Eva Provenzale considers EcoFlora an earth-friendly alternative to the traditional flower shop.
EcoFlora’s unique bouquets feature organic flowers that are sustainably grown in the United States, with Sunny Meadows Flower Farm −located six miles south of downtown Columbus− being the shop’s biggest supplier.
“They grow a huge range of flowers: early spring plants, like ranunculus, tulips, anemone; summer plants, zinnias, lisiantus, dahlias, and fall plants, like sunflowers, wheat, coneflower, and so many more,” says Provenzale, EcoFlora’s owner.
Additionally, the shop’s bouquets are arranged in containers sourced at swap meets, garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores and antique shops, and flower foam is forbidden, as it’s a petroleum product that doesn’t biodegrade.
EcoFlora’s bestsellers are arrangements that fall outside the norm.
“I brought in a lot of roses for Valentine’s Day and I ended up donating over half since they were just not popular,” she says. “Anything interesting and unseen at traditional shops is popular at EcoFlora. I have had more than one customer say that we have the best air plant selection they have seen.”
In addition to selling flowers, EcoFlora offers classes on a variety of topics, from DIY wedding flowers and worm composting to soap making and terrarium building.
“The terrarium building classes are the most popular,” she says. “People sign up and come to the shop to make their own terrarium. All materials are provided.”
Considering Provenzale worked in health care for three years before going into business for herself, her decision to open a flower shop might seem odd. She’s no stranger to the floral industry, though.
“I worked in flower shops and garden centers since 2005,” she said. “I felt like it was a dead end. I thought I should go a more traditional route and go to nursing school. I became an EMT and started working at the OSU Ross Heart Hospital.”
However, she continued working in flower shops during her tenure at the hospital and eventually determined that a career in the medical field wasn’t her calling. She talked things over with her boyfriend and, with his support, quit her job to open EcoFlora. She believed Central Ohio needed a shop that sold a wide variety of flowers, and she was going to be the one to create it.
“Not everyone who wants flowers fits into the ‘flower shop’ style box,” she says. “I am one of those people. I also wanted to incorporate local artist and crafters so that when you come into my shop, you are investing into your community, not the corporate world. The bottom line here is not ‘How much can I make on this?’ It’s ‘How awesome can I make someone feel?'”
For accounting lessons, Provenzale turned to her friend Tom VanStavern at Rice Paddy. Her older brother is a business owner himself and often provides her with valuable insight.
“I also talked with Jennie [Scheinbach] from Pattycake Bakery about how she got started and got great advice from her about starting up,” she says, adding that she goes with her gut instinct when in doubt.
She can’t afford to hire anyone just yet, so she’s working seven days a week.
“The lack of a break can be hard, but the plus side is that if I need to take a break, I can walk to Cup O Joe and get a coffee or Pattycake for a cookie, and just sit on my couch and read a book. I don’t work for a big corporation, so I can take time to myself when I need to.”
To learn more about EcoFlora, visit EcoFloraDesign.com.