It has been a year! We hope this post finds you well, healthy and hanging in there for one more week! These coffee dates took place more on a monthly basis in 2019, but the fact that it’s taken us until December this year honestly just seems to fit in perfectly with the theme of 2020! Despite the challenges of the year, we’ve actually had a lot of fun with our side business and have managed to make this year better than the previous one so we wanted to make sure we checked in and shared some updates!
Ah, the good ole days…when we were able to meet up at a coffee shop, mask free, and sip lattes while snacking on the most delicious baked goods and placing our order for seeds we’d plant later in the year. When we plan out our seed orders we factor in success the previous year (cosmos and zinnias), trends and new flowers to try (purple amaranth is so fun), color palettes (which we may have to replicate again next year) and filler (which we like to call a work in progress!).
Coffee Shop: Fox in the Snow in German Village (downtown Columbus) Highly recommend their lattes, New Orleans iced coffee and fruit pastry of the season!
Timing: First week of March, always order seeds in advance! In fact, maybe even a bit more advance than this 🙂 These were seeds we would plant in May for our summer blooms!
Seed Company: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, where we also ordered our seeds from last year! We’ve been really happy with seed prices, selection and shipping from Johnny’s, but are definitely always still looking at other options too, like rareseeds.com and even local garden centers!
The Random Stuff: We tried the new restaurant that opened up in our small little town (Ghostwriter in Johnstown, OH) and it’s absolutely delightful! You cannot go wrong with their deviled eggs, wood grilled salmon, crispy chicken sandwich or any cocktail! They also change their menu seasonally! And then of course the start of a pandemic. The good news was that gardening was the perfect thing to do during stay at home orders and social distancing to relax and focus on something else!
The 2020 flower season got off to a bit of a rocky start…and we’re not referring to the start of a pandemic. Our tulips popped out of the ground as expected in March and shortly after the flood of 1985 hit. At least that’s what Kryn called it anyway 🙂 All jokes aside though, we woke up to a small lake outside our window on March 20th and our baby tulips were completely under water all day. They finally started to poke out of the water the next day (Saturday) and that night it decided to freeze. They went from completely submerged on Friday, to recovering on Saturday and then to frozen on Sunday. Let’s give you some visuals for reference…
Yes. That really is ice in the last photo, not saran wrap 🙂 We definitely think the extreme weather impacted some of our tulips that never grew to their full potential, but we were also pretty amazed at the several that made it through these conditions and went on to bloom and create beautiful bouquets! With the start of the pandemic in the spring, we weren’t able to sell our tulips at the local shops and markets and focused a little more on our website as a result and added the option for delivery or farm pickup for our tulips! FYI, if you order a candle from Magnolia Market the box will work perfectly to transport one flower bouquet…which may or may not have been a way to validate a candle purchase a time or two!
Tulip Varieties: From Johnny’s Selected Seeds…Beauty of Spring (ivory/ orange), Blue Diamond (deep purple), Marie Jo (yellow) and Design Impression (pink). We also tried including some filler like stock seed and Persian Cress, but it seems those are still a work in progress for us 🙂
Timing: Our tulip bulbs were planted in mid-October and started to pop up for Spring in mid-March. We harvested our first blooms in mid-April to officially kickoff the flower season!
Bouquet Sales: We used a collection of mason jars for our bouquets and ordered a stamp from Etsy to create little cards that we attached with twine and mini clothespins. We also gave customers two options, with or without a vase; our bouquets without a vase were wrapped in kraft paper!
The Random Stuff: As you can imagine, it was a quiet few months for the random stuff as we quarantined and limited our outings! Peloton was a great discovery during this time though, would highly recommend if you’re looking for a fun workout routine at home! You don’t need the bike either; they have so many workouts outside of riding that require minimal equipment! Bonus; 30 day free trial when you sign up for the app so you have time to decide if you’re into it or not!
Summer flowers start with planting hundreds of very tiny seeds. We did get a bit more intentional about planting this year though and even made a template with a little help from Kryn’s husband. Our wooden template had six rows with ten circles in each row that were one inch apart each. We secured garden fabric in our flower beds, laid the wooden template flat on top of the fabric and then carefully used a torch to burn through each hole which would then be where we’d plant each seed. It was actually kind of fun and no one got injured during the process and no wood caught on fire! The only thing we’ll plan to do differently next year is upgrade to a heavier fabric or try a different approach for weed control, because the weeds were out of control this year, y’all. We tried to hire some help (bribing family mostly) but I guess our pay wasn’t good enough! Perhaps we’ll invest in some sort of weed pulling contraption for next season. We’re also kicking around the idea of laying down newspaper in the flower beds and covering the newspaper with straw so we’re collecting newspapers in the meantime if we decide to go that route.
We also got back into the coffee business over the Summer and really put some thought into our next partnership and how to best pair coffee with our flowers. We decided to work with SilverBridge Coffee Co. They have quite the variety of flavored coffee which really drew us in initially; it’s such a fun way to play on words and make themed coffee and flower gifts. Some of our favorites are their Tropical Delight (coconut, vanilla & kahlua) paired with our lilies, their chocolate caramel with our roses, their southern pecan or pumpkin spice with our fall colored sunflowers and their snow angel (coconut, vanilla & hazelnut) with our fresh pine wreaths. We also love their 614 blend (medium, house blend) and love pairing that with any flowers for a shop local theme! We’ll likely add some sticky bun coffee to our inventory in the spring to pair with our tulips…a little Sunday morning of fresh flowers and coffee vibe!
Flower Bouquets: We’re thinking of doing another post to wrap up the year that’s just a photo blog post so we can share all of the bouquets we made and some snapshots of our little farm! We really fell in love with our color palette this year. The purple pom pom cosmos were one of our favorite new flowers this year along with the salmon colored zinnias. Those two flower types never let us down! The purple amaranth also worked really well in bouquets and added a really fun and unique filler! Thank goodness we planted those somewhat far apart because they grew to be over 5 feet tall!! That little hydrangea came from Kryn’s house; we had a few dahlias growing there too; they are such showstoppers. Bouquet making is starting to improve and really just takes practice. We also found it’s really helpful to take a photo of the bouquet during the process and then go back and tweak from there. For example, in this one pictured to the left we could have used one to two more small flowers to the right of the hydrangea to even it out a bit more. Just picture two more purple pom pom cosmos on the right to match the left 🙂
Coffee: Coffee from a sales perspective really started in late summer/early fall which is why the first photo we have of our packaged coffee includes pumpkins 🙂 But the summer was a really fun start to the addition of coffee to our inventory because it began with sampling! Silver Bridge was quite generous; they had a couple conference calls with us to answer all of our initial questions and followed up with sending us six or seven different coffee flavors to try before placing our first order! And honestly, we haven’t had a bad cup of coffee. All of their coffee is smooth and great quality and the flavors simply come down to preference. Oddly enough, the 614 blend turned out to be our favorite hands down. It’s just such a good medium blend and perfect for every day. Silver Bridge is great to work with from a packaging perspective too and allow us to customize since we prefer the look of kraft coffee bags! There’s just something about kraft paper we love. We ordered these bags from Amazon; they need heat sealed after being filled with coffee and that led us to discovering another use for flat irons/hair straighteners haha We place foil across the top of the bag, make sure all the air is out and then clamp the flat iron over the foil to seal the bag.
The Random Stuff: Our favorite local winery in Johnstown (Autumn Rush Vineyards) proved to be the perfect spot for a safe get together with a couple close friends during the Summer! We’ll share photos in the photo blog post, but they have an amazing patio where it’s easy to distance from others and they even implemented online ordering so you can place your order from your table and do a quick pickup inside when it’s ready. And a reminder, you can take your own snacks too which we love and which actually also worked out perfectly for the Covid world we’ve been living in this year. We had the obvious snacks….cheese, crackers, hummus, veggies and fruit! If you’re ever passing by in Ohio on a Friday or Saturday during the Summer, stop by!
Fall was actually really exciting for us as we started putting together our first themed gift boxes and then jumped into holiday work again. One great thing about doing this side business together, especially in a year like 2020, is that it makes us schedule time to get together and while it’s technically for business related work it always feels like time just hanging out with a really good friend. And in a year where it’s been easy to isolate, that’s been so important.
Our gift boxes were somewhat of a last minute idea after we decided to plant some extra sunflower seeds in late August because the colors would work so well for fall. Except you know what? It turns out we planted them just about two weeks too late mostly likely (only a few ended up blooming and during the growing process they had to be covered a few times to try to get through some early frosts) and for some reason all of the ones that bloomed were yellow….we didn’t get any of the pretty burnt orange or dark maroon colors that bloomed during the Summer haha They still worked for a couple boxes though and since our cosmos, purple amaranth and zinnias lasted so long we actually made bouquets with those flowers for most of our fall boxes and just tried to choose the most fitting colors. The other thing with our fall boxes is we were moving about a mile a minute with this idea so they evolved along the way and changed about three times 🙂 We’ll be planning out better for next year to make sure we have a finalized box before posting. The good news is, they got better each time!
Flowers: Our zinnias, cosmos and purple amaranth bloomed all the way up until October 17th when the frost officially ended the season so like we mentioned above, they made some really pretty bouquets for our fall boxes too. We also love adding boxwood to every bouquet, because it’s such a good filler that works well with just about any flower. Which is why four little boxwoods got planted in the spring to grow and add to the collection already at Kryn’s house! We had our few dahlias and roses that lasted through the entire summer too so we popped a couple of those in these bouquets included in the gift box as well. And since we were technically using summer flowers, we added some pumpkins from our favorite local markets to kick up the fall feel a bit! Next year we’ll definitely plant the actual fall colored sunflowers earlier in August to prep for Fall and will also plan to pick out some darker colored summer blooms to add in as well for that cozy fall feel. And about that cardboard box…the goal is to upgrade that to a cute wooden crate with different filler. So husbands….if you’re reading this, wink wink 😉 We’re hoping to “hire” them to build those crates!
Coffee: We placed our first order for flavored coffee in the fall to include in our gift boxes. We ordered pumpkin spice (naturally) and southern pecan. Spoiler, both are delicious! We had several bags of the pumpkin spice ordered individually even and given out as gifts, which is a great idea! Initially we just thought Kryn’s Aunt was in love with the pumpkin spice coffee with order after order haha We’ve always provided the option of ordering coffee separately once adding that to our little shop, because sometimes you just need the coffee and we totally get that! We also teamed up with another small local business to add in the fun coffee mugs you see in the photo of our gift box above! The girl who makes the mugs also volunteers with the same (dog) rescue group that we volunteer in (Cause for Canines) so in addition to having that connection we also donated a portion of our proceeds back to the rescue during the months of October, November and December! This was also one of our initial goals with this business – to give back to a cause we are passionate about and help in any way we can. We had two options for the mugs, the ‘Oh my Gourd, I love Fall’ pictured above and another one that was just black and white and said ‘Good Morning, Pumpkin’. Both so cute! And the company where you can order so many other designs is http://emimaedesigns.com.
The Random Stuff: To be honest, the fall was a busy season for us and between press and bloom and our full time jobs. At some point during this time Kryn did take in two new foster pups, Chips & Salsa, and those cuties are worth mentioning. They are a sweet bonded pair who love to cuddle when they’re worn out from playing with the pack at her house! Check out our photo blog post to see what we’re talking about 🙂
Holiday Season 2020
Since Winter officially starts on December 21st and we’re pretty wrapped up for the season by the this time we’re calling this last section Holiday instead! We focused on wreaths again this year and had some fun seasonal coffee flavors to pair with them! We didn’t do winter/holiday gift boxes, because we learned from the fall and how we need to plan those out in detail first so we offered wreaths and coffee individually or together! When we have our wooden crates next year 😉 we’ll definitely plan to create something cozy with a wreath or mixed pine arrangement, coffee and potentially a mug, wooden coasters, a candle or decorative ornaments. Honestly, half the fun is in the planning!
Flowers: Maybe not flowers exactly, but we did mix in some eucalyptus with some of our pine wreaths 🙂 We chose this photo to highlight, because it was shared from a happy customer and that’s the best! Last year we made boxwood and pine wreaths, but this year we decided to focus on pine only and making a few different options. We did half hoop wreaths like this one, full wreaths using our grapevine wreaths and also cute mini wreaths. We used pine from our own farm and also picked some up from the cutest little tree farm in Alexandra, Messerall’s Tree Farm. The extras like the olive branches, eucalyptus and red berries came from trader joe’s…the best grocery shop for fresh flowers! For the ones with pine cones, we picked the pine cones from the farm, washed them in a bath of warm water and white vinegar, let them air dry and then baked them in the oven at 200 degrees so they would open up! And while we’re happy with the wreaths we’ve made, we’d love to take some wreath making classes next year. We found a couple this year, one at a local flower and bread shop and another at a winery, but decided to error on the side of caution with the virus still being a cause for concern. Just having such a variety of pine to work with from our farm and the tree farm really helped us make some pretty wreaths that last through the season!
Coffee: For our holiday seasonal coffee flavors we ordered snow angel (must love coconut), caramel creme and hazelnut creme. But we had to highlight the 614 blend here, because we had a couple orders for our mini bags of coffee (adorable paired with our mini wreaths) and we just loved them! Of course we use kraft bags for this size too and the smallest addition of the red and white ribbon made them festive and fun for Christmas. These were the first ones we put together and we have since ordered larger labels for these 6 oz bags going forward even though using our 12 oz labels and cutting them in half in the beginning was quite resourceful 🙂 We also added Silver Bridge’s breakfast blend to our inventory for another non-flavored coffee option. Ordering one mini bag of each is a great way to decide which one you like best! They also make great stocking stuffers! And if that wasn’t enough, we also added some k-cups to accommodate customers who only have a Keurig. Those ended up being a great item to add into orders as a bonus gift too! We included one with each order and provided some simple directions on how to use the ground coffee in a regular coffee pot if they didn’t have a Keurig. A variety pack of those may be coming soon. We’ll be scheduling our planning session for January soon to map out seasonal gift boxes for 2021, coffee orders, seed orders and more blog posts! Naturally, we’ll include some more coffee sampling during the process to make sure we have the best in stock 😉
The Random Stuff: Let’s see…watching Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music, ordering holiday scents from Cultivated Candle Company, dressing our pups in new sweaters and scarves and toasting to a wild ride in 2020 haha If you take something away from this, go order a candle, and an antique one at that, from Cultivated Candle Company. They’re amazing and the owners are the sweetest, most genuine people! It’s definitely one of our favorite small businesses! https://cultivatedcandleco.com/
That’s all we have for now and if you read everything, we appreciate you!! We hope y’all have the most wonderful holiday and that you find unique ways to make the best of it this year. Stay safe & healthy and cheers to wrapping up 2020 and moving on to 2021!
Bloom where you are planted.