The Story Behind Gem Fleuriste
Growing up in the suburbs of New York City, beautiful flowers were never scarce. Tropical pink hibiscus flowers and fuzzy ruby-colored cockscomb grew a few feet from each other, lining the sidewalks. My backyard smelled of wild mint in the summer and was redolent with fragrant wintersweet, the "ice flower", in the winter. There was always an abundance of natural beauty that surrounded me, one I didn't fully appreciate until I started attending high school on the Upper West Side. The city was new and exciting, though I could immediately see where the epithet "concrete jungle" came from - there weren't a lot of natural flowers growing wild, even in Central Park.
One day, after lunch with a friend in the Nolita district, I walked into a flower shop two doors away. Immediately after opening the door, I was awash with scents: wet moss, soft roses, intoxicating jasmine, and a strong note of fresh figs. The walls were pale green but bright with sunlight, lined with vases and vases of flowers. It was like walking in from the French countryside (where I later found out the owner is from!).
That flower shop became my favorite place to frequent and buy bouquets whenever I could afford to, and I followed them religiously when they moved around the city. It never occurred to me to work with flowers until one day, out of college and with some free time, I thought of my favorite flower shop again. I reached out to them and offered to work there completely for free if they'd train me, which they accepted. So begins my life in floristry...
It began with the simple desire to work surrounded by beautiful flowers, and it led to the opportunity of being trained by two wonderful floral companies in New York City, as well as working for an amazingly talented florist in Paris, right next to the Louvre - delivering flowers to a completely empty Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles was truly an unforgettable experience.
Gem Fleuriste started as a way for me to put my own personal touches to my arrangements. I love playing with different textures, materials, and scents to create something special and precious. There is, as well, always an innate need to make certain that the person gifting the flowers feels as just good as the person receiving it.