The Art of Breaking Bread with Nicole & Nicole of THE FLWRY

This is my friend Nicole Rossi and her friend Nicole Paloux, founders of Philadelphia’s first floral subscription service, THE FLWRY.

Left to right: Nicole Rossi and Nicole Paloux
Left to right: Nicole Rossi and Nicole Paloux

THE FLWRY works with local farms (all within 25-45 miles of Philadelphia) to deliver fresh, sustainable blooms to its members twice a month. The flowers have been cut from the farms within 24 hours of when its members receive them, offering the longest lifespan. Each member’s bundle of flowers is placed in proprietary flower carriers which have been designed to make carrying that week’s floral loot home easy and stylish. The flowers have not been arranged since THE FLWRY likes to empower its members to cut and arrange the flowers throughout their spaces as they see fit.

The FLWRY - Photo by Alison Conklin
Photo by Alison Conklin

I first came across THE FLWRY on Instagram and fell in love with the idea of this new start-up immediately. Shortly after establishing a connection with the brand on social media, I realized I had actually been communicating with one of my long time Facebook friends and former food-writer-as-a-side-hustler, Nicole Rossi.

An email with a half dozen questions to her about the start-up and one invite later and I’m at COOK to sit in on a flower inspired tea and dessert class, presented by THE FLWRY with Chef Jason Cichonski, Top Chef contestant and owner of Ela and The Gaslight in Philadelphia, and Alexis Siemons, tea consultant and writer of Teaspoons & Petals.

Chef Jason Cichonski at COOK in Philadelphia, PA.
Chef Jason Cichonski at COOK in Philadelphia, PA.
Alexis Siemons of Teaspoons & Petals at COOK in Philadelphia, PA.
Alexis Siemons of Teaspoons & Petals at COOK in Philadelphia, PA.

I snap some photos of the class that is beautifully conducted by the chef and Alexis. I’ve never smelled a kitchen so pretty.

Chilled hibiscus consommé with avocado, white chocolate and passionfruit.
Chilled hibiscus consommé with avocado, white chocolate and passionfruit.

Nicole Rossi and Nicole Paloux at COOK

Chef Jason Cichonski at COOK

After hearing THE FLWRY‘s story a bit further, I learn that both Nicoles had the same idea for a floral subscription service at the same time, but in different places – one at home with her husband and one exploring San Francisco. It wasn’t until the two of them got together for drinks and dessert that the concept of THE FLWRY truly sprouted.

Paloux says, “Nicole had just returned from a trip to San Francisco where she was inspired by a similar business. I had just been telling my husband that I wanted to start a floral subscription service. It was over drinks and dessert at my house that we talked and realized we were both thinking about the same thing at the same time. We don’t typically have a meeting to discuss business without food. Breaking bread together is the only way to be productive.”

How did you meet each other?
Rossi:  It was love at first sight. I was just starting to do freelance writing on the side (while still architecting), and our paths crossed when I picked up the phone to call Nicole about an event she was hosting for Theatre Confetti which I was writing about. She invited me to the event, and after meeting her for the first time, I knew we would be fast friends.

Can you tell me more about how the idea came about?
Rossi:  I had acquired some outdoor space in South Philadelphia in the early spring of 2014. Out of nowhere, I decided I would give a go at planting a flower garden. I germinated hundreds and hundreds of seeds of flowers, and immediately became a bit obsessed with the process of planning and caring for a garden. I loved everything about it and I loved having fresh flowers in my home for months and months. After coming back from a trip from San Francisco where I spent an afternoon with the immensely talented women of Studio Choo, I knew I needed to dig deeper into the world of flowers. I had never felt so passionate about anything previously.

It was at Paloux’s home, where I was having dinner and drinks, recounting my trip, that we discovered we both had an affinity for flowers. We both agreed there had to be an easier way to make fresh flowers accessible for the people in our city. I can remember the exact place we were standing in her kitchen when we decided we were on to something and that we should meet again the following week.

Paloux:  I’ve always felt strongly that having fresh cut florals in the home 24/7 makes a huge difference in bringing a space to life and creating a positive energy. I wanted to make this accessible to everyone in this great city and Nicole and I coincidentally had the same idea at the same time. So we decided to make it happen! I still run Red Balloon PR and also a theatre company that produces one-night-only parties in underground warehouse environments. But I’m constantly on the hunt for the next project. Since I am busy with those two businesses, I knew I could not do anything else alone. Nicole is an architect and was also looking to have a business to call her own. The timing just worked for the both of us.

What is your vision and the mission for THE FLWRY?
Our mission is to make having fresh cut florals in the home at all times accessible to everyone. Our vision is one where local agriculture and farmers can be better sustained by their surrounding community. Enough shipping flowers from fields in Holland and Mexico. These are great travel destinations, but we have amazing local farmers growing beautiful flowers right next door. The flowers prefer not to travel great distances to get to us too ;)

***

THE FLWRY is now accepting memberships for the current subscription period. Members can choose from a full membership (2 pickups per month) or a half membership (1 pickup per month) and pick up their bundle from one of six Philly locations that the Nicoles have hand-selected:

Rittenhouse Square – Elixr Coffee

Art Museum/Fairmount – Tela’s Market

Northern Liberties – Brown Betty Dessert Boutique

Queen Village/Bella Vista – Lacquer Lounge

Old City/Society Hill – Capofitto

Fishtown – Parlour

Delivery days will be on the second and fourth Thursday of each month. Members will pop into their chosen pickup location between 4:30 and 7:30 pm, flash their membership card at the counter, and grab a carrier full of farm-fresh blooms from the rack to take home or to the office to arrange as they see fit.

THE FLWRY will be posting inspiration images and encouraging members to do the same via their Instagram page, @theflwry and with #myfloralRx.

For more information, please visit theflwry.com.

***

About the Nicoles:

Nicole Paloux is the owner of Red Balloon Public Relations, a lifestyle boutique PR firm representing restaurants, hotels, spas, art organizations, and fashion retailers. Additionally, she runs Theatre Confetti, a theater company that produces one-night-only parties with a theatrical undercurrent in unknown underground warehouse spaces, which the company transforms for the night. Nicole also just announced the launch of her newest entrepreneurial venture, THE FLWRY, Philadelphia’s first ever floral subscription service.

Nicole Rossi is an architect in Philadelphia designing for a multitude of hospitality and residential projects in and around center city. Her love for design has most recently crossed paths with the floral world where she has announced the launch of THE FLWRY, Philadelphia’s first floral subscription service. Nicole spends her time devoted to her own flower garden in South Philadelphia where she eagerly expands her knowledge and talents in the world of flowers, combining her eye for detailed design with the beauty of mother nature.

Nicoles_laughing_final

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