“I’ve been visually motivated since childhood, it’s how I communicate, learn and thrive,” explains Heather. “Attention to detail is key when you’re a floral designer.”
Her early passion for floral design took Heather to Europe in the mid-1990s for an apprenticeship that led to several years abroad developing and perfecting her skills. When she made the decision to open her own shop in Vancouver, nostalgia for time spent in the UK drew her to Gastown, where the Victorian architecture reflected her European roots in the industry.
Heather’s desire to use fresh cut blooms has resulted in a daily ritual that’s often the source of inspiration for her latest creation.
“I wake up early throughout the week and head to the flower auction to buy from local growers,” Heather explains. “I’m always on the hunt for unusual eye candy, things that catch your attention.”
In the business of bringing a client’s vision to reality, Heather takes their ideas and applies them an ever-changing array of blooms available at the auction. She sees the annual seasonality of flowers as a blessing that brings variety and challenge to her work.
But it’s not just about the flowers. Heather takes time to select the perfect vessel for every bouquet.
“I love using keepsake vases in my arrangements, or novelty pieces that are easy to come by,” she explains. “Anything from an old recycled coffee can to a white modern glass vase with vintage finishes can be the inspiration for the arrangement that goes within it – the sky’s the limit and the more custom it is, the better!”
And with every piece, there’s an opportunity to honour an ‘old school’ way of thinking that modern society has lost touch with.
“My father was born in 1925 and having lived through wartime, he had a different set of values that certainly shaped me growing up,” she notes. “I use recycled containers wherever I can and do my best to utilize the plastic and paper products involved in transporting the flowers from auction in my shop.”
Heathers the Flowershop has been a great addition to Gastown, working closely with area businesses and building strong community connections through sponsorship and giving. She regularly donates pieces to charitable causes, including the Atira Women’s Resource Society and Cops for Cancer, and gets involved with local events and openings.
“My shop was the official floral sponsor of July’s Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix for the third year in a row, which is always exciting,” she notes. “We provided the podium bouquets for winning athletes and the floral accents for the VIP tent, including a decorative showpiece on the Penny-Farthing Bike that Global Relay had hanging from the ceiling.”
In early August, the shop created an exceptional array of bouquets for the brand launch of Kit and Ace, currently located at 151 Water Street with planned national expansion in the near future. Her custom white and chartreuse arrangements were the perfect addition to the gala in-store event.
The showpiece of the evening was a modern take on a standard wreath, shaped to match the brand’s logo. Suspended at the far end of the space, it served as stunning backdrop to the evening celebration.
Summer months are busy ones in the floral world, with wedding season in full swing. But regular trips to the auction keep Heather on top of an ever-changing schedule.
“Twenty-four hours notice is usually enough, as we have fresh florals coming in daily,” Heather shares. “However, when it comes to specific events and wedding work, as much notice as possible is appreciated.”
Weeks or even months of lead-time allow Heather to determine what flowers might be available and then create a one-of-a-kind design that incorporates the best local products. For Heather, it’s not necessarily about the latest colours, it’s a focus on great service and floral innovation.
“To be honest, I probably live with my head in the sand as far as trends go,” she notes. “I believe in timeless beauty when it comes to flower arrangements, and really focus on making the most out of the blooms I get my hands on.”
After all, for Heather, it’s very much about doing business close to home.
“We are so fortunate to have growers here on the West Coast,” Heather concludes. “Buying local allows me to keep every dollar in the community and help it flourish – it’s a way of thinking that comes naturally to me and allows me to take pride in the work that I do.”