We had the good fortune of connecting with Lisa Composto and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lisa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I used to daydream about turning my creativity into my full time lifestyle and career, I imagined I would be painting. I dreamt of growing a collection of my favorite subject matter painted in vibrant oils: dramatic landscapes and seascapes, fields dotted with flowers and happy cows lazily grazing alongside old dilapidated barns, and of course, plenty of moody still life florals. And maybe, one day I will.
But, I never would have imagined that I would be painting large-scale canvas backdrops for live floral and still life compositions instead of painted subject matter. In fact, a decade ago, I would have humored the idea as I adore anything floral, but then would have ultimately dismissed it as I had no clue how to arrange flowers. It was with a lot of practice and patience, and a turn of serendipitous events that led me here.
I started out a few years ago with the notion of arranging florals to paint them, but I quickly and deeply fell in love with the process so much that it soon became an even greater passion than my palette and brushes. I wanted to channel the lush and elaborate florals that were so often spotted in some of my favorite oil paintings – whether they were the centerpiece or a side story to a much larger, more complex composition full of hidden symbolism.
After each arrangement, I would take photographs to capture the overall form as a reference to improve my floral design, but also as a composition to hopefully paint one day in the future. The more dramatic the lighting, the better. I worked to capture the magic that light and shadow play – illuminating some flowers so brightly and letting others fade into the shadows – while always looking to my favorite Dutch painters of the 17th century as my greatest source of inspiration.
I was painting, with flowers.
It was just over a year ago that I decided to make the leap and officially launch my company. With a big dream fueled by artistic passion, and the support and encouragement of my husband, my family and my dearest friends, I mustered up the courage and timidly set out on this new journey. My hands, my heart and my creative soul have never felt so fulfilled!
So here’s to dreaming! Let whatever passion or idea you have jump off your canvas. Run courageously with it. I truly believe that each of us brings something unique and beautiful to our world and community, and we owe it to ourselves to indulge in those ideas that are deeply rooted in our innate passions. You never know what will come of it until you try.
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
It is important to me that I build an authentic brand that tells the story of an artist who wandered down so many different creative paths and stumbled upon something unexpected but far greater in the process. It is only now looking back that I can see how all my creative endeavors from before, and the personal decisions I have made along the way, have led me here.
I consider floristry as the fine art of composing flowers, so it was kismet when I discovered my married last name Composto translates to “composed”. While I initially launched my LLC under a different company name, Petals and Palette Design Co., with the intention of hinting at the two art forms I loved most, I ultimately felt that it didn’t convey the style of my work.
I wanted a name that reflected the romanticism and old world charm that I strive to evoke in each of my painterly floral arrangements and still life compositions. My greatest artistic passion is: Composto da Fiori, or “composed of flowers”. As someone who greatly values the genuine passion and personal journey, quality work and customer experiences that build a brand’s story, I felt that it was only fitting that I sign each arrangement with my name.
So nearly half a year after operating under Petals and Palette, Composto Fiori was unveiled.
The company logo and signature linen gift tags that I personally design, print, and tie with a vintage-inspired velvet ribbon, the dramatic portraits I capture of each of my floral designs, and the time I dedicate towards hand-delivering each arrangement to its celebrated destination and recipient are just a few testaments of the passion that I pour into every aspect of Composto Fiori. I truly aspire to provide an elevated creative experience for each of my clients while continuing my own creative story and always hoping that I may provide inspiration to others.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I always feel incredibly lucky to be a creative in Houston with our arts and entertainment culture next to none. The perfect day here would start in the late spring with an indulgent brunch at Common Bond in the Heights (with plenty of croissants, kugelhopfs & pastries to-go, of course), followed by some shopping at AG Antiques and Antiques on 19th for unique vessels/vases, vintage oil paintings, one-of-a-kind objets and lots of old books with beautiful spines. Next, we would pop into Mary & Moss, a darling shop with a hip, eclectic vintage vibe, full of thoughtfully curated gifts, jewelry, clothes and the friendliest employees.
Pre-lunch, we would take a drive over to the Arboretum, and walk the outer-loop to enjoy the peace and serenity offered by towering trees alongside the lovingly maintained winding paths through flower-filled fields and blackberry bushes. We would be sure to stop by the pond to do some turtle gazing and catch the glimpses of reflected sky that so sweetly dot the lily pad-covered surface. If there is one place to paint en plein air in a bustling city like Houston, this is it. Monet would be proud!
Lunch with a downtown view would be next at Saint Arnold’s; I love their expansive beer garden grounds, complete with bocce ball courts and a huge covered outdoor patio. Post-lunch we would take a leisurely stroll through Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts and soak up whichever exhibition they have at the time, it is always such a treat. We would wind down with some wine, plenty of pasta and small plates at one of my favorite little Italian eateries – Vinoteca Poscol, before heading downtown to catch a show in Houston’s Performing Arts District. The most recent show I’ve been to was the Dance Salad Festival last year; it was captivating! Finally, we would end the perfect Houston day with a cold and creamy pint from Jeni’s; so thankful that this gem of an ice cream shop has added Houston to its list of locations (and I’m perfectly happy that it is dangerously close to home!).
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Abigail Ballesteros, from Fox and Lamb Photography, has been one of my greatest supporters and sources of inspiration and encouragement from even before the beginning of Composto Fiori. Abi captures the drama, magic and whimsy of her subject matter. The passion for her art clearly shows through her fine art photography, and each stunning image tells a story all of its own.
Additionally, I would love to shoutout to Amy Mei & Katie Tai of Heart to Market, a brilliantly curated market of local vendors and women-run businesses with the goal of giving our community an opportunity to shop small, and give big by supporting non-profits and other great causes. I had the opportunity to host my first ever pop-up shop at Heart to Market this past December, alongside many skilled artisans with big hearts. It was hosted at A 2nd Cup – another local shop I would like to shoutout – a Heights coffee shop with a heartfelt mission to end human trafficking. To see such an outpouring of support from the community around us, shopping small and giving back to something big, was incredibly humbling and inspiring. I love to support small businesses like this and support important causes whenever possible!
Abigail Ballesteros, from Fox and Lamb Photography
Nominate someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.