We had the good fortune of connecting with Debbie Liu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Debbie, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
I always have a hard time letting things go. I approach this from several angles:
From a business perspective, I take a long-term view on things: can I vision myself still walking and enjoying this path in 5 years? If I can, then hang tight and keep at it. This is why I never intended to tap into the retail market but only focus on weddings and events. I can’t see myself enjoying or handling retail business well. But with weddings and events, even though they are stressful and demanding, I enjoy every single bit, including sweats and pain sometimes. When I’m in the middle of pursuing things, however, it’s very difficult to be clear-minded or even sensible. Then I seek help and advice from my mentor and fellow friends. It’s very important to always be open minded and listen to outside opinions. When things are failing but I can’t see that, others often can.
From a design perspective, I use a “step back to move forward” method. I start with an overall direction and have to constantly remind myself to step back and look at it from different angles. It’s very hard to know what’s going on when I bury myself into a design. So I move away, sometimes just for brief moments, sometimes hours or even half a day, in order to assess the design with different perspectives and maybe a fresh set of eyes. That usually gives me an idea whether it’s time to stop or keep going.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a wedding and event florist. I am a devoted workaholic who still needs to work on setting boundaries so I dob’t get burnt out. I don’t dare to say that I’m an artist because artist to me is a huge title that bears a lot of weight. But I do strive to make my design artistic and romantic. I take inspirations from movies, paintings, things and objects I come across in life, etc. I also want to stay very true to seasons. I always try to incorporate seasonal touches in everything I make. Right now I’m also very motivated to be as sustainable as I can, for example, recycle and reuse whenever there is a chance, use eco-friendly and compostable materials, incorporate seasonal and local products, etc.
I rerouted my career from a CPA to a florist, which is a huge surprise to a lot of people, especially my families. But I have a loving husband who believes in me and support my decisions. To me, the biggest challenge has always been trying not to listen to too much noise around me but to focus on what I am doing. Being persistent is a quality of mine and I exercise that tremendously in building up my floral business. I fail sometimes, inevitably. But I don’t give up on a path where I see myself enjoy and potentially succeed.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
To see: LACMA, MOCA, Getty Center & Getty Museum To eat: Bread Lounge, Milo & Olive, Pizzanista!, any street Taco trucks, all the local spots that Jonathan Gold liked (I’m a big Jonathan Gold fan).
To hang out: The Blue Whale in Little Tokyo for a live Jazz night, walk around the Arts District, or just walk around different neighborhoods. I quite like walking and wandering around.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe my progress tremendously to Jill (Layered Vintage), who is a sincere and kind mentor to me. I also want to thank every friend, family and fellow vendors who have believed in and supported me.
Leo Cabal, Sincerely Sini, This Modern Romance, Courtney Paige Photo