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Meet Trey Malicoat and Jeffrey Sell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Trey Malicoat and Jeffrey Sell. 

Hi Trey and Jeffrey, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
Natural Designs Floral was born on a dock in Gulfport. Jeff Sell and I were chatting about the different types of floral and event work we both had done over the past several years, and we decided it would be a perfect partnership. Given Jeff’s extensive background in floral work, both in Philadelphia and Maui, and my work in events and fundraising in Portland, OR, and Denver, we decided to combine forces to offer something different. Combined, we have produced and executed over 450 weddings and 70 events for clients all over the US. 

We began the process of setting up the website, market research, collateral development, and the business structure about three years ago. Then COVID happened, so we sidelined things for a minute. 

In June of the year, we were sitting on the beach, as we do each Sunday, and we watched a beach wedding a few yards away. At the risk of sounding critical, what we observed was a ‘cookie-cutter” wedding that was nice, but certainly not up to our standards. We both agreed that weddings, or any event for that matter, should be incredibly beautiful, photographic, and a full experience for guests. We certainly didn’t see this approach on the beach that Sunday! As you looked through the wedding space, you could see a random woman in culottes taking tourist photos, and if you looked the other direction, you saw a crowd of 40 fantastic gay men all wearing banana boats and dancing. We laughed and commented that that couple’s photographs and the environment were probably not what they were expecting for the biggest day of their lives! Of course, we love dancing gay guys and tourists in culottes, but we also know that in a wedding environment, they simply do not fit! 

We created Natural Designs Floral because we want to offer the Saint Pete community something different, expansive, beautiful, and a full experience. Our work is not just about flowers and events, it is about creating spectacular events using flowers as art. 

Since beginning in August, we have done several weddings, a handful of events, and an interior installation at 400 Beach Restaurant. In November and December, we are producing a fantastic 20’s party for a local fantastic French bistro and we are doing the annual Gala for the Stuart Society, which raises money for the Museum of Art. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect? 

We have been so blessed to have met a community of people who have invested in our success. Betty Sembler invited us to do her 90th birthday party in October, Megan Simons from Pippa Pelure (a fantastic boutique) on Beach Drive has introduced us to a wonderful community of people, and Michelle Richards, the General Manager of 400 Beach has allowed us to highlight our work. Additionally, we have met a host of tradespeople who have helped us navigate the waters in Saint Pete, and we have been afforded the opportunity to work for the Art Museum. 

The only struggle we have really faced is getting the quality of products we are used to! Covid has wreaked havoc on all the suppliers, but we have learned to get even more creative by finding florals and greens growing in the wild (shhhhh…don’t tell our secrets, but if you see two grown men clipping greens in the bayou, give us a wave.) 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Jeff Sell is single-handedly one of the best floral designers in the industry. He has a very strong mastery of space, color, design, and he always does something special that dazzles people. His work in Philadelphia and Maui allowed him to produce small and massive events in highly desirable locations, for some wonderful people, and in Saint Petersburg, he was the lead designer for Redmann Steel Florists. While with Redmann Steel, he created spectacular florals for the Museum of Art, Robert Cavalli’s 40th Anniversary yacht party, Ovations, and a host of other clients. Chances are, you have seen his work, you just didn’t know it! 

Trey Malicoat has had an extensive career in events and home decor starting in Portland, OR where he owned a floral and home decor store and produced several large fundraising events. As a fundraising consultant in his spare time, Trey creates events that are spectacular experiences designed to raise money; he creates experiences that dazzle the senses and engage people in projects that do good in the world. 

Our work is simple; we create memorable experiences and we do so without breaking the bank! As for floral and home design, our work is whimsical, bohemian, sophisticated, and bold. Our gift is giving life to the ideas of our clients. 

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
We don’t believe in luck; we believe in hard work! However, we have been very fortunate to meet some great people who want to see us succeed. 

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