We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Reitzel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erin, as a parent, what have you done for you children that you feel has had the most significant impact?
I was the kid who told everyone I wanted to be a mom when I grew up, It has always felt like something I had to have in my life. Fantasizing about that dream and having it become my reality was a bit jarring at times. When you don’t have kids and you have this idea in your head of what life will be like, I always imagined the fun times of dress up and family movie nights. I didn’t however envision the tantrums in the middle of the mall, being a human jungle gym, or the rollercoaster of emotions that come with a toddler. I get whiplash from that daily. With all that being said to love your child so completely you would give up everything for them, is the greatest feeling on the planet and I wouldn’t change it for anything. During my first few months of mom hood with my daughter, Hannah, I did however feel lost. I felt like I wasn’t me anymore and I was living only for her. That turned out to not be the healthiest of situations, but it’s one I think most new moms find themselves in trying to balance their new life. When I got the opportunity to get back into flower arranging for weddings it was like everything in my life fell into place. I was able to love my daughter completely, as well as loving something that was completely mine. It helped to give me a purpose and in having a purpose all my own that was not my child, husband, household etc. I was able to become a much happier and fulfilled person. After taking that step and starting my business shortly after I am proud to be able to show my daughter what a strong mother, wife and entrepreneur look like in one person. She sees me working hard and pushing to stay out of my own comfort zone, even when I’m scared. She also knows that she comes first in my life. I don’t work when it’s our time together. She is and always has been my priority in every way. Giving her that stability of having me around while watching me both fail and succeed, in my opinion has been the best and biggest impact on her I could have. I hope because she sees me chasing my dreams she has the confidence that she can chase hers as well, no matter what they end up being, and above all that her mama has her back the whole way there.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have always been just okay at crafting. I was never outstanding but I could make pretty things. When I was approached by a bride shortly after my daughter was born I had honestly given up hope on owning my own business. See I had a faux flower business prior to HannahSola LLC and I was very naive through that process and didn’t have that passion to push myself they way I needed to back then. I was overwhelmed and just not happy. So when this bride approached me asking to do her wedding I was ready to say no. She pushed and eventually got me to agree to get back in the biz just this once. The only thing she said was “I want faux flowers but NOT the fabric or plastic ones you find at the store. I want something different.” This conversation lead me down the google rabbit hole to try and find what I didn’t know existed. Then up on my screen popped SOLA. These wood flowers made from the root of a tapioca plant looked like my perfect answer. I ordered 6 roses right then and there. A few days later the box came in and my life was forever changed after holding those flowers. It was like I found the long lost love I never knew I needed. I was determined to know EVERYTHING there was to know and learn about these flowers. As I looked through all the different pages and websites with these flowers I saw so much repetition between the pieces that were being made. Not that there was anything wrong with that, I was just curious if I could push the boundaries a bit and bring these flowers into a more luxe look. I started making my own flowers using the wood paper rolls and immediately fell in love with that process as well. I have since made somewhere in the universe of 5,000 flowers and have over 100 of my own personal designs. I have also started teaching other florists how to make, paint. and arrange high end wedding florals. I love pushing the limits. I love standing out from the crowd with my craft and most of all I LOVE bringing confidence to others who also want to learn how to bring sola flowers to a different level of beauty. There is something really special about finally finding the thing that makes your eyes burst in excitement and your soul ready to create.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I have to say I tend to be a little introverted so my idea of a fun visit would be a little slower paced with bits of fun thrown in. I am in the Chicagoland area of Illinois so there is plenty to do. One of the things my family and I love to do is hike some trails. I would probably make sure there was a day spent at Starved Rock Park because it’s one of the most beautiful places I have been to in IL. Maybe even grab one of their cabins and do an overnight so we could attempt to do more than one trail. I have a four year old daughter so she can only go so far! I would also love to do a Chicago skyline dinner cruise. Sometimes they have themed cruises that are loads of fun! No fun trip would be complete in my eyes unless there is a show of some kind. Blue Man Group, broadway show or even head over to our local comedy club for a good belly laugh. The rest of the time would be what’s most important to me, quality time. Cooking at home and spending time together catching up on all the things life has thrown at us! After all a trip needs to have some relaxing down time!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without hesitation the person who has allowed me to bloom in this life has been my husband. We have been together for 10 years and he is my true love, safe place, rock, voice of reason all of the amazing things describe him to me. I know I can tell him anything that comes to my mind and I will never receive any judgement. He supports my dreams in every way he can be it physically helping me set up a photoshoot to helping me cut my bouquet grass. He even spent many days with me doing long bridal expos helping me reach new clients. He keeps me laughing, he keeps me grounded, he allows me to be unapologetically me and I am forever grateful that I have the life I do with him.
Osiris Photography, Hannah Reitzel, Lexi Sheridan