At Tin Can Studios, business is blooming
How Ingrid Carozzi pioneered one of New York’s most famous floral design studios
Ingrid Carozzi’s loose, carefree floral style has been celebrated by a list of celebrities and businesses from John Legend to Tesla to the Queen of Sweden—and her work seen everywhere from installations in SoHo to Sean Mendes’ recent album release. Her arrangements are filled with life and color; floral stems twist together gracefully and at times, seem to defy gravity.
Yet it comes as a surprise to many of Carozzi’s fans that her career as a florist started—surprisingly—by accident. She worked as an event planner and graphic designer before her foray into flowers, until a colleague asked if she would do the arrangements for a Swedish Chamber of Commerce event honoring the country’s king and queen. She said yes, despite not having a background in floral design. Her blooms were so lovely that attendees found themselves nostalgic and, on several occasions, emotional. “People told me the flowers transported them back home to a meadow in Sweden,” she recalls. “It was the first time I thought, ‘Maybe I should be doing something more with this.’ ”
Carozzi created a website and began crafting simple arrangements as a passion project, giving leftovers to nearby shops and cafes. Clients loved them. Soon, event planners were asking about her work. “That’s when things really took off,” she says, recalling inquiries she began receiving with brands like Krug Champagne, LVMH and Burberry.
She founded her business in earnest in 2013, naming it Tin Can Studios to evoke simplicity and quality. In less than twelve months, she was named New York Magazine’s Best Florist. Since then, Carozzi has gained worldwide acclaim for her magazine-worthy installations, published a pioneering book on floral design (with another anticipated this fall) and opened up a floral delivery service reaching clients around the country. Here, Carozzi shares with us four of her biggest tips for running a successful business in blooms—and beyond.
Carozzi quickly became known for her lush, Dutch master-style arrangements—a floral version of the Flemish painting style rooted in ornate forms and deep, romantic hues. “I strive for my arrangements to be wild, loose and organic—there is often some drama and something unexpected to be found,” she says. That kind of aesthetic helps her and her studio work to stand out—and to be remembered. “We did an event recently where a longstanding client of ours walked in and said, ‘I can see Tin Can Studios did the flowers for tonight,’ ” she recalls. “That always reminds me why I love doing this.”
In addition to her striking style, Carozzi is well-known for her emphasis on sustainability. “In Sweden, where I grew up, circularity is ingrained in everything we do,” she says, recalling the ways she would recycle with her family as a child. “At Tin Can Studios, we take great effort to do business in the least wasteful, least harmful way we can.”
That means using simple materials like water containers, reclaimed wood and chicken wire over nonbiodegradable substances like floral foam and finding ways to upcycle blooms that are past their peak—such as sharing them with a nonprofit that creates bouquets out of once-loved flowers for at-risk residents, and working with renowned natural dye-maker Audrey Louise Reynolds, who creates colorful fabrics for brands like Theory, Barneys and Pangaia.
Open yourself up to an array of projects
Though Carozzi specializes in large-scale installations, her range is impressive. On any given week, she might work on a floral chandelier with thousands of blooms one day, and pack up deliveries to be sent to a client’s kitchen the next. This variety, she tells us, is one of her favorite parts of the job.
“I love working with all kinds of people, on projects large and small,” she says, referencing two recent examples: an intimate dinner party with Michelin-starred chef Eric Ripert, and an hour-long phone call with a client from Colorado who had received one of Carozzi’s flower shipments. “She was telling me how she had been married for more than 40 years, and this was the best gift her husband had ever given her,” she says. “People often will call just to chat about flowers and life—it’s really special.”
It’s just one of the reasons Carozzi doesn’t require a minimum budget for events, but instead looks to work with clients who understand the process as a creative collaboration. “It’s important that we are speaking the same language,” she says, noting that her only criteria are being able to stay true to the approach and aesthetic that sets Tin Can Studios apart. “It’s so important to uphold integrity in yourself and your business, so that you can adhere to what you do best.”
Diversify your offerings
When Carozzi isn’t busy with A-lister events and galas, she can be found working on a series of other projects supporting her business, from writing books (Handpicked: Simple, Sustainable, and Seasonal Flower Arrangements and Flowers By Design, forthcoming this October) to teaching. (Her classes at Pratt Institute and The New York Botanical Gardens attract students from all over the world and she has mentored many budding apprentices, several of whom have gone on to launch their own successful businesses abroad.)
While these ventures may seem diverse, they are each connected deeply to Carozzi’s passions and strengths. As a former 6th grade teacher and a self-professed bibliophile, teaching and writing about her areas of expertise is a joyful, natural extension of her work. “In offering my skillset across other mediums, I realized I was able to reach a much wider audience,” she notes.
For years, large-scale installations were a hallmark of Carozzi’s business—so when events were cancelled in rapid succession at the onset of the pandemic last March, her team had to think quickly about how they could meet clients where they were: at home.
“For a long time, I had been wanting to send flowers to people across the country with floral ‘recipes’ for arrangements to align with my first book,” she notes. “I thought it might be the time to revisit that dream.” So Carozzi created Bloom Boxes, a shipment of 60-plus stems accompanied by exclusive access to a virtual tutorial showing how to artfully arrange them at home.
“They are offered monthly, and never on the same date,” she notes, “So it becomes something special to look forward to.” In the past year, Carozzi and her team have delivered boxes to 49 states—and demand continues to grow.
“It’s been amazing to see how genuinely happy people are to receive the flowers,” she says. “We offer virtual workshops as well, and every single time I see the arrangements, I get goosebumps. We are all holding the same flowers, yet each person’s interpretation is so unique.”
It underscores the strength of her original intention for opening shop: the possibilities of expression and inspiration that come with sharing what you love with others. “There’s something really special about a flower, if you look at its detail,” she says. “I believe they must be here for a reason.”
Berkley One is a Berkley Company. We recently held a virtual workshop experience with Tin Can Studios and some of our agents where we tried out Carozzi’s design techniques firsthand. See our arrangements (and let us know how we did!) on our Facebook page.
Header image: Tin Can Studios