We had the good fortune of connecting with Margaret Toppin Williamson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Margaret Toppin, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I was actually living in Dallas working in Fashion PR, doing the NY/LA/Dallas circuit but was burnt out. My husband is from New Orleans and we had always talked about moving back but New Orleans is definitely not a location with any strong fashion career options. So when we moved I was looking into career changes and decided to help out in a flower shop during the Valentine’s rush (if you’re thinking about doing that-don’t, it’s insane). I worked for someone else for a period then decided to branch out on my own. My thought process was basically: I have an aesthetic and a concept, I want to share it and I want to work for myself. Working for someone else give you the opportunity to see how people run their businesses and then you can see what you think works and change what you think will work better for you.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Starting your own business is exceptionally scary. I do attribute some of our success to “right place, right time’ scenario. We started basically when instagram was becoming popular so we we’re lucky enough to begin our marketing at a time when people were starting to become interested in seeing pictures/commentary in a different way. Also, the wedding/event industry in New Orleans wasn’t as saturated as it is now so creating a brand and the work to set yourself apart wasn’t as difficult (but I mean it was difficult as all hell, don’t get me wrong) as I would imagine it would be in today’s market. I started Leaf + Petal with a vision of what I like and we haven’t veered from that, which I think also helps. We are marketable but with a signature look, so if that aesthetic is what you’re looking for, we resonate with you.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Always the French Quarter (wear a mask for god’s sake). I love all the old restaurants and unique cocktail spots- Antoine’s and Arnuad’s, Brennan’s cocktail hour in the courtyard, the circle bar at the Monteleone and Gin Fizz’s at the Sazerac at the Roosevelt. Galatoire’s for long lunches. Tours around the gorgeous estates in the Garden District, stop for Friday 25-cent martini lunch at Commander’s Palace. And keep heading uptown and check out the galleries and shops.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom was a huge driving factor, not only in my life but also in the creation and maintaining of Leaf + Petal NOLA. She recently passed away but I do think that she is behind me, helping me, in every wedding/event that we do.
There mine to use