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Talking Flowers with Denise Porcaro of Flower Girl

Written by The Strategy

Spring has sprung, and with it, the idea of flowers blooming and life starting anew. What better way to celebrate than with a fresh bouquet from New York’s favourite florist, Flower Girl. The florist has been around for 15, count it, 15, years and has become a favourite amongst the fashion crew and downtown girls alike. We stopped by Flower Girl to get the lowdown on the shop from non-other than the woman who started it all, Denise Porcaro.

flower girl

What is Flower Girl?

Flower Girl is a company I began over 15 years ago. It’s a small boutique flower company in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. We do everything from one-off deliveries around town to huge elaborate events and weddings. It’s a little bit of everything. We also have a hard goods world that was created, basically flower candles, chocolate, soaps, lighters. We didn’t want it to be just flowers. With the reach of Instagram, we wound up with a lot of followers and fans from all over, so when they visit New York, I want them to be able to bring something home that’s not just fresh flowers, and we ship.

Who is the Flower Girl customer?

The Flower Girl customer is kind of vast, I think. In New York, we have a ton of fashion and high-end clients. Then we have the chic downtown girl who’s looking for something that’s seasonal, beautiful, and feminine but also has a distinct edge and is something a little bit different from the norm.

What made you start Flower Girl?

Flower Girl was born because I went to school for film. I studied communications with a concentration in film and broadcasting. I went into more the film route and that turned into a production design concentration. So that was kind of where I thought I was going to land.  I did a little bit of that in college, but I had my hands in a whole bunch of different things. Because it was film, I was paying the bills with a restaurant job. One thing led to another and I was doing flowers for one of the restaurants that I worked for, and I loved it. So, that led to me working under a woman who was doing flowers for another restaurant group that I had worked for early in college. One thing kind of led to another and I wound up in the flower business.

Was it hard to transition into floristry?

It wasn’t necessarily hard to transition. I think if I was doing it now, 15 years later, I would be a little more cautious. I think there was something really wonderful about being naive and open in my mid-to-late twenties. If anything, it was more difficult because of my personality. I was trying to be loyal to what I went to school for. Right out of college, I very much wanted to pursue my film career, so there was a moment where I tried to do both. My boyfriend at the time was like, ‘you can’t be the person who’s going to do both really well’, so there was a bit of inner struggle. But it wasn’t necessarily hard, in that I was quite open, and I was open to learn and I figured it out as I went along.

Do you have any tips for keeping flowers alive for more than 2 days?

Flowers shouldn’t be alive for only 2 days. The source may be the issue there, if you’re having flowers last only 2 days. If you buy flowers from Flower Girl, unless it’s an older batch that we are trying to push out (which we would let you know about in advance and sell at a discounted rate), all of our flowers are super fresh and I only buy enough to push out for a few days, and then keep it going. Flowers should really last you 5 days to a week. So the first part is making sure you’re getting them from a reputable source. Always make sure they’re submerged in water. Plants you need to put a little bit of water, but flowers should be submerged at all times. It’s best with an arrangement to just fill it to the brim. The other thing is no direct heat or air. It doesn’t necessarily have to be put in a cool place or directly in the sun. Lastly, change your water every two days. Spilling out the water and filling it with fresh water, because there is a bacteria that builds up, and give it a fresh cut.

With Spring coming up, do you have nay flowers you like to give and receive?

As far as what we stock in the store, we stay quite seasonal – the things that are going to be around for a certain period of time. In the Spring, I would focus on giving flowers specific to Spring: Lilac, peonies, daffodils, fragrant blooms, which are bright and cheery.

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