As an elopement photographer in New York, many of my clients are coming from out of town and are often looking for help arranging things in the city. When you book your elopement or wedding with De Nueva Photography, I’m also happy to help you find other trustworthy local vendors if you need them…(Some people are just looking for photos, and that’s of course just fine too!) I know planning a wedding can be an overwhelming process in a place like NYC, but there are lots of wonderful small businesses out there and I love making those connections for clients. Every now and then I profile other local vendors on my blog, and today I want to bring you some beautiful flowers by Kate of Petal by Pedal!
Even for a tiny wedding, one of the things people often are looking for is a bouquet. This past year I was introduced to a new florist and thought her concept was so awesome that I contacted her to see if she’d be willing to do a little interview. Being as eco friendly as possible is one of the core tenants of my own business, so when I see another vendor who also happens to not only do beautiful work, but do so in the most green friendly way possible? I can’t help but shout their name from the rooftops.
So in case you happen to be looking for a wedding florist in New York, and are looking to support a fellow eco friendly woman owned small business, Kate is your girl!
How did you get started working with flowers?
Although flowers have always been a big part of my day and my life, I never anticipated working with them professionally. I walked into entrepreneurship after graduating from law school and moving back to New York City from Virginia. In the months between school and a law firm job beginning, I spent a lot of time at the Union Square Greenmarket and it was those conversations with growers that formed the foundation for Petal by Pedal. I found myself more excited about it than anything else I was moving towards doing and with some vital support from loved ones, took the leap into starting my own business instead of practicing as a lawyer.
What makes you different from other florists around town?
We are a disruptive model within the flower industry. The standard is imported blooms — well over 85% of the fresh cut flowers sold each year in the United States have been flown in from thousands of miles away instead of from our own backyards. There is an overall lack of transparency and labeling for consumers when buying their flowers, so most people don’t have any idea of where their bouquet comes from, who grew it, what was used on it and how it got to them. In the mission of sustainability and a small carbon footprint, as well as the fierce desire to help the American farmer, we choose to source our flowers from local New York growers and deliver by bicycle throughout New York City (soon to be Brooklyn as well)! Unnecessary packaging and up-selling present on most flower sites and retail shops has been eliminated and our customers choose a size, a color, a feeling and we take care of the rest. This black box ordering style allows our farms to harvest what is actually fresh each day and allows the customer to have a lot longer shelf life in their product. The end result is a higher quality good and a story that people can believe in.
Do you really deliver everything by bike?
Yes. Besides being the greenest, it’s also the fastest way to get around a city like New York. Occasionally we hop onto the subway in a bad storm, but besides those days everything is brought by two wheels!
Where do you get your flowers from? What about for winter weddings?
We work with about a dozen farms scattered from Long Island to Upstate. Some of those farms are with us year round and others just for the warm field growing months, so depending on the time of year we will be getting our product from a different grower. Having a small curated sourcing side allows ultimate accountability in the flowers — we know who grows the best of each type, what farm’s climate work best for certain times of year — and that flexibility in what they can harvest for us and long term trust allows us to demand a truly healthy premium bloom and allows farmers to do what they do best — follow the seasonal growing calendar and grow what works well.
Can you talk a little about why local blooms are important to you?
Choosing to buy blooms locally is important because it speaks to the way we approach consumer life in general in the United States. Flowers are just one vertical in which more accountability should be demanded well beyond the industry standard — from food to urban planning, we make choices as a culture to value and not value things. In choosing to know the full story behind what we buy, we can choose to be educated consumers. Then, in choosing to value what is grown in our own backyards — for reasons of environmental impact, labor rights, helping the American farmer — we can balance the impact we have on the environment in which we sit. It’s vital that we not just draw from land without any return.
Are your flowers organic?
All of our flower farms are either organic or organic equivalent. There is a lot of debate in the farming community on the price tag of claiming organic, but the basic answer is that all of our growers meet those standards, whether they’re certified or not. We do not allow pesticides and harmful chemicals to be used on our crops and as a result, we can promise a cleaner product for our customer and a lower impact on the environment. Our curated group of growers allows us to know the operations and methods used by each and it informs whether we make partnerships with them.
Do you have any favorite flowers you love to work with?
I have a wide range of favorites — it very much depends on the time of year since our ingredients change so often. One of the most beautiful parts of this job is to watch the evolution of our bouquets throughout the months and the connection to what is taking place outside. Right now, my favorite element to work with is flowering kale — it’s a staple of ours in the winter months and creates incredible impact in our arrangements.
What should someone looking to have a bouquet made know in advance? Can you incorporate any personal details?
We aren’t restricted by the usual bottlenecks in brick and mortar flower operations and we have more insight into and control of our product than online couriers who are just sending customers to contracted flower shops. We can work with very little heads up, which allows for some amazing pop-up weddings and events where we can materialize what they’re hoping for in just a day or two, with what is fresh and local. When we work in weddings, we love to add elements that are personal to the couple — it’s that kind of custom thoughtfulness that hits the spirit of what flowers are all about — gratitude and love.
A lot of De Nueva couples are eloping, and it’s just them! Is it ok if they just want simple bouquet or boutonniere rather than a whole slew of wedding arrangements?
That’s exactly what we specialize in. The wedding industry can be overwhelming, with standards of long lead time and thick margins. We allow our couples to pick a la carte off a simple menu of gorgeous blooms — they can do a single bouquet or an entire wedding party and reception, with no more than a week’s notice needed on our end. Everything we use is harvested fresh daily, so as long as our couples understand the seasonality of our operation, the rest is limitless.
Thanks so much Kate! I’m so excited to see more of your gorgeous arrangements this year!