BY CATHERINE BALLMAN – Margot Shaw has an eye for living and decorating with flowers and it shows in her magazine, Flower. She also has an eye for opportunity. Ms. Shaw spied a need for a flower-focused publication to fill a niche between popular and trade magazines. In a recent blog-cast on “Design Chic,” she noted that House Beautiful would have a page or two on floral ideas and the ones trade journals had were of little value for the nonprofessional. She filled the gap with “Flower,” a luxury lifestyle magazine and brand.
She will speak about the magazine’s inspiration and creations to the Boca Grande Garden Club on Wednesday, March 3, at 2 p.m. The meeting will occur outdoors at the Community Center.
A one-year subscription to Flower is a 2021 club membership benefit. Now, members can learn the back story.
Shaw launched in 2008, the very moment that the economy moved into chaos and the digital world gave a big dent to print journalism. Nonetheless, she persevered. Thirteen years in she has built a circulation of 375,000 readers for her magazine that is described as “stylish, sophisticated, cultured and curious.”
She is quick to comment that she was lucky to be in a U.S. center of magazine publishing. Birmingham, Ala. is the surprising home to almost two dozen popular national magazines, including “Food & Wine,” “Country Living” and “Veranda.” The talent pool to which she was able to dive was deep and wide, chock-a-block with expertise on both the editorial and publishing sides of the house.
It was from the publishing half that Shaw was urged to write a book about what she describes as “floral lifestyle.”
“In my experience,” she said, “the Floral Lifestyle has a lot to do with noticing natural beauty and incorporating it into my life. It can be gathering a few die-hard camellias in February and floating them in a silver Revere bowl, or it can be the use of a lot of greens in an interior or party palette. It’s considering the outdoors in general and flowers in particular, somewhere in my aesthetic.”
As with every other busy professional, she had neither time nor material. Until she did. She realized that she had a story to tell and she could find the time. Living Floral (2019, Rizzoli) is the happy result.
Reader reviews call the book “elegant” and say it “sparks happiness.” One enthusiastic thumbs-up warned readers to “not buy just one” because it makes a beautiful gift. Signed copies of the book, which include a year-year subscription to Flower, can be purchased at Flowermagshop.com.
Shaw speaks often to organizations across the country but considers philanthropy some of her most important work. She is on the National Advisory Committee of the Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville, the Lauritzen Gardens Antique Show in Omaha, and is a long-time board member of the Antiques at the Gardens in Birmingham. She is also on the Community Advisory Board of the Center for Depression and Suicide at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, a member of the Red Mountain Garden Club, and sits on the board of the Cahaba River Society.
The meeting will be organized so that participants can be socially distant. As per the way we live in 2021, members only are invited to the events. Wednesday’s presentation will be taped and posted on the club website, bocagardenclub.com.