Living YSE(ly)

LA's First Class Flower Dealer: A Conversation With Eric Buterbaugh

Written by Elizabeth Gehl

‘Tis the season for florals, and what better way to celebrate than with a custom bouquet for the special women in your life! Here at YSE, we know our skill sets. Skincare connoisseurs? Yes. Arrangement extraordinaires? No. So, we called in the best of the best for backup, so we could deliver you a curated floral assortment of dreams. 

Eric Buterbaugh, better known as the King of Roses, is LA’s florist-in-residence for fashion designers, bigwigs, and your favorite faces on screen. If you’ve had your eye on any celebrity weddings or celebrations in the past few decades, chances are that Eric delivered the finishing touches. 

He’s the frontman for florals when it comes to all things taste, occasion and customization, and quite literally has curated a limited edition bouquet in partnership with YSE (eep!) available now until May 10th. Oh, and did we mention that the first 50 orders will receive an SPF 30 Primer and Vacation Glow Highlight free with purchase? 

So, while you await your very own delivery of Molly Sims’ Coral Peonies, learn more about the face behind the flowers – California’s finest, Mr. Eric Buterbaugh.

Q: Let’s start from the top – how did you get into floral design? Was it something you always knew was your calling, or a passion that evolved over time? 

A. I had been living in Milan and later London, running Gianni Versace in the UK. When I got tired of the fashion world, I came to LA to figure out my career. I was actually a little lost.  I ended up doing the flowers for a friend's small “at home” party out of boredom, and I really got into it. I had never considered it as a career, but I was proud of the job I did. Several women called the hostess to find out who had done the chic flower arrangements, and she gave them my number as a joke. After putting it off for a while, someone convinced me to do another event… and then another. And BOOM. The rest is history.

Q: It feels like a floral arrangement is the gift that stands the test of time. What is it about receiving a bouquet of flowers that’s so timeless and well received? 

A. Receiving flowers always feels good. They’re a symbol that someone cares for you, that someone took the time to think of you. They don’t last long, which makes them precious. It’s an experience that puts a smile on your face, and it’s a wonderful feeling to have a business that’s able to do that. 

Q: Tell us about the most extravagant arrangement you’ve been tasked with thus far.

A. I have been in the business for thirty years, so there have been a lot of special arrangements. One that stands out is the bouquet that Mr. Valentino sent to Julia Roberts after she won her Oscar… it was a massive reflexed red rose arrangement, hand written note by Mr. Valentino and all.  And it was so big that it took three men to carry it.  It was like an army maneuver.

Q: And the most notable experience your career as a boutique florist has brought you?

A. I was very proud to do Salma Hayek and Francois Pinault’s wedding in Venice.  They’re good friends of mine, and it’s always extra special when you care about the client. 

Q: Mother’s Day is around the corner, and we know your office is booked and busy. No two bouquets are the same, so let us in on the process of working with a client on a floral arrangement.

A. We have very close relationships with the majority of our clients, so we know a lot of personal preferences.  If it’s someone we have yet to work with, we refer them to the website to see what they’re drawn to.  And we ask a lot of questions.  We strive to hit the nail on the head with new clients.

Q: So for those with a less-than-green thumb, what are your expert tips on keeping your arrangement bright and beautiful long after the holiday?

A. They need daily attention. Ideally, try to switch out the water daily, but we know that’s a big ask.  So at least add water, and consider a few drops of liquid bleach in water to keep bacteria at bay. Just make sure they aren’t sitting in direct sunlight, or in front of a freezing air conditioner. Then, pray. 

Q: And on the topic of tips and tricks… let’s talk skin. Men need to take care of their skin just as much as women – what has your skin journey been like, and where are you today with it?

A. I love playing with skincare products. It’s a self care activity and I’m all in for that. Also, I am bald. So I have a lot of ground to cover.

Q: Any product heroes that are a constant for you? 

A. The YSE regimen has a very high rating in my personal opinion. The Vitamin C Serum… MAJOR! The Xtremely Rich Moisturizer is a morning and night ritual now for me.  Love love and love. 

Q: We’re partnering up for Mother’s Day with a YSE x Eric Buterbaugh collab (yay!). In the spirit of gifting all the amazing women in our lives, let’s do a rapid fire on what flowers you’d gift all the different YSE women in our lives. 

The high end mom in law that’s hard-to-please:

Better open your wallet and spend on this one... bigger the better.

The humble one who “doesn't want to do gifts this year”:

I love a small bedside table arrangement with a single kind of flower. Tuberose or freesia, maybe. Something scented. 

The sleek, elegant, timeless beauty: 

For this, I love an all white reflexed rose.  They’re uber chic and clean. 

The bright and bold statement maker: 

A huge RED reflexed rose arrangement. This is a signature for me and always gets a good gasp. And they last a good amount of time.   

The world traveler:

A loose spring bouquet with soft colors... and some room to breathe. 

The floral snob that needs impressing:

Pull out masses of peonies, any color. They’re truly the queen of all flowers.