So Saturday was my first Toronto Flower Market, and I really want to tell you about it.
Two words come to mind: intense and incredible. Thank you to everyone who came out and made the whole market such a success! A bunch of vendors sold out - I know I was down to my last bouquet by 1pm! It's a good thing I physically couldn't have made or stored more, else I would have been mad.
I think my favourite thing about the market was how I got to give many people their first experience of scented geraniums. Strawberry, apricot, and chocolate mint, yes please! I love how people put their heads together and leaned in to sniff - then looked up with delight when they'd caught the scent. It never got old. "How did you DO that?!" was a common refrain. It wasn't me, I swear! I really wish I'd caught one of these exchanges on camera. I'll have to make do with my mental snapshots.
My other favourite thing was when my family and friends - some of whom I hadn't seen in years - came to visit me. I felt so loved! My only regret is that I didn't get a chance to visit any of the other vendors. I was suffering from a major case of tunnel vision.
The hours passed in a flash. Sometimes I'd look up and there would be a wall of people in front of us where there had been none just the moment before. Truthfully, I often feel very shy, and there's no doubt I'm an introvert who likes to spend lots of time alone. But when I'm facing happy strangers and I've got flowers to show off, then I sure do relish a performance. I think it's my Cancer-Leo cusp showing.
When it was all over, I was giddy with relief and fatigue, feelings which were quickly supplanted by weepy gratitude, for all the help and encouragement I've been so privileged to receive. Hey, while I've got your eyeballs here for another moment I'm going to take the opportunity to name a few very important people.
Sas of Floralora Flowers, who gave me my first taste of flower farming last spring and who continues to be an inspiration and great support. Also, as far as I'm concerned, she is the Tulip Queen of the world, and she supplied me with gorgeous blooms when I ran out of my own.
My parents, who mostly took it in stride when I told them I was going to start a flower business, and who I know just want me to be happy and healthy and safe.
My husby, who routinely gives up his days off to help me dig soil and transport fridges, and who indulges my dreams and generally takes good care of me (of course, I take care of him too).
And perhaps most of all, my sister-in-law who said yes without a second thought when I asked her to help me sell bouquets and plants alllll day long. She memorized every selling point and morsel of plant info I gave her. She is such a pro salesman, and a very, very good Unni indeed. When I think about it, I suppose many sisters are game for at least one flowery labour of love, but I don't think I will ask her to do it again. It was a lot. So now watch me pamper her real good.
I'm also realizing that even though I was able to pump out several dozen wrapped bouquets all by myself (super proud; also thank you roster of podcasts and entire seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix), I'm going to need even more help soon. Cuz I heard my business is supposed to be "sustainable" or something. The only alternative is that I keep trying to do everything myself, turn into a flower supernova, and flame out in a big burst of colour and fragrance. Just imagine, nothing left of me but a slow-mo shower of singed petal confetti and smoke.
Actually, that sounds like it would be worth seeing.
Okay I'll do my best to avoid it.
So... that was the only Toronto Flower Market I signed up for in advance. As this is my first season I didn't want to commit to more before I'd been tested, but man, I hope I'm able to go to market again. It was fun! And very stressful. But at least now I have my set up ready to go. I even dyed my own tablecloths and display drapes! The resist effect wasn't a complete success, but I guess it's nice to remember that time I spent an entire afternoon crawling around my kitchen floor, writing out Posy Gang over and over again on a bedsheet with white glue, haha.
Epilogue: I'd planned to take off all of Sunday, but it didn't happen. Tulips wait for nobody! And I made my mama flowers for Mother's Day. I mean, I worked, but it was pleasant, so I guess it was okay.
What's next? Back to seeding, planting, and waiting for the last frost so I can plant out my dahlias and tomatoes. Looking forward to the fruits of those labours! And wedding planning of course - bring it on. Till next time, dears!
I am Allison, intrepid leader of Posy Gang. Let's have a conversation about flowers and weddings and small business and everything else! I'll start with my thoughts...