10 questions with Sweetbay Botanical Co.
What’s better than a bunch of beautiful spring blooms at a wedding? Combining them with a vintage tap capable of keeping the good times flowing all night long.
With a background in the art of floral design, Molly McWhorter of Sweetbay Botanical Co. takes the new tap trailer craze in a colorful new direction. And with a bit of rebranding from her previous business to adapt to recent pandemic guidelines, McWhorter was able to combine her love of flowers with a little bit of bubbly.
Read on to discover more about McWhorter’s journey introducing Sweetbay Botantical Co.’s Mobile Fizz + Flower Bar:
1. What is your professional background? How did you get into this field?
My professional career has been in marketing and public relations, but my love for arranging fresh flowers led me on a journey to become licensed as a retail florist and start a “5 to 9” in the floral industry to have a creative outlet. Starting out in 2017, I co-owned Bubbles + Blooms Events with Courtney duQuesnay, providing event florals and leading arrangement workshops with a social happy hour vibe in the community. But like so many, our business was devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Editor’s note: Bubbles + Blooms is now run solely by Courtney duQuesnay in the Northshore area. Find them on Instagram here.
2. When did you launch Sweetbay Botanical Co.?
As the event industry began to pivot to more outdoor events to follow mandatory social distancing practices, I launched a rebranded version of the business as Sweetbay Botanical Co. in the beginning of 2021, with plans to introduce a hybrid mobile bar and flower vending trailer in the spring.
3. What kind of services do you offer?
Offering an experiential element, the “mobile fizz and flower bar” is the perfect extra touch to elevate weddings, baby showers, milestone birthdays, backyard parties, corporate parties and other outdoor events in Baton Rouge. You can also find me popping up at local businesses and outdoor markets with flower bouquets, flower crowns and arrangements, as well as providing arrangement demos and workshops in the community.
4. What is one thing you think customers should know about Sweetbay Botanical Co. that they might not be aware of?
Sweetbay is a type of magnolia tree that grows in the South from Louisiana to Virginia. Being a Virginia girl who put down roots in Louisiana, it seemed the perfect name for my new business to honor my Southern roots in the two states I consider home. The tiny tap trailer has been affectionately named “Maggie,” short for Magnolia. Maggie is a tiny vintage trailer in a cheerful bright green and can be decorated with fresh flowers to create a festive vibe and provide a sensational backdrop for photos.
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5. What sets Sweetbay Botanical Co. apart?
Sweetbay Botanical Co. is dedicated to eco-friendly floral design techniques. We especially love the challenge of finding ways to hydrate floral arrangements and large installments, like wedding arches, in our hot, humid climate without the use of floral foam. We are also dedicated to sourcing domestically grown flowers to support U.S. farms.
6. What type of beverages are served at the mobile tap trailer?
The tap trailer is rented “dry,” meaning the event planner or host will provide the alcohol. Since I don’t have a liquor license, I work with local vendors, like Calandro’s, to source beer, wine and prosecco for private party hosts to purchase. Non-alcoholic beverages like lemonade, root beer and flavored sparkling waters are also options.
7. What are Sweetbay Botanical Co.’s most popular events?
The “Champagne wall” has been a huge hit at parties to welcome guests as they walk in the door, so I can’t wait to find out what types of events I’ll book for the tap trailer! In the meantime, I just joined Mid City Makers Market and plan to park Maggie at their events with fresh flower arrangements, flower crowns and bouquets on board. And I will definitely be bringing back the wildly popular “peony pop-up” event this summer!
8. How can someone contact Sweetbay Botanical Co. for an event?
To book Maggie or learn more about our pop-ups and floral arrangement pre-sale events (Easter and Mother’s Day arrangements are now available!) visit SweetbayBotanical.com, @SweetbayBotanical on Instagram and Facebook or email [email protected].
9. What is your favorite part of the job?
I absolutely love meeting other female small business owners in the community, discovering ways to connect, share ideas and promote each other’s businesses. That has been infinitely rewarding.
10. What can we expect to see in the future for Sweetbay Botanical Co.?
I have two daughters, Jolie and Avery, and look forward to involving them in some aspects of the business. They have always been my biggest source of inspiration, so it’s been fun hearing their big ideas for my social media feed, including Tik Tok videos. I can’t wait to see what they come up with! I’m also working on some research and development projects for organic botanical elements, like edible flower extracts and garnishes, to offer as add-ons for creating unique signature cocktail offerings.