Fashion boutiques want their customers to slow down and smell the flowers. Literally.
The annual Macy’s Flower Show might be the mother of all retail flower events, but indie boutiques and specialty chains are getting into the game too. Decorative (read: highly Instagrammable) flower installations, in-store florist pop-ups and collaborations, and flower arranging classes are all putting out one powerful message: This bud’s for you.
Handbag, footwear and apparel brand Mansur Gavriel has created color-saturated boutiques that look like an Instagram feed come to life. Two years ago, The company has partnered with Brittany Asch, the founder of Brrch, for an in-store florist selling flowers that pop against the pink walls. Mansur Gavriel expanded this concept in their larger Los Angeles store as well. Mansur Gavriel’s love for flowers is so strong (after Floriana Gavriel and Rachel Mansur met at a concert in LA, they met up the next day at the Los Angeles flower market), they recently published a book called LA Flower Market.
Notes the company: “The Los Angeles flower market will always be a special place, and it is with even greater meaning that we share this beautiful photographic expression by our dear friends and collaborators, Tanya Posternak and Zhenya Posternak. Published by Libraryman.” Retail, $55. Side note: Mansur Gavriel’s founders received the Fashion Maverick Award this year from the AAFA.
French boutique Sezane in Nolita, NY has been organizing flower arrangement workshops every month since the opening of the store in September, all run by Flower Girl NY. “We have around 20 to 25 guests and each month there is a new theme,” says store manager Isabelle Hallais. “We do a lot of events and workshops in the store on a regular basis. While they do translate into immediate sales of fashion items, that’s not the purpose. It’s more to create different animations and workshops to build a community. And everyone will leave with their bouquets!”
Hallais admits that the floral-covered facade outside brings many new customers to the store via their floral Instagram posts, so hosting flower-arranging classes to keep them engaged is a floral one-two punch. The two hour evening workshops focus on both floral arrangements, shopping and mingling, to create a fun and community experience. The $20 tickets include a seasonal floral creation with each class. The flower arrangement workshops are so popular, the April, May, June and July ones are already sold out.
EDIE PARKER X DESIGNS BY AHN
Florist Designs by Ahn recently held a pop-up with handbag company Edie Parker (to celebrate Spring’s long-awaited appearance!) at the handbag brand’s Madison Avenue store. “This was my first work at a pop-up shop concept, and I see first-hand why this is a newer retail trend,” says Victoria Ahn, owner. “It benefits both participants to get more exposure on social media, as well as introduces new customers to each retailers in different sectors. I look forward to participating in future pop-ups.”
SUNNI SPENCER Apres Sea
Sunni Spencer boutique in the West Village turned a live tropical floral arrangement into an Instagram-worthy backdrop, perfect for its Girl Boss / Mamma evening out event. Bastille Flowers and Events spray painted the tropical leaves in bold colors for even more contrast. “Flowers add another dimension to any environment, and installations need to feel like the flowers are growing up from the table, not just in a vase,” says Bastille founder Emily Pinon. While this event was more about decor, Bastille often works with retailers on in-store events that benefit both parties. “We did an event in a Jonathan Adler store where a $100 ticket gave consumers a Jonathan Adler vase and the opportunity to create a floral bouquet on site. It was a huge success, as the women were designing right in the Jonathan Adler vase. It was a guaranteed sale plus many women purchased more items in the store.”
Not all in-store flower events need to be moneymakers, either. Bastille Flowers also teamed up with retail specialty chain Club Monaco for a flower-arranging class held at its Fifth Avenue Flatiron location. The class was was offered as a thank you for top clients, who were then free to shop for clothing once their arranging was finished. It was a bonding experience for groups of women who came with friends, and let them interact with the store in a more intimate way.
Flowers have taken a cue from yarn bombing, where artists crocheted unsuspecting outdoor objects in yarn! Now, flowers are even being used in guerrilla marketing tactics, such as this “flower bombed” car recently parked outside Intermix in Soho. An Instagram dream, the car was circled by passersby posing and taking photos…and tagging Intermix of course. Naturally, such antics are organized by the retailer, but it does have that haphazard feel.
Flower crowns might have gone by the wayside at festivals like Coachella, but flowers definitely have not. Retailer Revolve filled a car with thousands of blooms for its recent Coachella event, creating a very Instagram-worthy spot.