Hi everyone! I'm Hayley Charbonneau, and I'm the owner of Bear Flowers Preserved. I've been collecting and preserving flowers for over 13 years, and decided to finally turn my flower obsession and love for art into my dream business.
For as far back as I can remember I have been playing outside, climbing trees, making forts, drawing, painting, playing Sims religiously to make really cool houses, exploring, being a crazy cat lady, and just being aesthetically addicted to life.
My childhood home (which my dad built all by himself) was surrounded by acres of woods and dogwood trees, bradford pear trees, gardenias, ferns, rose bushes, magnolias, and so much more. My mom had a garden where she grew peppers and other vegetables, and I always aspired to have the same.
The irony is that I was mostly a "jock" growing up; I did competitive gymnastics for 15 years, plus several years of basketball and track. I almost went to a small college because of an athletic scholarship, but I knew that wasn't for me. The one thing I always loved more than sports was art. I would sketch and paint in every second of my spare time, and I took art classes all throughout school to learn as much as I could about art history, composition, and theory.
It wasn't until I was reading 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' where one of the characters put pressed flowers in a frame, and my lightbulb went off. I was immediately inspired and began dabbling in that myself. My super tiny 410 square foot apartment was covered in my flower art in a matter of weeks. I was addicted.
From that point on I started perfecting the craft. Each flower is so unique and delicate, so there was a lot of trial and error that went into learning all of them. My boyfriend (now fiancé) built me a flower press for my 26th birthday and enabled my passion and lust for flower art. A couple years later my tattoo artist gave me the chance to showcase and sell my art at her shop, and I'll be eternally grateful for that opportunity.
The rest is history. I dove head first into my art, into learning flowers, networking, doing popups for exposure, and figuring out who I was. As cliché as it is, I found myself in my flower art. I quit my Monday-Friday desk job and started pouring every second of my time into my craft and business. In a matter of weeks, my whole life changed and I took big risks for big changes.
So here I am! I'm following my dreams, and I appreciate everyone's support and love during these last few years. I couldn't be here without you, and I am excited to share my journey along the way.