It isn’t always roses for Christy Doramus, but most days the florist extraordinaire takes time to smell a bouquet or two. A typical day for the self-proclaimed “Jane of All Trades” might entail a trip to Manhattan’s flower district, creating floral arrangements, or chatting with her client Drew Barrymore about Instagram®.
Doramus, 31, is the founder of CMD Creative℠, a Manhattan-based company focused on floral and event design, as well as social media consulting. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native graduated from The Art Institute of California®, San Francisco, where she studied Fashion Marketing and Management. After she landed in New York City 10 years ago, she began working as a beauty publicist for Alison Brod's eponymous firm. For almost six years, Doramus worked with big name beauty clients like L’Oréal® Paris and FLOWER BeautyTM by Drew Barrymore.
During her PR experience, Doramus promoted the benefits of skincare products and makeup — so it’s no surprise she continues to practice what she preached (including removing her makeup before bed). She’s also in tune with her fair skin, meaning she’s a big fan of sunscreen and gets her moles checked often by a board-certified dermatologist.
When she eventually decided to branch out on her own four years ago, Doramus started with a floral business. At the time, she primarily created flower crowns, as they were quite popular then — especially to wear at music festivals. Celebrities, influencers, and brands all came calling, excited to sport her designs. While flower crowns aren’t as trendy these days, Doramus proved that she and her company have staying power: On the event design front, she’s cozy with brands like Kendra Scott®, Sisley® Paris, and L’Oreal Paris. And, her talents as a social media consultant have made her a go-to for Barrymore’s new site, FLOWER by Drew®.
“I now work more hours than I ever have in my entire life,” said Doramus. “It just doesn't feel like it, because I'm doing so many things that I love.”
Doramus is the kind of person you can go to for any type of advice, whether it’s floral, beauty, hosting, design, or entrepreneurship-related. But she’s more than an encyclopedia of information. Doramus is easy to talk to, well spoken and incredibly approachable (despite having the potential to be mistaken for a model). Read on for our one-on-one chat with Doramus, who discusses everything including dermatology and flower design, where she vacations with her husband, juggling it all, the contents of her makeup bag, and Drew Barrymore.
Spotlyte: How did you first become interested in flowers?
Christy Doramus: Growing up, my mom always taught me different types of flowers. We had vegetable gardens and planted our own flowers, so I've always had an interest in florals.
Spotlyte: Did you have any formal flower education?
CD: As far as the creation of floral crowns or floral design, in general, I'm self-taught. I learned a lot about flower types by asking tons of questions to people in the flower district who worked at the stores versus getting formal education. Most of these individuals have been in the business for their entire lives, because a lot of those businesses are passed down through generations.
Spotlyte: What kinds of things did you learn from being curious?
CD: They really taught me so much about caring for different types of flowers, what's available at different times of the year, water temperatures, price points, and availability.
Spotlyte: In terms of flower design: Does art imitate life? What inspires your designs?
CD: When it comes to creating — utilizing those flowers and creating my own designs — it's all inspired by things that I see in magazines and books, and on social media. At the time when I started making flower crowns, it was something that was gaining popularity with music festivals. It's something that I tried creating on my own, because at the time there were not really many tutorials out there on how to do it.
Spotlyte: What was the first flower crown you created like?
CD: I made it with dental floss. I was in our backyard at this house that we rented, and I pulled a bunch of roses from the rose bush. I was looking around for like a wire or something that I could use. I didn't know if I was going to tie the flowers together, like how you make daisy chains. I found some dental floss, and that's what I used to braid the flowers together. That was my first flower crown. It evolved after that. Over time, I learned better tools.
Spotlyte: What’s your best advice for first-time entrepreneurs?
CD: If you're not loving your 9 to 5, then take a step back and figure out what things make you the most happy, and then build a career around that. I think any job can be created out of passion and dedication. It's no walk in the park — I'm not saying it's easy.
Spotlyte: You’ve maintained a lot of your connections from the past decade. How has this helped you in your current role?
CD: Having been in the [beauty] industry for 10 years, it's so important to remember that you never know when you might work for your old intern. Or, someone that used to work for you might be your boss some day. Fifty percent of the people who hire me now are my old interns or assistants that used to work with me in PR. Over the years, Alison Brod has been one of my biggest supporters.
Spotlyte: Who else has been your biggest cheerleader?
CD: Someone that I've loved working with over the years, and who I find so much inspiration from — and love brainstorming and talking about design and creativity and everything with — is Drew [Barrymore], of course. I love having creative conversations with her. Also, a lot of people that were my colleagues or my interns that I worked with over the years have been really, really super supportive.
Spotlyte: One of your PR responsibilities was learning about skincare. What is your morning skincare routine?
CD: I have super sensitive skin, so I love June Jacobs® Cooling Cucumber Cleanser. I've also been turned on to Snow Fox SkincareTM Cooling Foam Cleanser, which is really great for sensitive skin. Sometimes I have to do makeup removal at night and in the morning — when I wake up, and there's still mascara.
Spotlyte: What’s your evening skincare routine?
CD: I love Bioderma® for makeup removal. It also comes in travel-size, which is nice to throw in your travel bag. A makeup wipe just never gets it all off, so I love Bioderma. I cleanse in the morning and at night. I'm always switching my moisturizer and trying something different. Sunday Riley® TidalTM and SkinCeuticals® Daily Moisture are favorites of mine. And then, I always use Revitabrow®.
Spotlyte: What kind of treatments do you get?
CD: I don't do a lot of spa time, really, but there is this place my husband will take me once a year. It’s called the Mayflower Inn [and Spa]℠ in Connecticut, and there's this woman who is amazing at facials. I have been able to do that two or three times.
Also, my friend owns a store called Knockout Beauty® [in New York City], and they also do amazing facials. In the summertime, in the Hamptons, she has Georgia Louise in residence, which is amazing. I haven't been able to go to her yet, but it's on my list.
Yasmin at Yaz Beauty Studio℠ does my eyebrows. She turned me on to Revitabrow serum. It makes your eyebrows grow, and some days I just put that on and add my eyebrow mascara.
Spotlyte: What’s in your makeup bag?
CD: For foundation, I either use Jouer® tinted moisturizer or Sisley Paris liquid foundation. I swish on Chanel® or FLOWER Beauty blush. I always, always, always wear a FLOWER Beauty lipstick. My favorite one is called FLOWER Beauty Mix N' MatteTM Lip Duo, and the color is called Tickled PinkTM. It's like the perfect mauve pink color — it works great on every skin tone, but it's also really great for fair people like myself. Really fair skin.
Spotlyte: Since you mentioned fair skin, what sunscreen do you use?
CD: I’m really into Supergoop!® foaming sunscreen. I stay out of the sun as much as possible, if you can’t tell, because I look like a ghost.
Spotlyte: Where do you see your dermatologist?
CD: I go to Spring Street Dermatology℠ to get my moles tracked more regularly than most people, because I'm terrified that it's skin cancer.
Spotlyte: What is your stance on medical aesthetics?
CD: Since I've turned 31, I'm starting to notice that my body doesn't bounce back [as well] and neither does my skin, but I still haven't tried anything. I keep thinking that I'll cross that bridge when I get there and decide if it's something for me. I have so many friends who do injectables, and [their results] look great.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet; they should not be used more frequently than every three months. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. And learn more now by chatting with a trained aesthetic specialist.]
Spotlyte: What do you like to do in your spare time when you're not working or running your business?
CD: My ultimate relaxation is going to my house in Bridgehampton. I love, love, love working in my garden, and just unplugging, and getting off my phone for a few hours on the weekends.
I'm learning a lot from my garden. I have lots of herbs and spices, and I'm trying to grow tomatoes, desperately, but deer keep eating them. It's a big learning curve for me.
I enjoy going to estate sales on the weekends and finding treasures. And reading as many magazines as I possibly can, because I'm such a fan of old-school print magazines. I have so many. Sometimes, at estate sales — if I see a stack of 1990s Architectural Digests® — I'll buy them. I'm like, “Oh my God, I have to have these.” Now, I'm just trying to find a place to store them all.
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