Bree Iman Clarke is an entrepreneurial dynamo. While building her first business, she and her husband, Carlos, slept in their Honda Accord, took showers at a fitness club, and changed clothes at Target. Now the couple owns The Little House Project Studio, a multipurpose space in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas where Carlos creates sought-after farmhouse tables and Bree hosts her in-demand On the Table workshops, all housed under the Iman Project umbrella.
Bree often appears on local news media; has been featured in Forbes twice to discuss the challenges of being a Black businesswoman; and has been covered in Paper City, the Dallas Observer, and D Magazine, among others. She has her own series on CW33, A Seat at the Table with Bree; gave a popular TEDx Talk; and creates pop-up shops featuring the work of local artisans.
During the pandemic, she has added two businesses to her portfolio: Bree Blooms, a flower-shipment and floral-tutorial program, and The Plant Project, a shop filled with plants, candles, books, and gifts. On top of all that, Bree is a mother to elementary school–age twin boys. What is she not? “A floral designer,” she laughs. “I use flowers as a way to bring people together.”
Her foray into flowers sprang from a childhood spent in her grandmother’s driveway and garden.
“A friend of my grandmother’s was always coming over to talk about plants, and I learned he was the first African American man to graduate from Texas A&M with a horticulture degree. I realized later that I picked up a lot of what he was teaching us,” Bree says. She also bonded with her mother over flowers, so moving into a flower-based business seemed like a natural segue.
Having a passion for people as well as flowers, Bree’s mission evolved into her On the Table workshops, where she wants everyone—people of all colors and body types—to gather to share food, work with flowers, build friendships, and tackle difficult conversations.
Over three years and countless workshops, she has witnessed a powerful alchemy that takes place within the sessions. Participants, while surrounded by flowers and experimenting with different arrangements, have organically settled into conversation about life and its inherent challenges.
Bree’s guiding tenet is the idea of community, and it means everything in her business and personal lives. And sometimes, difficult times open up surprising opportunities. “During the pandemic, my workshops launched nationally, so the discussion is no longer local,” she says. “I’m able to create with my hands and my heart, hopefully to better my Dallas community and now others as well.”
Bree’s Floral Tutorial
I chose a very simple and versatile container on the small side. Using a neutral container ensures the focus is on the flowers. Fold up a piece of chicken wire and place it in the container, and add water.
Next, start to build your base of greenery. I used two types, glossy Italian ruscus and fluffy asparagus fern, as contrasts to each other. You can always add in more greenery toward the end if needed.
I enjoy using the underrated carnation! Manipulate the bloom to make it open up more. Build a triangle of blooms nestled in the greenery. I find that the triangle approach works for all skill levels.
Next add clusters of spray roses. Trim the long stems. If you don’t have spray roses, try another small flower such as lisianthus—multibloom stems are great for filling in blank spaces and for pops of color.
More roses! Reflex standard roses to look more like garden roses; the yellow tone of the rose helps to unite the palette, from the pale-pink spray roses to the pale-yellow carnations. Let some sit a little higher in the arrangement and put some at the base.
I like to add layers of interesting texture and color by including astilbe and ‘Blushing Bride’ protea to align the palette and start to pull it together visually.
Time for some flourishes! Use ranunculus and scabiosa for movement in the design. Let them dance above. These blooms add a playful note to the arrangement.
To further unite the palette, I chose these roses for their pretty pink tone. I twirled them and reflexed them for a more dynamic look. Finally, look for any holes in the arrangement, and fill in with more greenery or leftover blooms.
Produced by Alice Welsh Doyle | Photography by Manny Rodriguez | Floral design by Bree Iman Clarke of The Iman Project and The Plant Project