Mother’s Day is upon us and what better way to celebrate than by featuring Bloomtubes creator, entrepreneur, and mom, Tara McVicar.
Angelique Picanco: They say that necessity is the mother of invention. What need prompted you to create the first Bloomtube?
Tara McVicar: Skinny flowers. I planted some Johnny Jump Up seeds with my daughter, Lily, and when they grew we wanted to display them. But in what? They are so tiny and the stems are thin and delicate. I thought a test tube would do the job but was stumped as to how to display it. Then I thought a magnet would do the trick. I made one and when it stuck to the fridge I felt like I had invented magnetism.
AP: I like to call you “a momtrepeneur”
TM: I am. I think mothers are natural entrepeneurs. My friends and I are always coming up with faster better ways to do things. It’s human nature really. Mother Nature is a momtrepeneur. Evolution and adaptation. It is in our DNA. Bloomtubes has been a real gift in that I have been able to involve my daughter since the beginning. She used to go out early in the morning with a few Bloomtubes and make micro bouquets from whatever she found in the garden.
AP: Are Bloomtubes good for kids?
TM: Kids love them. Bloomtubes are made of glass but they are sturdy. Younger kids should obviously be supervised. But kids, in general, really get the micro world and appreciate getting up close and personal with everything. Plus the magnet is fun for them, for the kid in all of us. You would be surprised with all the places they can find to hang a Bloomtube.
AP: What sizes do the Bloomtubes come in?
TM: The four original sizes are the bitsy, baby, basic and big and are great for tiny blooms to individual stems and micro bouquets. Fresh cut herbs work well in the big and stay fresh for days. I just added three larger sizes for longer stems and heavier bouquets. Now we are playing with growing edible flowers and vines in those sizes.
AP: My favorite Bloomtubes is the bouquet and the big. What is your favorite size?
TM: That’s like asking a mother who her favorite kid is. They are all beautiful and talented and going to Harvard! If you order the bouquet you get one of each size which I think is the way to go. You can grab a simple bouquet of flowers at the market and create four separate bouquets in different sizes and plant them all around your home. On the fridge, in the bathroom, on a bedboard, a picture frame. The mailbox is a fun place.
AP: What makes Bloomtubes so durable?
TM: I used laboratory quality borosilicate glass that doesn’t shatter like the flint glass most other glass tubes are made of. They have a really nice weight to them and can stand up to a lot. The magnets are REALLY strong. I use a high quality dish washer safe non toxic glue that I cure in the sun so there is a little bit of California sunshine in every bloomtube. They are dishwasher safe and patent pending.
AP: I’ve been putting small hot peppers in the Bloomtubes on my fridge. It looks pretty cute. What other things have you put in your Bloomtubes?
TM: I love that! Spicy like you! I use them to hold oils and vinegars, and tea. Some spices work well and sesame seeds. Things I get in bulk and want to store in an aesthetic way. I also use them in the bathroom to hold toners, oils, powders and brushes. They are also handy for those weird little homeless objects that you always have around; dice, marbles, elastics, bobbypins, screws, that thingamajig you don’t want to throw away cause you know if belongs to something important.
AP: What is your favorite flower to put in a Bloomtube?
TM: Peonies! But I like micro bouquets so I would add something fragrant like a jasmine vine and something structural like a pussy willow branch. It you don’t put water in the tube, a pussywillow branch will last for years as a dried flower and look the same as the day you picked it.
AP: Take us through a typical day in the life of Bloomtubes.
TM: Each day is unique but a typical week would includes going out to stores and local business who are interested in using Bloomtubes. That’s the good old fashioned footwork. Then there is the production side which I still really enjoy, hand making the tubes themselves and shipping orders. This week I am doing an installation in an art show using dozens of Bloomtubes, so I have been creating unique tubes and photographing them. I am a photographer as well, and I love shooting macro shots of flowers. Very abstract. Shooting Bloomtubes is very mediative and rewarding because the talent is so accommodating and pretty. I am always looking at the seasonal flowers and photographing them. The social media aspect requires a lot of content so I am constantly photographing or planning a shoot.
AP: Finally, if you had to recommend one use for Bloomtubes – what would it be?
TM: I think using Bloomtubes in the kitchen with edible flowers, like violets, roses, begonias, gardenia, pansy and scented geraniums. Scented geranium put out these tiny flowers that fit perfectly into the smallest Bloomtube. The bitsy. And herbs are really fun and practical. I have them on my vintage stove and can easitly snip basil leaves and cilantro into dishes. Also decorate plates with edible flowers and add them to salads. It makes everything more festive and pretty and it is a wonderful way to bring plantlife into a room that might not see it otherwise. I spend a lot of time in my kitchen and I am always delighted to see a little flower peeking at me while I work or to smell fresh herbs.
AP: What do you see in Bloomtubes’ future?
TM: I would love to see a community of people using Bloomtubes in unique ways and sharing their ideas through social media. People have a great response to it and everyone has a different idea in mind. One friend wants to use it for a parfait of gem stones, another to hold the pen for his whiteboard. My mom always has flowers from her garden in them. I would like to try to grow vines in them. Essentially just start a micro gardening revolution and have Bloomtubes take over the world. Simple stuff.