Ok, everyone, it’s time to get excited! Our industry has been on a huge upswing for a few years, and I say, without a doubt, that we in the floral industry are killing it!

Look around. Flowers are back in fashion. People are wearing them and decorating with them whenever they can. Despite the DIY mania (spurred on by Pinterest) that hit us hard earlier this decade, we survived, navigated, and prevailed! More clients are using flowers to elevate their occasions. Floral communities share information on Facebook constantly, with new groups forming every day! Educational opportunities overflow for those entering our industry, as well as those who want to take their skills to a higher level.

The Canadian Academy of Floral Arts sees higher numbers of applicants than ever before. The true sign of our industry’s upswing, however, is the emergence of new stores! Not only are stores NOT closing (a victory in itself), but more studios and shops are opening all the time!

On my journey as a freelance designer, writer, speaker, and consultant, I have the advantage of seeing our industry bloom first-hand. Many moons ago I was hired for holiday relief at a shop in Ottawa. As a freelancer, you never know what you are walking into — whom you are working for or with.

This contract changed my life. Inside the walls of this store I met the most amazing people — strong, powerful, talented women determined to realize their dreams.

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Those days working in that shop are some of my favourite memories. I kept in contact over the years. Last March, I received a call. One of these women, Caity Paine, excitedly explained she and another soul sister, Krista Evans, a veteran designer with years of experience and an unquenchable passion, were opening a new store in the heart of our capital. I was over the moon! Then she dropped the bomb… they were opening it the NEXT MONTH!

I wished her luck and held my breath. Then a few weeks later, I went to check out this incredible new store in the heart of the hottest neighbourhood in Ottawa and congratulate them in person.

Here’s a Q&A I did with Caity and Krista. Please join me in welcoming The Stalk Market to our ranks!

Q: HOW DID THE STALK MARKET COME TO BE?

A: We met while working at another shop. As we chatted about our dreams, we discussed always wanting our own store but never wanting to do it alone. Sharing our ideas, we saw that our visions lined up exactly. We wanted to create a space that was different than what we had experienced before — super funky designs, different flowers and foliages, and a space where flowers and plants have a place to speak for themselves.

With the same visions of a contemporary space where talented artists are welcome, educational workshops are ongoing, community involvement is paramount, and inspirational floral art converges with them all, The Stalk
Market was born.

Q: WHY DID YOU PICK THIS LOCATION?

A: Located in the corner unit of Dalhousie and St. Patrick in the famous ByWard Market in downtown Ottawa, it was a no brainer. In a short time, we have become the cornerstone florist in this community and we are gladly filling the niche. A revitalization is happening on Dalhousie Street. Before opening our doors we reached out to other local businesses, artist communities, retirement homes, women’s shelters, community centres, and outreach programs — and the neighborhood has been very welcoming in return.

Q: LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR SLOGAN.

A: The Slogan “Flowers to the people” is a playoff of “Power to the people.” The Stalk Market represents two girls with grit and grace giving back to the people, communities, and neighbourhoods that have always been there for us. We’re paying it forward in inspiration, education, and empowerment.

Q: HOW DO YOU INTEND TO PAY IT FORWARD?

A: There are so many ways our shop is already doing this. We have workshops for women’s shelters and community centres. There are no local educational institutions giving floral classes, so we provide those monthly. We are also active in local charities, like hosting pet adoption days in the store. The biggest activation space is our “wall for all.” We invite art students and local artists in our community to exhibit art, and we charge no fee or commission for them to sell their art in our space. They can show their fabulous pieces in our store for up to six weeks!

Q: WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR SHOP’S DISTINGUISHING QUALITIES?

A: Our space is open and inviting, focusing on client and customer experience. We have a resting couch where people can sit comfortably during consultations, or simply rest during a shopping trip. We offer a different kind of service to our clients. Working in so many stores over the years we have learned what works and what doesn’t. Client and customer care are our top priorities. This creates the loyal following it takes to last in this industry. It’s easy to lose sight of that.

Q: WHAT’S THE SECRET TO YOUR PARTNERSHIP?

A: We are very different designers and offer different things to the business. Krista is a contemporary designer and handles the plants and Caity designs with more of a garden-like, organic flair. We trust each other’s strengths and we work with a cohesiveness and vision. We have worked within the limitations of past employers and we want more for ourselves. We are free. And together we have given that to each other.

Check out www.stalkmarketottawa.com or connect with them on Instagram, @thestalkmarket613.

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Jennifer Harvey
Jennifer Harvey is the owner of Jennifer Harvey Designs and Beleafs Home and Garden Care in Brockville, Ontario.
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