There’s an accepted assumption in Hollywood that the majority of restaurant hostesses are also aspiring actresses. But, that adage didn’t hold true for Schentell Nunn, who took a job as a hostess in a Los Angeles restaurant when she first moved there at 31. Instead of getting headshots and going on auditions, Nunn was spending her time off the clock at the Los Angeles Flower Market and searching for freelance work as a florist.
Five years later, and the woman behind LA-based floral design company Offerings has an enviable list of high-profile luxury brands on her client roster. She has designed floral arrangements for Kanye West’s Sunday Service, put together colorful floral backdrops for the current Victoria’s Secret campaign, and sent glorious floral invitations to VIPs on behalf of Chanel. Her website’s about page reads like a call sheet for New York Fashion Week, working with Dior, Gucci, Maison Margiela, Sisley Paris and Revolve.
As a contestant on HGTV’s “Full Bloom,” (filmed in isolation during the pandemic), Nunn checked off the requisite reality-show box needed to build a branded empire.
Nunn quickly created a name for herself as an in-demand florist, but she says she didn’t arrive there until some soul-searching in her twenties.
While she moved around a lot as a kid, no matter where she was, she wanted to be outside. She’d spend time in her grandmother’s garden, admired the zinnias and sweet peas at her elementary school’s garden and was constantly exploring nature in, what she calls, her “tiny, tiny town” in Vermont.
“There was a consistent thread in my childhood of a connection with nature, and I always had a love of gardens and natural spaces,” Nunn says. At 15, she even got her first job at a grocery store—working in the floral department.
Like many childhood dreams, she put her love of flowers on the backburner as she got older. She studied architecture in college. She lived in New York City and designed jewelry in her twenties.
But, she continued to feel the tug of the gardens from her childhood. After her grandmother passed away, Nunn, in her words, did her own version of “Eat, Pray, Love,” with stops in places like Bali and Cambodia. Post-EPL, she moved to the west coast.
After her initial stint as a restaurant hostess, Nunn booked freelance floral design gigs at Spring Place, a members-only workspace in Beverly Hills that hosts high-profile brands. Networking ensued and she was soon working with global brands.
She booked Kanye’s Sunday Service (a “wow moment,” she says), and that high-profile gig led to others.
In the summer of 2020, when the world rallied around Black-owned brands in the wake of the protests surrounding George Floyd, she said her business received a lot of attention and her Instagram following went from 5,000 to more than 20,000 within a month.
“That took us to a place we weren’t expecting to go,” she recalls.
The growth of Nunn’s company has been fast by any standard, but she says her success has been particularly satisfying as a Black woman competing in a historically white industry.
“Floral arrangements are something that mostly go into white-centered spaces,” says Nunn. Traditionally, “Black homes aren’t interacting with florists because it’s not always at the top of the financial priorities list.”
Nunn is here to change that. “It’s nice cutting into that and saying, ‘I’m here and I’m great at this,’ and receiving the praise that I do.”
Even a passing glance at the gorgeous floral arrangements on Nunn’s Instagram confirms that she speaks the truth.
Up next, Nunn hints at television projects as she continues adding luxury clients to her roster.
Nunn herself appears in J. Crew’s spring campaign, where she was photographed in the brand’s clothes while putting together her signature floral designs.
With the visage of a model, perhaps she should have been carrying her headshot with her at that restaurant job in Los Angeles after all.
“Florals are so wild,” says Nunn. “I think a lot of florists would agree, we’re just all completely obsessed with and in love with flowers. Every bloom is different and, in the style of work I do, every arrangement is different. It gives a lot of creative freedom to just play and lean into what you love.”
Here, Nunn shares her tips for leaning into your own love of flowers this spring.
Embrace Being Single
Nunn says for a spring dinner party, create a centerpiece using lots of bud vases with a single flower in each. “It feels elevated, but it’s less pressure and more reward. It looks really poetic and special.”
Celebrate Peony Season
The popular wedding flower can make any occasion special. “Peonies are in season. They’re always beautiful and you can just drop them in a vase.”
Get Creative Close to Home
“If you want to be adventurous,” advises Nunn, go foraging in your own backyard or take a walk around your neighborhood. “Look for long, beautiful blooming branches. You can get some really beautiful moments.”
It was an honor to witness the remembrance of my dear friend and fashion industry icon.