Elderflower Design – Towne Post Network
Gwen Knabe creates unique event installations that stand out
Screenwriter / Molly Dykstra
Photographer / Sam Zachrich
Gwen Knabe, owner of Elderflower Design, started her business unexpectedly. She was planning an engagement shower for a friend and wanted to have a balloon arch as a focal point. Since she couldn’t find a local designer to create one, she did it herself. Not only did she enjoy designing it, but it was so beautiful that people immediately asked her to design them for their events. As more and more people saw her balloon garlands, in person and online, she started getting so many commissions that it became her profession. In February 2019 she quit her career as a retirement planner and Elderflower Design was born.
From the beginning, she and her husband have had experience in financial planning which has been a great asset. They both recognized that her talent for creation and her eye for design were the basis for her to successfully pursue her dream. Setting up and taking down facilities is often a team effort and the two work long hours together on projects.
“It feels like a real partnership,” Knabe says. “We can sit down and strategize together and decide where we want to go.”
Knabe’s work has grown to include backdrops and other decor to create a custom environment for any event. She happily works with any size congregation, for any purpose. Over the past three years she has designed weddings, corporate events, business meetings, graduations and many other celebrations.
“That’s all,” she said. “Full spectrum! Weddings, baby showers, bridal showers and grad season are huge! feels special, then we’ll make it happen.
While some items are available for rental, many others are created specifically for the event and do not need to be returned. Packages can be made to fit any budget. They often include great balloon garlands and backdrops that can be used for a variety of purposes, including photo backgrounds, signs, or seating plans. Everything is created in-house and by hand. Knabe cuts his plywood backdrops to size and shape using jigsaws and a CNC router. She then paints the design and attaches support materials to make them stable.
Eventually, she hopes to have a library of these great, enduring works of art, but storage becomes an issue. Currently, Knabe is scouting properties to find a new home for Elderflower Design to resolve this issue. This new location will also allow patrons to pass through and may have event space on-site that could accommodate smaller gatherings.
Like most businesses in the hospitality industry, the pandemic has impacted Elderflower Design. This company, however, has managed to stay open and offer people a beautiful way to continue connecting.
“It was interesting to see the different approaches people took to their celebrations or events during this time,” Knabe adds. “We had a lot of people who really wanted to celebrate the little things that were happening. With that, we were able to mostly offer balloons outside people’s homes or door drops just to bring them a bit more joy for the things they wanted to celebrate, to have something to look forward to for a period stressful for so many different reasons. It was nice to be able to offer some of those moments.
As people have found themselves able to come together again, Knabe feels they are “hungry for camaraderie among friends and family”. As a result, her business is growing rapidly and she plans to hire another part-time employee soon.
While Elderflower Design typically works in Indianapolis and surrounding cities, Knabe is willing to travel further afield to meet her clients’ needs.
Knabe is happy to have discovered and pursued her passion for events and artistic creation.
“It really is my dream job,” she says. “If you see something on Pinterest or Instagram at an event that’s really big and flashy and you’re wondering, where could I even get that for my event? We’re the people who can do that.
To learn more about Elderflower Design, visit them online at elderflowerdesign.com. Gwen Knabe can be reached at 317-431-8401 and examples of her work can be found on the Instagram, Facebook and Twitter links on the website.