IN FULL BLOOM
It's May, the trees and flowers in NYC finally came out from the cold grip of our winter— and we are IN FULL BLOOM! We thought it would serve us right to highlight women of color who are lovers of botany and florists. When you think of self-care, plants and flowers can really change your mood and home. Check out this beautiful list and find inspiration in these ladies!
Aurea Sanabria Molaei
Ethnicity: Puerto Rican
Business Name: Flower Bodega
A little about your business: Flower Bodega is a boutique floral design studio mainly servicing events, private clients, and retailers. We are known for our mini bouquets as gifts but do so much more! From event floral styling to product launch gifting and even bringing our Bodega Stand to events and stores for face-to-face time with guests and consumers, we can do it all!
What sparked your interest in botany: I’ve always considered myself to be a Creative. From fashion and costume design in my teens and early 20’s to interiors and event production in my mid-late 20’s... I love to create. Ever the hostess, I would create my own floral arrangements for events and personal dinners. While there has always been a floral influence in my life through my dad’s experiences working at a florist shop in the 70s, it wasn’t until I was able to assist with an incredible floral designer (shout out to Brenna) on an event years back that I realized I wanted to pursue an education in floral design. From cleaning and conditioning the flowers to arranging and setting them up for the event, I found the process to be both creatively liberating and supremely meditative. I guess you can say that was the spark that made me serious about pursuing it.
What has been your greatest success from pursuing this field: While I have been providing floral services to friends in the event industry for a few years now, I officially launched Flower Bodega, the brand, this Valentine’s Day. I definitely did not expect how quickly it would take off or how many amazing opportunities would arise since the launch. Toward the end of last year, I was really down, uninspired, and just did not see how I could ever launch a new business. I was feeling defeated and almost gave up entirely, but something inside of me clicked and I just decided to go for it. Once that moment happened, everything started to fall into place and I got my confidence back! My husband, my family, friends and greatest supporters all banded together to help me with a photo shoot, we got the site up and just went for it and have not stopped since Valentine’s Day! Since then, we have worked with some amazing brands on really cool events and product launches. We even brought our Bodega Stand to Refinery29 and Bergdorf Goodman, which was major! Next up for us is a 2.5 week Bodega pop up with HOME by thisopenspace in TriBeCa (140 West Broadway)May 11- 27th (Just in time for Mother’s Day!). Come through!!!!
Ethnicity: Black/ Mexican
Business Name (if you have one): n/a
A little about your business (or hobby): I've always been connected to plants and the women in my family would always have beautiful ones in their home. When I was going through a low time in my life I really dove into my love for plants, I started with clippings that were given to me from my dear friend Joi. Then I got a few plants and now have over 20. It’s such a beautiful thing to watch something grow. It reminded me that how I water my plants is the same way I should treat myself, with the same care and attention I want the things in my life to grow.
What sparked your interest in botany: My friend Joi really inspired me because of her plant collection and love for them... and my grandmother always had plants when I was younger and I was looking for ways to keep her spirit alive and really make my home feel like a small jungle in the city.
What's something you have gained from this hobby: I have gained knowledge about plants and ways to care for them. Also, how to have them in any space and thrive. My greatest success has been inspiring others to find their love of plants and being someone they feel they can come to help them start their own plant family.
Instagram Handle: @mallorywiththeflowers
Ethnicity: Black/ Filipino
Business Name: Mallory Floral Design & Styling
What drove your interest in Botany: For a while I was searching for a outlet to get creative outside of my normal job in Marketing, but couldn't quite pinpoint what I wanted to do. I've always enjoyed playing with flowers and making arrangements as a hobby, but the exact moment was at the end of last year, right before my birthday, my boyfriend and I were walking around the 99 cent store and just I yelled out, “I’m going to be a florist!”. I was super hype with my hands in the air and everything and he replied back, “get it then!” and here we are now!
What is your main goal from it: In starting my floral business, my main goal was really just to create an outlet for myself to be creative, use my hands more, and mostly, to feel happiness from something that was truly mine. So far, I've been lucky to have accomplished and continue to accomplish all of those things. Moving forward, my goal is to expand on what I'm doing while continuing to learn and grow within this field. I never want to stop learning & growing - but always keeping it fun.
What has been your greatest success from pursuing this field: I started my floral business 100% to make myself happy, but now as I'm working with more clients on their projects or making arrangements for friends, I've realized something that should've been obvious - flowers make everyone happy! I didn't take into account, that working with flowers, something that makes me so pumped and excited everyday, would have that same affect on others around me. That's definitely the biggest success that's come from this so far.
Alexandra (Alex) Buitrago
Ethnicity: Hispanic - Colombian
A little about your business : I've always been interested in plants and had a couple cacti when I was in high school. When I moved away for college I started to get more cacti and orchids and in May of 2017 is when my houseplants obsession started and my collection grew quickly.
What sparked your interest in botany: I started to buy more cacti in March and April of 2017 as a way to deal with a hard break up. When I moved back home in May of 2017 a friend told me to visit a plant shop in my town and the rest is history! I was visiting that plant shop about once a week and I was always coming home with a new plant.
What has been something you have gained from botany: I think that collecting houseplants has taught me a lot of patience. All plants are different, some like bright light, others do well in low light. There are some plants that like to be watered more often than others and having to learn my plants; needs has taught me to be a patient person. It has also taught me perseverance because some plants will take a turn for the worse and because I get attached to my plants I will do anything to try and bring them back to good health. Sometimes no matter what I do, the plant will die on me and that is also a lesson because I can't save them all, I can just learn from my mistakes and do better next time. I have also met a lot of amazing people online from the plant community from all over the world that I probably would've never talked to if it wasn't for my instagram account.
Ethnicity: African American
Business Name (if you have one): n/a
A little about your hobby: I guess I would consider myself an indoor gardener. I care for about 130 plants in my apartment, maybe more. I love the constant challenge of keeping plants alive indoors and the beauty of plants more than anything.
What sparked your interest in botany: I had just moved into a new apartment and I had no furniture. I used Pinterest for inspiration for decor themes and came across plants in the bedroom. I decided to buy three plants from Ikea. I immediately began to research how to take care of them and that’s what hooked me. I could never not have plants in my home again.
What have you gained from botany so far: I have definitely gained a genuine love for plant care. I love it so much that I began to work in a plant shop. I’m happy that I found an activity that I genuinely love and can make a career out of!
Ethnicity: African American
A little about your business: Self proclaimed interior decorator by weekday, adventurer by weekend. Coffee drinker and plant lover on the daily.
What sparked your interest in botany: I love the outdoors! I just love nature. Being a plant mama was my way of bringing the outdoors in. I love watching them grow! They bring so much fresh air and happiness inside my home.
What has been something you've gained from botany: Patience! I love becoming a plant grandma. Something about seeing a new leaf is so exciting because it means you are doing all the right things to keep that plant alive. I probably sound really nerdy but I love it. You have to have patience though new leaves don't grow in an hr or even a week they take time. You have to put in the work to see results.