Story by Peter Worden
Need a mini getaway this pandemic? A new two-in-one flower-and-jewelry shop could be just the ticket.
A NATURAL ARRANGEMENT
Their shared retail space is divided in the middle by a ¾-height wall. On one side: blooming bouquets and luscious greenery. On the other: handmade jewelry of white gold, rose gold and silver forms of hummingbird skulls, cicada wings, feathers, grasses and hemlock cones.
Pavlik dons dangly pomegranate earrings and a spanky sapphire ring made by Cadegan, and Cadegan’s showroom is adorned with Pavlik’s expert selection of potted plants and dried flowers. In short, they’re a match made in small business heaven.
Cadegan points overhead: ”You can only have a flower cloud like that if you’re neighbours with a florist — or a Kardashian.”
FROM FLOWERS TO FRIENDS
When Pavlik bought the florist shop in 2016, Cadegan — a silversmith by trade and “local plant junkie” — would stop by to source new plants and seed pods to cast into intricate metalwork.
They traded plants, teamed up for photoshoots, and soon a natural-born friendship blossomed into a business proposition.
“Before we moved in together, there was a courting period,” jokes Cadegan about her and Pavlik’s decision to take the relationship to the next level. “It just kind of happened,” says Pavlik, adding “we knew we could be great together.”
The result is a shared space not only aesthetically brilliant but commercially brilliant, too.
Splitting rent cuts their overhead. Since small-town florists aren’t generally huge revenue generators, explains Pavlik, in this day and age, they’re often located off the main drag. If she wanted to stay on Mackenzie Avenue it meant reducing her square footage.
ONE-STOP RELATIONSHIP SHOP
Flowers and jewelry side-by-side seemed like a no-brainer.
“We share a tremendous amount of clientele,” Pavlik says. Each independent small business complements the other. Customers come to buy a house plant but take time to peruse jewelry, or the other way around.
For Valentine’s Day, the two promoted a special offering as well as for birthdays and anniversary packages — afterall, who can go wrong with earrings and a bouquet of flowers?
“I’ve had a lot of men sent in here with clear instructions,” says Cadegan, not kidding.
While other Revelstoke business-combos have traded space seasonally or provided an outlet for hobbyist retailers, this novel arrangement seems particularly well suited.
“It’s not just jewelry, it’s my style of jewelry that is a good fit,” says Cadegan whose botanically based designs mesh perfectly next-door to the local florist.
A HELPING HAND
A third hand was at-play in this two-business success story: Community Futures.
Pavlik and Cadegan both used (and highly recommend) the self-employment program — a master class for local small business owners. It offers face-to-face full-service support, workshops and accounting programs to help them navigate the risks and pitfalls of small businesses in their precarious first year.
For Pavlik, the program helped loan her money to buy the flower shop. It’s nerve-wracking, she says, like being left on a dinghy out at sea. On her first Valentine’s Day as a florist she had a minor freak-out after ordering $10,000 in roses only to discover people buy roses at the very last-minute.
While both have now been in business for years, it was the pandemic that drew them together.
In a normal year, Cadegan would have been on the road, setting up shop at scores of farmers markets, jewelry shows, and ‘literally every’ folk fest, she says, from Vancouver to Nova Scotia.
“Now there are no shows, and there aren’t going to be any shows.” With public events 86’d for the foreseeable future (it was exhausting, anyway) it was a good time to settle down.
For Pavlik, business had always been marked by seasonal highs — Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas — and lows pretty well every other time of year. The pandemic-induced economic recession was extra-slow. She closed to the public from March to July 2020.
A few short weeks later, they decided to make things official.
It turns out people buy flowers and jewelry during a pandemic.
Both Pavlik and Cadegan have been pleasantly surprised with a slight surge of traffic, “all things considered” and note how the pandemic has changed local consumer behaviour.
For one, people seemed to seek tropical plants in lieu of tropical vacations. They also treated themselves to bouquets and other ‘why not’ purchases typically reserved for special occasions.
Budgets changed. People spent less going out on the town and travelling abroad. They opted for more “intentional spending” says Cadegan, buying locally-minded or Canadian handmade goods—not Amazon.
Pavlik noticed the pandemic increased local green thumbs. Perhaps as a way to beat doldrums more hobby gardens sprouted up. She capitalized on soil and growing supplies and pivoted to selling more heirloom seeds. She now curates a full stock of West Coast Seeds.
They also appreciate that people take the evolving Covid rules seriously, knowing a more severe shutdown could cripple small businesses in the community.
A TALE OF TWO SMALL BUSINESSES
Of course it wasn’t all roses; both faced their share of challenges.
Pavlik dealt with a significant supply backlog of cut flowers and tropical plants as almost all are started in the US (Florida, usually) and finished in greenhouses in Canada. When the market rebounded she had to pay higher prices as a result of increases in shift-harvesting.
Cadegan had a backlog of custom orders to sustain her through slower periods, but noted comically long shipping times to customers across Canada, the U.S., Europe and Australia.
“It’s like, ‘Are you still checking that tracking number? Stop. It’s in God’s hands now,” she said.”I know it says four-day guaranteed delivery but you’ll be lucky to get in three weeks. I can’t do anything about it.”
She simply recommends a lot of patience and a little creativity, emailing a picture of an item with a heartfelt note that you supported Canadian-made and the gift will arrive … eventually.
RETURN TO BUSINESS AS USUAL-ISH
Without the extra boost of luxury ski lodges ordering elaborate bouquets for their guests, and all weddings cancelled, 2020/21 has been kind of a crappy time to be a florist, Pavlik admits.
“It’ll be nice to be able to plan a proper wedding again,” she says. Wedding sales normally account for about 30 percent of total business. However, with Revelstoke quickly becoming a wedding destination she has lots to look forward to.
So does Cadegan who will team up with Pavlik for group wreath- and flower crown-making workshops, and custom photography sessions.
What else is in store—maybe another store?
The duo has no plans to triple-divide their retail space, however, bringing a chocolatier to the mix is tempting, says Cadegan, adding on second thought, maybe not: “It’s hard enough being right across from the Modern.”