D Home: First of all, we love the name The Southern Table. Where did it come from?
Maxine Owens: I wanted it to encompass everything that goes into setting a full table, as well as entertaining. It’s floral. It’s linens. I do calligraphy and lettering. I also feel like my aesthetics are really different. I can do modern, I can do loose and organic, or I can do something in between. Southerners are all different, and there’s not one southern look.
[inline_image id=”2″ align=”r” crop=”tall”]DH: What’s your design background?
MO: I have a retail background. I really loved the visual and design part of it. Retail helped me prepare for working with clients because you meet so many people and you have to pull out what they want even though they have a hard time articulating their vision.
I started at Anthropologie doing merchandising, windows, and design. Then I went on to Barneys. I got married in 2009, and floral was my favorite part of planning my own wedding. I took some classes and got my foot in the door. I had an internship with Todd Events where I did a rotation of all the departments, and then I went on to Crate & Barrel. But my job changed and became less visual, and I just wanted a creative job.
DH: How did the transition to floral and event design happen?
MO: I said, “Okay, I’m in my 30s. What do I really want to do?” That’s when I decided to take on floral full-time. I went on to intern at Bows & Arrows and was hired there as head designer and studio manager. I learned so much. They do really wonderful work. And then I decided I wanted to do it on my own.
[inline_image id=”3″ align=”” crop=”full”]
DH: How do you work with clients to complete their visions?
MO: Pinterest. For floral it’s really helpful. I have boards broken down by color. So when I meet with a client, and they say they love red, I have pinned red things I love or from my own work. When I ask a client, “Do you like dahlias?” they might not necessarily know what that is. So it’s great to pull up the board and use it as a tool.
DH: Aside from weddings, what kinds of events do you design?
MO: I have done a lot of private parties and corporate events. We do everything from dessert-table design to full-party installations. If you are having a dinner party and want something huge and lush and grand, we can do that. We do weekly floral arrangements, too. I also decorate for holidays with cool installations and refresh floral arrangements.