Little kids try to smell them. Adults are drawn in by their beauty and come over for a closer look—and that’s when it happens. Surprise and joy dawn on customers’ faces as they realize the lovely blooms that caught their eye are crafted from paper. “It’s always fun to watch the look on their face change from ‘Oh, look, it’s flowers!’ to ‘Wait, that’s paper?!’—that moment never gets old,” laughs Meredith Eastburn, cofounder of Amaranthus Paper & Flora.
The flowers are magical. Inspired by real life, but not shackled to it, Amaranthus Paper & Flora blossoms are exquisite and sculptural. Each bloom or stalk of greenery is handcrafted from crepe paper, one petal at a time. Garden favorites—peonies, ranunculus, magnolias, and many, many more—come to life in paper with a lively, fresh energy that makes people do a double take. Give the bouquets a week or two, however, and they decisively part ways with Mother Nature: Amaranthus flowers don’t die.
Petal Patterns // Named for the amaranthus flower, an ancient symbol of immortality, Atlanta-based Amaranthus Paper & Flora is owned by Cherie and Meredith Eastburn, who craft thousands of no-wilt paper blooms and bouquets. The flowers are available for shipping.
Cherie and Meredith Eastburn, a mother-daughter team based in Atlanta, Georgia, have been delighting others with bright handmade blooms since 2014 when they launched their flower-making business. Cherie, who brought years of floral-design experience from her work with her church flower guild, crafted floral centerpieces each year for an annual gala benefitting Kay’s Kamp, a non-profit pediatric oncology camp run by Cherie’s sister. In the spirit of practicality, Cherie decided to try creating paper flowers for the centerpieces instead. She bought some crepe paper, taught herself how to construct the blossoms, and set about creating 900 paper blooms. When Meredith walked into the gala that night and saw the vibrant flower arrangements, she knew immediately they should start a business together.
Birthday presents, well wishes, anniversary gifts, treat yo’self home décor—Amaranthus Paper & Flora lively blooms do it all because, from the beginning, the Eastburns have been focused on how flowers make people feel, how they brighten a room or a day. “We try to pay attention to all of the detail—the bit of color at the center, the shape of a petal—even if you just have one of our blooms in a little vase, it makes you smile,” says Cherie. Amaranthus flowers are sold online and at occasional pop-up events or craft fairs. Customers can choose from pre-arranged bouquets—which the Eastburns charmingly call a “recipe”—or as individual stems and shades for a unique arrangement.
Flower Power // Recognizing their paper bouquets brought joy to sick patients unable to receive real flowers, Meredith and Cherie (right) started the Flora Good Cause Giving Initiative, which donates allergen-free paper flowers to those facing serious illness.
Cherie, who Meredith lovingly describes as a “math person,” has a background in banking, and to this day, insists she is not creative. Meredith is an artist, educator, and designer who admits that before founding Amaranthus, she might have written off floral art as merely decorative. The business—which has grown as organically as the natural flowers that inspire their creations—has changed both of them. Cherie’s creativity is clearly evident in the abundance of stems she crafts from her home studio, and Meredith “can’t get enough” of floral art these days. “For me, the switch happened when I started seeing what flowers do in a relationship, or in a moment, or when you’re giving a gift . . . how they just put a smile on someone’s face,” Meredith explains. “It’s become so clear to me how powerful flowers are in such a humble and simple way. They can do so much.”
The Eastburns knew that the timeless beauty of their no-wilt paper flowers was part of their appeal. It’s why they named their company after the Amaranthus flower, which means “immortal” in the language of flowers. What they didn’t know is just how meaningful their flowers’ lasting blooms could be for those battling serious illness or allergies. Cherie and Meredith soon discovered that clients were giving their paper blossoms as gifts to people who couldn’t receive live flowers due to infection risk—including cancer and immunosuppressed patients. One cancer patient who was given an Amaranthus Paper & Flora bouquet burst into tears at the gift, exclaiming, “These flowers aren’t going to die, and neither am I!”
The flowers had brought Cherie and Meredith full circle. What began as a good deed to serve families fighting cancer had grown into a thriving business that was somehow still encouraging those fighting cancer. The Eastburns decided to continue the goodwill by launching their “Flora Good Cause” Giving Initiative; today, Amaranthus Paper & Flora partners with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to regularly donate lasting, allergen-free bouquets to patients facing serious illness.
The joy that these cheery, handcrafted blossoms bring is contagious—whether they’re a get-well bunch of peonies, a first anniversary bridal recreation bouquet to celebrate forever, or the perfect pop of color for a favorite corner. You’re bound to smile. You might even be tempted to make like a little kid and bury your nose in the bouquet.
To view and purchase bouquets, go to amaranthuspaperflora.com.