Beards Mean Business

Michael Lankford is the Director of Operations for Amanda Jewel Floral + Design, an organic inspired design studio located in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also a Startup Consultant, Business Coach, Management Analyst, and Realtor who enjoys helping creatives find success at all stages of business.

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Images by Melissa Schollaert Photography

I suppose I should introduce myself since I’m usually in the background of the creative world here at AJF+D. I am the director of operations for AJF+D, which means that I handle the stuff that bores most creatives to tears. I’m excited to share a little about me, what makes me tick, and unpack a few things I’ve learned along the way to save you some time and headaches.

I was born in Decatur to an amazing mom with limitless love and a brilliant dad who was more business savvy than I could’ve understood. The result is a strange mix of someone who is driven to succeed in business, yet drawn to help others with the things I’ve learned.

I discovered my passion for consulting while working as an engineer for a company where I was certified as an ISO auditor, project manager, and six sigma black belt. I eventually left that company and went back to school to get an MBA. After a venture of my own, helping launch a Fortune 500 company into Asia, and watching Amanda take her first steps as an entrepreneur, my love of startups was born.

My original role in AJF+D was a general, unpaid laborer (I specialized in lifting heavy objects, sweating, bleeding, etc.). While I still do those things, my role has evolved into more of an in-house consultant and carpenter. In truth, I will always do all I can to support the dreams and success of everyone at AJF+D. Whether it is the task of listening without trying to fix, building some impossible contraption that is the object of a client’s dreams (a unicorn flying through a maple syrup waterfall, for example), or making suggestions as a business coach, I’m proud to be a part of this awesome journey that our AJF+D family is on.

Many creative folks don’t share my love for business, and I understand. For many of the people I meet, much of what goes into a business leads to eye rolls, deep sighs, and yearnings to get back to the “pretty” things. Yet there are a number of big questions and serious things that must be addressed to maintain a sustainable business.

I would like to share advice that is real. Practical insights you can read, understand, and apply to your business for real results. My one gripe with business advice in this industry is that a lot of it is fluff, based on a hunch, or seems to try and mirror the success of someone who spent years learning what truly goes into business strategy and planning. As entrepreneurs, time is too precious to spend listening to an hour-long webinar on something that can be shared in a few sentences. And money is too precious to invest in someone without credentials or experience who is more focused on their own bottom line (or followers) than yours.

If you’re around me long enough, you’ll hear me say that our approach to business is to take care of the people in our lives with a sincerity that is real, relevant, and relational. If I can help one person stay motivated, to not give up, to keep chasing their dream, then this effort is worth it.

So let’s get started! What do you want to learn? What are your biggest pain points? What are the questions and concerns that keep you up at night? How can I help you move from where you are to where you want to be? Comment below or shoot me an email at

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Spring Watercolor Wedding Inspiration

A palette of soft pinks, blush and shades of orange embodies the softness and romance of the spring season. Watercolor details and blush gowns make this perfect for spring. We partnered up with some amazing vendors to make this spring inspiration shoot come to life. Hope you enjoy! 

Featured on Aisle Perfect Blog

This ombre flower arrangement is one of our favorite parts of this inspiration shoot. Soft colors that blend together to create a breathtaking centerpiece that is truly unique. 

Contributing Vendors

Venue – Bishop Station//Photographer – Elle Golden //Planning & Design – Lemiga Events //Stationery – Courtney Khail // Floral – Amanda Jewel //Rentals and Drape – Sejour Events //Tableware – Table and Fete //Bridal Gowns – Anne Barge at Buckhead Bridals and White Magnolia //Ghost Chairs – Sweet Seats //Groom Attire – The Modern Gent //Flower Girls – Pantora Mini //Accessories – Perfect Details //Styling Assistant – Andrea Richardson Beautiful Wild Design //Wedding Cake – For Goodness Cakes  //Hair & Makeup – J’Denelle, Khadijah Jordan and Scoobie for Scoobie West & Company//Model Styling – Chawncia Bythwood


Behind the Blue Door

Hello flower friends! 

Today we are showing off our beloved studio space where all the magic happens behind the blue door! If you haven't had the chance to visit us in our studio lately, you will find a few new things! We just finished a brand refresh and updated our logo, signage, website and many other things. We feel it better represents who we are as well as the style of client we love to work with.  We could not be more excited to share it with you! 

Our studio is where we build friendships, get inspired, build things with our hands, create, entertain, work, and play (with a glass of wine in hand of course). As a creative it is so important that we surround ourselves in an environment that is conducive to creativity. We create and inspire other people to create. 

Photograph by  Shelby Rae Photographs
Photograph by  Shelby Rae Photographs
Photograph by  Shelby Rae Photographs

Things you will find in our studio:

A moodboard for inspiration

A coffee maker because who can live and work without coffee

A collection of photobooth strips from past wedding events - our favorite souvenir!

Plants for oxygen

Design magazines to keep us fresh in the design world

And of course, ALWAYS a bucket of flowers!!

Our studio is the first place we meet our clients and from there we build budding relationships that enable our ideas to grow throughout the entire design process. Our clients are the most important aspect of our business and we aim to please!

Photograph by  Shelby Rae Photographs
Photograph by  Shelby Rae Photographs

2015 was a big year for us. We were published twice in the Celebration Society Magazine, once for a fairytale wedding at The Atlanta History Center, and once for a styled shoot at The Hay House in Macon, Georgia. We also were voted Best of Weddings on The Knot, which shows our commitment to our clients and how we always strive to put them first.  We hosted our first ever AJ Vendor Dinner in our studio, and got to spend the evening hanging out with and getting to know some amazing Atlanta wedding vendors. Our workshop series at West Elm Ponce City Market was launched in December with the first one being a fabulous wreath making class. Stay tuned for more workshops coming up at West Elm! We participated in our very first Big Fake Wedding at The Atlanta History Center, which was so much fun! We joined the fabulous Black Sheep Bride organization, a wedding network that connects socially conscious brides with vendors who care about giving back. And last but not least, we created and designed more weddings than ever last year. As a result of that, we had the chance to curate some amazing vendor relationships for the future. So as you can see, there's quite a lot that goes on behind our little blue door. 

Stop by and say hello!


AJ Team