How a Holt woman made crepe paper flower bouquets a thriving business

HOLT – Liz Carter took a part-time job at a Colorado flower shop, hoping to meet new people, and instead fell in love with the flower business.

Fast forward more than a decade and Carter, 42, now with extensive experience in working with flowers and owner of her own boutique, built a business around the design and sale of bouquets of flowers that will always be in bloom and never out of season.

Liz Carter of Unwilted in Holt has one of her paper flowers bloated with isopropyl alcohol on Thursday, November 11, 2021 at her workspace in Holt. Each flower is made from Italian crepe paper and handcrafted from Carter’s original designs.

Unwilted, the online business she founded in early 2019 from her home in Holt, offers floral bouquets and designs she designs from Italian crepe paper.

The delicate flowers are created from 100 pieces of foldable crepe paper in the shape of petals, buds and leaves. The bouquets that Carter arranges and assembles by hand are colorful, lifelike, and made to last longer than the real ones.

The crepe paper flower arrangements helped Carter rediscover a love for flowers she thought she had lost when she returned to Michigan in 2016.

It started as a hobby, something she tried after seeing examples of arrangements posted on Instagram.

Today, Unwilted is a successful and growing company. Carter, a graduate of Holt High School, ships her designs to customers throughout the United States and around the world.

This month, the company moved from Carter’s basement and garage to a 3,130 square foot suite near Delhi Commerce Drive.

“This new space will give me the space and the freedom to really open up more options, more availability, for the different types of products that we have,” Carter said.

An art form

To work with flowers is to be kind of an artist, Carter said.

Bouquets are emotional, meaningful, beautiful, Carter said, and organizing them takes creativity, as well as the ability to take what you have on hand and create something that fits a client’s needs.

Handcrafted paper flowers by local artist Liz Carter from Holt, seen Thursday, November 11, 2021, in her workspace for Unwilted in Holt.  The flowers are made from Italian crepe paper created from Carter's original designs.

Handcrafted paper flowers by local artist Liz Carter from Holt, seen Thursday, November 11, 2021, in her workspace for Unwilted in Holt. The flowers are made from Italian crepe paper created from Carter’s original designs.

“I think it’s such an interesting job because you are constantly working with seasonality,” she said of traditional flower arrangement. “Not only are you sending something that represents an emotion, but you are mostly working with what you already have in the cooler.”

In Colorado, Carter went from working in a flower shop to part-store owner for seven years.

After years of working long hours and weekends, she returned to Holt five years ago exhausted and convinced she was done with the flowers.

<a class=Bouquets of flowers designed and arranged by local artist Liz Carter from Holt, pictured Thursday, November 11, 2021, in the Unwilted workspace in Holt. Each flower is handcrafted from Italian crepe paper created from Carter’s original designs.” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Z35KeZWLnmiuInsh1n9dKA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQxMg–/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/LPdJgU9fvI77sxUsP7RBgA–~B/aD0yNDAwO3c9NDEwNTthcHBpZD15dGFjaHlvbg–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/lansing-state-journal/b7f229201268ce345f306407b80022e7″/>

Bouquets of flowers designed and arranged by local artist Liz Carter from Holt, pictured Thursday, November 11, 2021, in the Unwilted workspace in Holt. Each flower is handcrafted from Italian crepe paper created from Carter’s original designs.

I have to make a big change, Carter thought.

She met her husband Alex, moved to a new home, and then came across some examples of crepe paper flower designs.

“It was an old-fashioned art form, like crochet or knitting,” she said.

Carter began to dabble in making his own and realized that with crepe paper, flower designers aren’t limited by a season. For example, they can use peonies or tulips at any time of the year, and their arrangements will last longer than a week.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, there is so much potential here,’” Carter said.

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Expansion with a workspace in Holt

His business started small and grew in popularity. Then it attracted investors.

Carter went from designing and making each flower itself – each taking him between 30 minutes to an hour to complete – to developing individual prototypes and workbooks for making each variety, and then developing it. outsourcing of flower production.

Liz Carter of Unwilted in Holt poses for a portrait on Thursday, November 11, 2021 in her new workspace.  She designs <a class=flowers and floral arrangements individually handcrafted from Italian crepe paper.” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/7SoS9YSia.Vi_gGZUMoLpw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTQyOA–/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/MfurH5TIhA0rcApq9NsOww–~B/aD0yNDAwO3c9Mzk1NDthcHBpZD15dGFjaHlvbg–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/lansing-state-journal/892add018aafe846b5263b10d65fbd0e”/>

Liz Carter of Unwilted in Holt poses for a portrait on Thursday, November 11, 2021 in her new workspace. She designs flowers and floral arrangements individually handcrafted from Italian crepe paper.

The finished parts are shipped to Carter, who assembles the arrangements herself before shipping them to customers.

How close are they to fresh flowers?

“You can use some weights of this paper differently so that some of the petals are really, really airy, and some are a little more dense, and at the end of the day you put everything in a bunch together,” Carter said. “You end up having this realistic arrangement because you have all of these textures.”

Unfaded creations price range from $ 29 to $ 385, depending on the size of the arrangement.

“They’re full, they’re beautiful,” Carter said. “They’re at peak stage, so what you send out, what you see online, is what you’re going to get.”

Handcrafted paper flowers by local artist Liz Carter from Holt, seen Thursday, November 11, 2021, in her workspace for Unwilted in Holt.  The flowers are made from Italian crepe paper created from Carter's original designs.

Handcrafted paper flowers by local artist Liz Carter from Holt, seen Thursday, November 11, 2021, in her workspace for Unwilted in Holt. The flowers are made from Italian crepe paper created from Carter’s original designs.

She realized she had to move the business out of her home and garage this spring as she filled nearly 500 orders for Mother’s Day.

“It was crazy,” Carter said. “I was also seven months pregnant.”

His daughter Hazel is now five months old. Unwilted’s new workspace is a welcome next step, Carter said.

More space for the crepe paper flowers and more room to put together arrangements will mean more business, she said.

“I can take more orders and hire people,” Carter said. “I’m so excited because for me it’s super creative. I can just play with flowers all day.”

Visit Carter’s online store at www.unwilted.com .

Contact Rachel Greco at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @GrecoatLSJ.

This article originally appeared in the Lansing State Journal: Unwilted, a crepe paper flower business, is expanding in Holt.


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