CINCINNATI – Friends Kelly Murphy and Kelly Dragoo were looking for a fresh start when they started their business, Eden Floral Boutique, almost a decade ago.
These days, it's a flourished urban gem in Over-the-Rhine.
The Boutique has occupied its corner slice of Walnut Street – cattycorner from bars Below Zero and Lachey's – for eight years now. But only for the last 12 months has retail become a focus. Finally, foot traffic demands it. And for that, we're thankful.
"We waited for the neighborhood to catch up," Dragoo said. "I think our location, being a through street from Main to Vine, a lot of people walk this way now, and a lot more people are out lunching.
"When we noticed how long the line at the Gomez (Salsa) window was," she added, "I thought, 'Well, if they're standing there, they could certainly make their way to us."
It was a risk, Murphy added.
"But we loved the space, and it was exactly what we wanted – a New York, SoHo kind of feel," Murphy said. "It's really worked out well."
If you do make your way to Eden, we've compiled a list of three things you should know:
1. You don't have to have a green thumb to shop here.
In fact, quite the opposite. Just snap a photo of your space, and the Kellys promise to match a plant to you. They claim a high success rate.
"We really try to educate all our customers on light and water," Dragoo said. "If you're unable to keep a plant alive, we probably have four or five we can pair you with."
2. Weddings and events are still their bread and butter – it accounts for roughly 75 percent of their business, and it's all done custom. But the shop is a literal paradise.
Think pretty pots, floral scents and succulents galore.
Dragoo and Murphy say they keep a constant eye on their competition to make sure the lines they carry are unique. There's local finds, too, like handmade market totes from Northside's The Northern Market. Expect "more than your average fern," Dragoo said. And there's lots of options $25 and below.
"We're always bringing in things that are more unusual," she said. "We try really hard to differentiate ourselves, so you don’t feel like you're walking into the same thing as next door."
3. They had us at bouquet bar, which is exactly as it sounds.
A span of fresh flowers is set out daily, and everything is priced per stem – roughly $3-$4 each. It's DIY, or staff members can help you craft something custom. The selection rotates seasonally.
"People can buy one or two things, or they can come in and say, 'I like this flower, tell me what goes with it. I can spend $20, or I can spend $75,'" Dragoo said. "We help them, we mix in greens, we hand tie them. We're really trying to bring back that European feel, where people walk in and take flowers home in a bouquet."
And, yes, people still buy flowers – and plants – for their desks and for home. Both Murphy and Dragoo say it's a major trend right now in decor. The '70s are back.
"I was talking to our wholesaler the other day, and I asked him, 'Have you ever seen a boom like this with plants?' He said not since the 70s," Murphy said.
"Everybody wants that whimsical feel, bohemian, and corals with pops of greens," Dragoo added. "People are even asking for head wreaths, flower crowns to wear out on a Saturday. And people are definitely bringing plants back into their decor. It's in all the magazines: West Elm, Anthropologie. It's making a comeback."
Which is certainly good for them. While there's no plans for world domination, the ladies at Eden are well poised for future growth.
"I truly love going to work every day," Dragoo said. "We're making pretty things. How bad could it be? Even when you're just out doing deliveries, everybody's happy. And who knows? Maybe we'll even open another store someday."
We, for one, can only hope.