Updated: Apr 24
As the world struggles to maintain (and create) normalcy, and with millions of Americans out of work, we believe that supporting small businesses is a great way to take action and make a big impact. Every Saturday, WDID features a company that we love in the Small Business Spotlight series. This week, we're honored to feature Astoria, New York's floral design company "Fern Botanica".
Sustainably focused bespoke floral design
Interview with Julia D'Angelo, CEO and Creative Director
Who are you?
We are imagination enthusiasts, party animals, and foam-free florists offering floral design for any event of the season. We create floral works of art from petite bouquets for your grandmother to large scale installations for weddings and corporate events. We also offer educational classes, workshops, and planty advice for the green or not so green thumb.
Whats the Fern Botanica story?
Fern Botanica came into bloom 2 years ago when I was working as the Senior Designer for another floral shop. I loved my current employer and my team but I was ready to start something where I could have complete creative freedom and take on projects that I truly felt inspired and invested in. I also felt strongly about working mindfully and as sustainably as possible in an industry that is extremely wasteful. It takes extra hours of work and is more costly but we recycle, compost, and design foam-free. I see ourselves as floral ambassadors and with that comes the responsibility to not only create beautiful floral pieces but to do what's right for the earth and all it provides us with botanically. Currently we are in the process of opening up a commercial studio space in the heart of Astoria. We are so excited to have a larger space to build our events in as well as offer creative space to our community. We can't wait to host classes and workshops as well as offer plant/botanical babies for your home!
Where can we find you?
We are located at 30-36 41st street in Astoria, New York (Queens) currently by appointment only but if you see us working away don't hesitate to knock!
How has COVID impacted you so far?
It's heavy to see how COVID has impacted absolutely everyone. With all events cancelled or postponed, it has been a scary time for all of our clients, some who have been planning their weddings for over a year. We are standing behind our couples in a wild new game I like to call "Date Tetris" to accommodate all kinds of new circumstances. Besides the reality that our livelihood has come to a screeching halt, we will also feel the effects into the next year as old dates fill up future ones and some current events decide to downsize drastically. While it is terrifying to open up gmail every morning, I do believe in staying positive and being a source of joy and hope for all of our couples. Kindness is paramount more than ever in these times and if my job as a florist is to bring happiness to people through the beauty of nature, then we will continue to strive to do so even if we currently don't have any florals to share. When the markets re-open we will be there with our sweet, sweet dance moves.
Photos: (L to R) Natura Collective, Sarah B Photography, Sampaio Waltz Photography
What can we do to help you thrive during these unprecedented times?
The best way to support us is to 1) follow us on Instagram and engage with our posts when you see them 2) Reach out about classes and workshops! We will customize anything you want to learn so get your friends together and have a night of wine and floral design! It's an amazing way to be creative and get your hands dirty. Crowd favorites are Dutch Design, Flower Crowns, Terrariums, Wreath Making.
Owner spotlight: Julia (Harkey) D'Angelo - CEO and Creative Director
I've always felt extra connected to florals and nature. My grandmother used to take me "flower picking" which really meant collecting weeds on the side of midwestern country roads, but we would take our spoils back and make arrangements together and that has always stayed with me. I actually use some of those "weeds" now to mix in with high end blooms and find the combo so magical. As a cult level show choir member, I went to FSU for Musical Theatre and Art History and absolutely loved my time there. It felt like I was swimming in the arts and as an adult I always strive for that level of community and creativity. I live in Astoria with my husband Paul and rescue pup Animal. When I'm not at the top of a ladder building something, we love to cook for our friends and neighbors. We love it so much Paul has a chef's jacket that he will wear during prep, and he is absolutely not a chef. We are happily living inside an episode of The Muppets.
Photos: (L to R) Jaqueline Patton Photography, Isabelle Selby Photography, Sarah B Photography
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