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Popular Heights Flower Truck Opens a New Permanent Store

A New Type of Florist Takes Off With Picked Flower Power

BY // 06.21.19

It’s a gorgeous day here in Houston, and Picked Flower Co. is in full bloom. When I walk into the sweet-smelling pastel storefront on 15  and ½ street, the Flower Bar is brimming with a sea of snapdragons, lots of lilies and sprays of mums.

Owner Chloe Stagner and business partner Regan Barwick are at the ready, just as eager to give me guidance as they are to give me space.

The bar is an explosion of color, the flowers and greenery before me all priced between $1 and $4, with the cost labeled on the charming aluminum bucket. The fluffy peonies would have set me back a little more, at $8 — still a steal.

I’m a little hesitant, and Barwick offers to take a step back — she knows novices can sometimes feel self-conscious in the presence of full-on florists. I timidly reach for my favorite flower, which I feel is a bold choice — a snapdragon exploding with petals.

It’s a great starting point, she assures me. Stagner chimes in that if I’m a fan of snapdragons, I’m sure to love stock flowers, a similar variety they often have in-shop.

That’s just a small tidbit of the trivia they share. As I reach for greenery and hover over the baby’s breath, they give suggestions on what to pair my snapdragon with — blush carnations, if I’m considering a pastel look, deep purple mums if I want something more tropical.

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Each week, the Flower Bar is arranged very intentionally with 20 to 30 types of flora, including greenery and filler. Barwick and Stagner carefully select an array of colors that all complement one another, so there’s no way you can go wrong.

I can choose as many stems as I like, and I do, as they tell me why tulips tend to droop, that Barwick is a more “English garden” style arranger, with an inclination toward tighter, more traditional bouquets, while Stagner skews more “wildflower,” with a head for looser arrangements.

I hand Barwick my assortment and she arranges them briefly in her hand to show me a preview. She then heads to one of the broad tables in the back and lays them out stem by stem. It’s time for the real arranging to begin.

As much as I want to keep this bouquet for myself, it’s destined for my mom’s kitchen. Apparently, arriving with it will be every bit as rewarding.

“It’s always fun to be the person when you walk in the room and everyone goes ‘Ooh’ and throws their arms in the air and gasps at what you’re holding. It’s like yes, what a warm reception,” Barwick tells PaperCity. “You can’t go wrong walking into a room with flowers.”

It’s those small moments that add up.

“Everything we do, we make moments,” Stagner says. “Even if it’s just a bouquet for a friendship or flowers for someone’s wedding. It’s the best day of their life, and we get to be part of it. It’s just so rewarding every time you get to be a part of someone’s special moment.”

“It’s really just a gift. People tell us about the people they love, why they love them, why they want to celebrate them. The flowers they think remind them of that person, what they want that person to feel when they see the bouquet. We get to just see and feel all the love they have for that person,” Barwick notes.

Long before Picked Flower Co. became a brick-and-mortar botanist’s dream, it was a sleek converted food truck posted up outside of Heights Biergarten, just a few minutes from where the store now sits.

The Picked Flower Co. truck began life as part of a Fed-Ex fleet. Stagner’s stepfather, previously in the Navy, took on revamping food trucks and RVs in the flower savant’s native New Mexico.

In mid-2017, about half a year before Picked Flower Co. launched, Stagner drove the freshly painted truck all the way from the Land of Enchantment to the Lone Star State. The Fed-Ex truck had a throttle on it, so she couldn’t drive more than 60 miles per hour, and the typically 10 to 12 hour trip took 16 hours of her time.

It was worth every minute.

The Bloom

Picked Flower Co. racked up a healthy social media following immediately thanks to its Flower Bar. Fast forward to this month, and the opening of the permanent storefront, which gives them more space than ever. But don’t worry, even though the truck is taking a summertime heat hiatus, it will be back in time for fall, and again in spring.

“The truck will probably go to new markets, too. I would really like to go out more into the suburbs like Sugar Land, Katy, The Woodlands,” Stagner says. “We have a really strong following out there, and it’s kind of hard for the people to get out here.”

But she wouldn’t trade their storefront location for anything. “I knew I wanted to focus on The Heights. It’s just such a good community for a business to start in. Everyone is very Heights-loyal. There aren’t too many neighborhoods in Houston that are going to come out and support neighborhood-based businesses,” she adds.

There’s more opportunity than ever for them to arrange their flowers from the world over, like Holland, Central America, California and even local farms, specifically for radiant sunflowers.

Every week, customers pore through the dozens of flowers at their fingertips. The world is definitely their oyster, but there’s a literal perennial favorite — to start.

“The world is peony crazy,” Barwick says. “People love, love, love, love, love peonies. A lot of people aren’t even super familiar with them, but they’ve seen them online. It’s understandable, they’re so fluffy and gorgeous and beautiful.

“But we also do bring people to the flower bar and show them all the flowers as well, and they usually end up realizing there are other flowers they love even more that they never knew existed. ‘Oh I love these peonies,’ and I say ‘those are actually ranunculas, they’re easier to find and cheaper.’

“We try to get a lot of different flowers in here so people can really experience a full variety. Our goal is always to show people something they’ve never seen.”

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Who doesn’t love a flower crown?

It’s all about discovery, whether that means a trip to Picked Flower Co.’s stylish website, searching through the subscription services, which include flower deliveries on Thursday afternoons on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly schedule.

You can choose between the three arrangement sizes, the Petite for $35, the Classique for $55 or the Grande for $75. The curated, hand-picked arrangements change with every delivery, which is complimentary and possible for places within 10 miles of Picked Flower’s studio.

Or treating your eyes to the pages of pre-designed bouquets and arrangements in all colors, shapes and sizes. Tulips, garden roses, daisies and beyond.

Custom orders are what really get Barwick and Stagner’s creativity going, though. That could look like a customer coming in with a list of shades and blossoms they like so that the dynamic duo can craft exactly what’s desired. Bringing in photos for examples is definitely a plus.

Or, that could mean customers coming in and perusing the Flower Bar themselves.

“The Flower Bar is a very interactive experience. And it’s crazy, we have people come in all weekend long, and no bouquet that leaves looks the same as another. People really put their personal touch on it. It’s really amazing to see what they do. We let you do whatever you feel is right,” Barwick notes.

You can even enjoy the Flower Bar in an intimate setting.

“We do private Flower Bars, they’re great for a little bigger of a party where your guests can take home a nice bouquet,” Stagner says. “It’s completely customizable. Whoever is planning a birthday party can pick out whatever arrangement they want to do, design it themselves with their favorite flowers and we do arrangements based on that design.”

Flower 101

There are also workshops held at the store, and private workshops are also on tap that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home. Flower Arranging 101, at $85, is the most popular, an introduction into all things flowers — how to pick ones out for a specific vase, what to look for, how to take care of them, how to make sure they last for a long time.

The Flower Crown Workshop, at $65, can take a bachelorette party to the next level. The ethereal accessories can be done in an hour and a half, a personal touch for a night on the town.

The Wearables Workshop, at $85, teaches you how to craft those flower crowns, plus corsages and boutonnieres for special occasions.

Every workshop ticket includes all flowers and supplies, your creation to take home, sweet treats and even bottomless mimosas.

Picked Flower Co. thrives on feedback. “We love to hear what people want to learn. A lot of our workshops have been driven by what our customers have asked us. A lot of people have been saying lately that floral collars for their dogs — that would be a really fun one,” Stagner laughs.

Barwick is packing up my bouquet, carefully arranging it in their signature Picked Flower Co. cones, a far sight prettier than the bunching clear plastic you’ll find at grocery stores and other places.

Stagner takes a step back, assessing.

“You should finish it up,” Barwick says, laughing. Like Stagner, I’m after that ultra natural, organic feel, with the flowers almost pouring out of the bouquet.

With a patient flourish, the deed is done. The bouquet is vibrant, all subtle shifts in deep pink tones, with greenery weaving its way in and out as though it actually grew that way.

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