In this section, empowered women from around the world show us how they work to achieve their dreams and what it means to be a woman in today’s society.
Get lost in the Parisian streets, admire the palaces of Versailles, the pastel colors, the smell of fresh flowers everywhere, love stories, and macarons of light colors. All these concepts inspired floral designer Katie Madison to create her flower arrangement endeavor that she defines as "French-inspired" but "Aloha-Driven".
Sophisticated and elegant in style, Belle de Jour is today a business that does not just sell flowers, but happy moments. It's easy to guess which Katie's passion is behind her business since "Belle de Jour" in English means "Beautiful Day". In this interview, Katie told Island by Koa Nani what fulfills her and how she carried out the idea of opening a French-style flower shop in Hawaii. Her customers love her, and after reading the message she shared, surely you will too! Don't even think about it and keep reading her story!
What is your brand inspired by?
Katie: Art has been the focus of most of my adult life. I studied art in college and always knew I wanted to have a creative career which I felt passionate about. Nature has also always drawn me in, and most of my artwork is inspired by landscapes or flowers. My main medium of art used to be oil paints, and I loved painting landscapes or flower still-life. I dabbled with floral design on the side, designing tablescapes when hosting dinners or creating Haku leis for friends' birthdays or showers.
How did you start designing with flowers?
I always thought flowers were fun but never considered them as a career until an extended trip to France. The flower culture absolutely enamored me. From dainty Parisian flower shops to rose gardens at castles; this romance was something I aspired to bring back to Hawai'i with me.
Which is the spirit of your brand?
Katie: A phrase I use to describe Belle de Jour is ‘French-inspired and Aloha Driven.’ I am a hopeless romantic at heart, aspiring to bring beauty to people’s days through flowers, and doing so with Aloha and passion.
What’s your favorite thing about your job?
Katie: My clients are everything to me, and it really means the world to me. My favorite thing about what I do is I truly feel like I have found my calling. It could not bring me more joy to be able to design beautiful pieces of art through flowers. I love discovering new flowers and playing with the seasonal blooms throughout the year- garden roses specifically bring me so much joy.
I also love how excited people get about my designs. When clients display a piece of my work in their homes, or I get to be a part of a beautiful wedding-it’s such an honor!
What does your average day off look like?
Katie: For me, it is so important to take time off for myself to re-center and spend time with my family. I truly believe in the motto, ‘You have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others,’ and I feel this relates to most aspects of life- whether personal or in work. I have an almost two-year-old, and spending quality time with him and my fiancé are how most of my off days look like. I make time to turn my phone off and relax- either at the beach or cooking a meal together at home.
How do you practice self-care?
Katie: Aside from being a mother and a business owner, self-care is key! Turning off my phone is first and foremost, and then making time for myself. Taking a nap or sleeping in helps me rejuvenate after a long week. I also find exercise to be extremely beneficial, so I try to work out at least 3 to 4 times a week (yoga sculpt is my go-to).
Which advice would you give to yourself when you were younger?
Katie: I always have a hard time with this question because I believe every choice (good or bad) I have made in my life has brought me to where I am today. However, the best advice I could give my younger self is: ‘be authentically you.’ So many times, I struggled with comparing myself to others, trying to ‘fit in’ or be like someone else. The moment I stepped into my true self and only focused on things that brought joy to my life, I found I was happier and attracted more loving/relatable people into my life.
Which is your favorite jewelry from our website? Why?
Katie: All your designs are so beautiful, it’s hard to choose just one! I love the ‘Celestial’ collection, and Larimar is one of my favorite stones. The ‘Heliconia Pendant’ is stunning and so unique- I’ve never seen anything quite like it! However, I also love the simplicity of the ‘Larimar Full Moon Hoop Earrings’ – I am also a sucker for the moon phases.
Thank you Katie Madison for sharing your french inspired world full of aloha with Island by Koa Nani. It is definitely a unique concept that we loved!