"What I like to do is find inspiration anywhere but on Pinterest," says Montana-based wedding floral designer . Indeed, if you scroll through his one-of-a-kind creations on Instagram, it's easy to see why his account has been attracting attention in the last few months.
Perhaps even more eye-popping than his stunning display of dreamy wedding arrangements on Instagram is his colorful collection of "armful" snapshots. If you're just as much a fan of florals as we are, you've likely come across his crazy beautiful photos holding massive amounts of blooms, from anemones to roses, in your Discover section.
Whereas most florists might opt to showcase just their work on Instagram, Freitas, 32, intentionally makes himself a part of the feed, all while wearing his signature flower hat and a smile. And it's paying off.
One post in particular this past March really helped catapult his account (and his business) to a new level.
Featuring Freitas in his signature flower hat with a plethora of light pink ranunculus, the photo gained the floral designer 7,000 followers. The post now has over 10,000 likes.
To put things into perspective, The Flower Hat celebrated in November of 2016. Now, the account has nearly 29,000 followers to date and continues to gain about 3,000 new followers each month.
In general, the floral designer says about half of business inquiries come from Instagram alone. He now tries to post at least two to three times a week, curating a mix of armful shots along with his beautiful arrangements.
While he doesn't have an account for himself, he'll use the Instagram Stories feature daily to capture behind-the-scenes or personal experiences for his fans, whether that's sharing the first buds of blooms from his farm or a really great meal he had out in town.
The Brazilian-born floral designer always had a thing for plants and flowers, but he never imagined his passion would become a full-fledged career. In fact, after graduating from Rocky Mountain College in 2008, his first job was at the Hilton Garden Inn in Billings, Montana.
Eventually, he began working on visuals for the hotel, setting up the Christmas trees and designing a silk floral arrangement every season. On his own time, he also began designing a weekly arrangement for a neighborhood coffee shop called Harper & Madison.
As more and more people in town began picking up his business card, the budding floral designer, now based in Bozeman, Montana, gradually made the transition into weddings full time in 2014.
Probably just as recognizable on Instagram as the florist's armful photos are his bright, floral hats. After a friend brought him back a hat with a flower pattern from one of her trips, Freitas became obsessed with them. He would scour , buying all the flower hats he could find and wear them while he was setting up weddings.
Eventually the name stuck and The Flower Hat was officially born in 2016. Now you can even of the flower hat on Freitas' site.
"Somebody was at a restaurant in town the other day, and they took a picture of this random person wearing the flower hat," Freitas says. "They texted it to me saying, 'Flower hat alert'."
While Freitas maintains a small 7,500-square-foot farm to grow his own flowers, he sees himself as a floral designer first and foremost. Of anything, it shows his commitment to incorporating local blooms into his designs.
"I try to grow things that are different from what other people are growing so I can support them and grow my own," Freitas says.
The approach makes his designs all the more unique. When a with just a budget of $300 for a bridal bouquet, a flower crown for her little girl and boutineers for her fiancée and son, he was able to make it work just from pulling from his own garden.
A lot of times he will even go foraging across Bozeman for native plants, once having his assistant pull over on the side of the highway just so he could pick some local grass and weeds–a practice that helped him create ultra chic and unique arrangements for sportscaster this past June.
Another thing to know about Freitas: He never does the same design more than once. Most of the time his inspiration comes from going on long drives.
"I just start thinking about all of these details about the couple, and I try to get to know them and incorporate that into their design," Freitas says. "You only get one shot, and if it doesn’t look right 20 years from now, you don't want that one girl looking back at her pictures and saying this is not at all what I wanted."
Between his thoughtful, eye-catching designs and his beautiful Instagram feed, this is one floral designer you'll want to keep on your radar.
"Progression has been super crazy to think about," Freitas says. "But I’m just so thankful that people trust my design."