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December 13, 2013
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Uniform Project: Florists
Photographer Sarah Blais met with a few florists who revealed that Valentine's Day was no bed of roses. They still looked great, though.

 

For her first stop, Sarah met the Coriander Girl, Alison Westlake, and her little white rabbit named Harry. Alison’s favorite flowers right now? Peonies, Anemone, and Queen Anne’s Lace. Alison has owned her flower shop since September 2009, but just got the keys to her new store in January. She and her husband Tyler have a place in Prince Edward County, where Tyler, instead of buying a bouquet, will walk along and pick her roadside flowers to show his love. One thing Alison likes picking in Prince Edward County? Vintage outfits at City Revival (her best kept secret, til now), where the shirt in the photographs was found. Locally, Alison shops at Frou Frou, Frock, Dalston Grey and Robber. For work essentials Alison believes a five-year-old pair of perfectly fitted jeans and a t-shirt from her husband’s closet are all she needs. At weddings she rocks her favorite apron by Sassy Lamb. Alison’s floral pants are from Aritzia, her necklace is Old Weston, and the shoes she has on are from her wedding; she got them online from J. Crew and wears them almost every day.

 

Around the corner and up the street is Sweetpea’s, where owner Sara Jamieson, her two cats, and her two great Danes hang about. Her uniform changes every day: she goes from wearing Fluevogs, flowy scarves, and pearls to sitting in her monster sized pick-up truck with aviators, a cowboy hat, and an old tank top while blasting Murder by Death and literally putting the metal to the pedal in her steel-toed work boots. Her background in landscaping made for a more utilitarian styled look, but the casual elegance she sees in the girls at the shop have made her put more femininity into what she’s wearing. Sara shops at Marks Work Warehouse and is wearing a Lucky Brand shirt. Her favorite flower? The original pink garden rose.

Tellie Hunt, a 20-year-old florist on staff, mentioned they had 14-hour days this past week to prep for the Valentine’s orders. One order she’ll never forget was from a very old man, who came in hunched over with a cane to get flowers delivered to his wife who was in a nursing home. The card read “Couldn’t forget, wouldn’t forget, love you always.” The girls delivered to the wife, who acted shocked and confused at who had sent her these flowers and couldn’t believe they were for her (are you crying yet?). Another story she told was of a young couple who came in after a wild night of partying. The guy walked to the back and told Tellie to secretly make up a bouquet for this girl he had just met and was falling hard for; he wrote a card, and they successfully surprised her. The same guy came in this Valentine’s to get another order of flowers for the same girl (what a dream!).

 

Tellie has been working in flower shops her whole life, and planning her wedding since she was 12. At Sweetpea’s she’s now in charge of the wedding floral work and couldn’t be happier. For her wardrobe she sticks to the basics and grabs accessories to make things work. Tellie has no preference for shops except one area she frequents, the Orfus road outlet stretch (her dirty secret). Her style tends to be more on the girly side, including her floral printed apron she wears when lifting buckets in the shop.

 

Sarah’s last stop was Martins Flowers in the Junction where she talked with owner Lynn Martin Freeman. The property was purchased in 1898 by Lynn’s great grandfather; apparently you would walk down from the sidewalk into a large greenhouse that had bedding plants, rhubarb, and a bit of everything. She’s grown up around flowers, her favourite being the lisianthus. For clothing Lynn shops at the Jones New York outlet or Cloverdale Mall. At work, because she’s the owner, she tends to wear a suit. The gold ring Lynn’s wearing was given to her for being a flower girl at a wedding when she was only 5 and has her initials engraved in it. She told me this week was “sheer madness” with the 200 orders shipped out on Valentines day, 100 of which were made on the day and required within the hour. Yikes!  

Previously in the Uniform Project: baristos. Follow Sarah Blais on Twitter: @sarahblais_.

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