says, is that it coincides with the hours that her 14-month-old, Catalina, keeps. Jeanne started bringing her to the market when she was just 4 months old. "She loves it, and she's so popular. Everybody there knows her," the proud mom says of her young muse. Weaving between the bales of magnolias, chrysanthemums and sunflowers, Jeanne will often follow Catalina's flower picks. "She's attracted to bright color combinations, while I tend to be more conservative. I do the final editing, but she definitely inspires me."

Having Catalina by her side a few mornings a -week helps Jeanne strike a better balance in her scattered schedule. As a florist, she's at the mercy of other people's time. Weddings consume most of the weekends, photo shoots for advertising campaigns like Evian and MercedesBenz often run late into the evenings, and styling dates for magazines such as Vogue and Town & Country can change at any time. "It's hectic, there are tons of deadlines, and being late can -wreck someone's life," she says. …

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