This year, it’s estimated that consumers will spend a total of $2 billion dollars on flowers for Valentine’s Day. For any florist, the madness of the holiday is not something to envy.
But Meridith Isaacson, floral designer and owner of South Lake Union flower shop Verde & Co., likes to think of the chaos more like the “floral Olympics.” “The month before Valentine’s Day, I train hard,” Isaacson says. “Lots of sleep, eating well and self-care. It’s incredibly stressful but I don’t have any horror stories.”
This February, Isaacson is doubling down on the preparations: It's also the one-year anniversary of her brick-and-mortar shop, a labor of love leap from the freelance flower design and event services she had been offering.
“I wanted to interact with customers in a more intimate setting and be a part of a community,” Isaacson says. “A flower shop is a place where people meet, mingle, shop and you get to know them over a period of time. You get to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and you get to know their style and needs. It’s part of the job that I really love, our customers.”
South Lake Union she says, has been a good place to put down those roots, too. The ‘hood has “grown and we’ve learned a lot about what our customers are looking for. South Lake Union is its own community, contrary to popular belief that it’s just a business district, and we feel the neighborhood has embraced us.”
Isaacson’s one-of-a-kind arrangements and unique approach to floral design has helped the company grow. With a background in classical ballet, Isaacson utilizes some of the same principles of dance in her creations.
“Working with flowers was the first time I felt that connection [between dance and a different medium],” Isaacson says. “I love being on my feet and working with my hands. Placing a branch in a vase and choosing its direction has a flow to it. It just feels natural to me.”
Image by Haris Kenjar
The small shop is also committed to sustainability and responsible product sourcing—a hot topic in the flower world these days, as environmental issues surrounding the industry have come under closer scrutiny.
Isaacson is a proud member of Slow Flowers, a group that pledges “to source American grown product when possible, especially during the high season, like in winter for blooming branches, spring for tulips or the late summer for dahlias,” she says. Isaacson also composts her spent products, and sources flowers hyper-locally from right here in Seattle, including White Center, a neighborhood close to her home in West Seattle.
“I think the availability of local product in Seattle is some of the best in the country,” Isaacson says. “The Northwest is truly a flower wonderland.”
And it’s not just going green; the shop’s own practices and preferences match up nicely with Pantone’s 2017’s forest-inspired color, Greenery.
“Coincidentally it’s our signature brand color, so we’re pretty jazzed,” Isaacson says. “I think bold and muted tone combinations are going to continue, and tropical flowers are making a comeback as well as dried arrangements.”
“We’re not a paint-by-numbers flower shop,” Isaacson adds. “The product we’re working with and how we’re using it is consistently an evolving process."
Learn more about Isaacson's journey to floral design via Debra Prinzing's podcast here.
And mark your calendar: The Northwest Flower & Garden Show takes place February 22-26 at the Washington State Convention Center.