The shop has been busy. Really busy.
I hired much needed help, a young, fun kiddo who is an artist and sees the world with an artist’s eye. We have been selling plants over plants and our flower sales increased decidedly from the year before. This of course was the goal when 2020 opened. I had “making a profit” on my New Year’s Resolutions short list. That may sound obvious, but profit is not something that comes to every new business in their first year and neither is it guaranteed in the second. So I put it on my list. If I ever have time to crunch the numbers, I reckon I’ll find I got pretty darn close to meeting my goal. And yet the year has certainly taken its toll.
My vision for Cedarhouse 2020 was of a cozy, active, bustling little shop serving guests who are looking for something personal and particular. There has always been joy there for me – I love to visit with customers until we decide on “THE” plant or “THE” ceramic pot or “THE” perfect bloom.
Every customer exchange is a micro journey.
There is a beginning, a middle and an end – we meet, the plot develops, and then we conclude. The plot is the interesting part; a first-time homeowner wants to brighten the corner of a surprisingly dark room. Another customer wants to say thank you to a dear friend who picked up her child in the pouring rain and delivered him safely, sticky with a lollipop. One customer is meeting his wife at the airport after being separated for 6 months while she finished her PhD. And then off we go in pursuit of the perfect ending exchanging scraps of details, like clues on a treasure map. I hear a lot of stories and I share a lot of stories. I love that about my job.
I don’t know if it’s in the telling or in the hearing, but our stories have gotten heavy this year. Not unequivocally and not without moments of levity. But the world around us has grown harder.
I know that flower design is not a fine art but when I do design, I try to channel the story that has been given to me. Some of my florist friends use to mock me, but I love designing to the story – to what my customer confides over the phone or in the “special instructions” window of our online shop. The wedding story, the love story, the get well soon story; and this year the many, stay strong, keep your head up stories. I keep it in my heart for a few choice moments while I design and I think I can see that story, just a little bit, in my finished work.
A Uniquely Challenging Year
The stories from this year have challenged us all. We are walking around with the weight of George Floyd’s death and Black Lives Matter, the election and then our democracy under siege, financial insecurity and of course the Corona Virus which has bumped the entire globe off its axis. And then our personal narratives. Staying present and helpful has been the challenge.
I am grateful that Cedarhouse has become that “bustling little shop” but the heavier and harder stories have left their mark.
We are sending a lot more sympathy arrangements, more get wells and more “she’s struggling right now” arrangements. At Cedarhouse we feel the heaviness of every story; but we also recognize that we get to play a small part in the reconnection, the loving and the caring. I’m not delusional, I know we’re not performing brain surgery or saving lives, but we do get to deliver gestures of love, good intention and well wishes. We get to deliver the message of hope, the “feel better soon,” the “thinking of you,” and the “with all my love”. We get to be a part of that – day in and day out on repeat.
I don’t feel how I imagined I would feel after a busy 2020 – I still get down sometimes. But I have been given the gift of hundreds of beautiful little micro stories which shine bright and offer hope.