Interview with Gina Hemmings of Mossflower

Our latest small business & vendor profile features Gina Hemmings & her company Mossflower, an on-line flower shop focusing on seasonal and responsibly sourced flowers from American and Colorado flower-farmers. Mossflower beautifies our space each week with fresh, lovely, seasonal arrangements – sans-hassle and with free delivery straight to our door via their subscription program.

Through Mossflower, Gina combines her passions for flowers, limiting environmental impact and growing community by partnering with local farms, families, and local businesses, and by offering gardening, cooking, design and other custom workshops & events centered on seasonal flowers.

Read on to grow your appreciation for the “power of the local flower.” Follow Mossflower on Instagram to see what’s in bloom and buzz their site for simple Ordering, information on Subscriptions and to dig into their recommended practices for Flower Care –  “as nature intended.”

1. Tell us about the name “Mossflower” ?
It has a few meanings, it’s the name of a book in an English children’s illustrated fantasy series and my husband is English and he had this book as a child. As a hiker I love the alpine moss and the tiny white moss flowers and it’s the snowmelt from these same mountains that feeds Colorado flowers.

2. When did you start your company & Why?
The business launched July 2017. I’m a passionate foodie and gardener and I was drawn to teach people that local is better. 80% of the flowers sold in the US are imported from Latin America and it takes them about three weeks to arrive in Denver. Over the last twenty-five years as imported and industrialized flowers have grown 58% of American flower farmers have gone out of business. I think it’s silly that a tiny stem of flowers should have a giant carbon footprint when local is far better anyways. Industrialized flowers have also shrunk the availability of more unique and fragile stems. There is a vast world of beautiful, unique and weird flowers I wanted to share with Mossflower customers and followers.

3. What were you doing before Mossflower?
My career has been in marketing, most recently for Chipotle managing customer acquisition and retention.

4. What drove you to change careers?
As a career marketer and someone that’s always been impressed by entrepreneurs, it just felt like the logical next step in my career to start my own brand and business.

5. Have you always had a passion for flowers?
I’ve always been passionate about growing flowers and vegetables. My parents had a large family garden and it was instilled in me from a young age. My mom grew flowers and planted large swaths of daffodils in the woods behind us that multiplied over the years.

6. Where is your business located?
Mossflower has a studio in the Globeville Riverfront Art Center (GRACe) with over 75 other artists and makers. Globeville is RiNo’s street smart sibling. We offer pick up by appointment and there is a scheduler on our website. Our address is 888 E. 50th Street, Unit S8, Denver, CO 80216.

7. How do you stay creative with your bouquets?
The variety of flowers and their colors make it easy to design. I generally use colors in a similar color palette for a more ombre effect or pick colors on opposing sides of the color wheel.

8. What inspires your work?
I’m inspired by nature, the flowers themselves, art, design, architecture and other floral designers.

9. How are the flowers chosen before they end up in your shop? (i.e. If they’re coming from California or Oregon, do you go out there to choose the flowers? Is there a look book? How does that process work?)
During the locally grown season (May – Oct-ish) we’re inspired by what is being grown on Front Range farms. Some farmers send weekly emails with availability or some post photos on Instagram. In the off-season (Nov – April) we purchase from Denver wholesale flower markets and go there to see what looks good and design based on that. Because we only buy American-grown flowers we pre-order flowers for big jobs or for holidays (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day). Over the last year I’ve met more American farmers that ship direct to customers and we’ll continue to explore more of this. Great design starts with amazing flowers so the sourcing is a critical part of creating beautiful work.

10. Do you have a team? Or is it just you?
Most of the time it’s just me. I have a floral designer who helps for holidays and key events, a summer intern who has become a part-time employee and contractors that help on large projects. As the business grows we hope to bring on more staff, starting with delivery drivers.

11. What is your favorite flower?
Dahlias, protea, peonies are some of my favorites. But gardenia are my absolute favorite, they have the most incredible scent. I wore a single bloom in my updo for my wedding party. I grow them at home in a giant pot on my front porch that I overwinter in an uninsulated backroom of our 108-year old house. Nothing says summer more to me than drinking a glass of wine on the porch on a warm night with the scent of gardenias heavy in the air.

12. What is the cost range for your bouquets?
We offer bouquets and arrangements in a vase. A small bouquet starts at $45 and a large arrangement in our favorite handmade brass vase is $95 (the brass pot makes a great wine bucket after the flowers fade too!). We provide free delivery in Denver.

13. What’s your personal favorite arrangement?
Anything with local flowers, their uniqueness can’t be understated. I get such a thrill each time I pick flowers up at the farm, I can’t wait to get back to the studio and work with them.

14. What is the most fragrant flower or plant you have come across?
Gardenias! Though I’m loving these sweet carnations that were used in a design for the salon this past week, they smell like cloves. Flowering basil or scented geranium are also wonderful, the artists in the studios next to me generally will knock on the door and ask “what’s that beautiful scent?” when I’m working with either of these.

15. What is your secret to a green thumb?
Fail quickly, growing is a process and you have to pay attention to what works, where and adjust accordingly. Also patience, sometimes you have to try different things with a plant to make it happy.

16. We receive flowers from you every week at grand, and each arrangement is different. Do you make each arrangement off of your mood, season, color – or all of these factors coordinated?
The seasonal flower availability dictates the designs. I do keep records of what flowers and colors are used for each subscription so that I don’t repeat color palettes too often.

17. Do you want to expand as a company or are you happy with where you are and would like to stay a small business?
We would love to expand with more business and employees in Denver. We also built the business to possibly scale over time, we could go to any market that has the right climate to grow flowers, maybe even my husband’s hometown of Bath, England.

I’d like to thank Shelly and the staff at Grand. She was the first person to buy a subscription when I started my business and that was a huge leap of faith for her and having the salon as a weekly client has helped me to become a better designer and business person. It’s a thrill that the staff is excited each week to receive the flowers, nothing meant more to me than when they asked if they could get a list each week of what the flowers were. This is exactly why I was drawn to the business, to get people excited about the huge universe of flowers and plants available to us.  Nature is cool

Follow Mossflower on Instagram and Facebook