In August 2015, I had the opportunity to design arrangements for India Hicks’ first annual “Our Great Get Together,” a gathering of women from all across the country. Every woman was committed to being a brand ambassador for India’s new line of bags, candles, jewelry, and other accessories and India was committed to bringing a bit of her unique Bahamian entertaining style to The Museum 21 Hotel in Durham, NC.
Designing for someone as well known and iconic as India Hicks was a bit intimidating. When the flowers, their placement,
and even the smell is a part of someone’s brand equity, they are awfully particular about what is created. India didn’t necessarily have to be gracious in the process as this is a business but she was and incredibly so. I learned from India how to protect your brand equity, promote your idea and the way it connects others, and be completely joyful and encouraging to others creativity in the process.
India and her event organizer and Bahamian neighbor, the fabulous Melissa Sellers, wanted to recreate the pages of India’s book Island Style for the conference attendees but since the company the budget was not extravagant. Melissa brought shells from her Bahamain home and I collected shells and palm fronds from NC beaches. It was August, so tall Cana Lily plants from my backyard were substituted admirably for Banana leaves. The guidance from India was always delivered in a way that made me want to make it perfect not as a vendor but as a friend, that is her gift.
India's style is wild and non-fussy. Her directions were, “Arrangements should only have one or two elements in classic containers with no embellishments or curves that don't call attention to the container but should focus on the natural flow of the green material. Nothing contrived. Colors are green and white and if not directly from Caribbean should mimic a Caribbean natural.” The results were classic and have changed my own way of looking at what is elegant. Like India, the results were playful, inviting and classic.