text by SHANI SILVER
photography by MICHAEL WILTBANK
Camelback Flowershop, in the Arcadia area of Phoenix, Arizona, captured our attention on a recent trip. While exploring the neighborhood, we were drawn to this welcoming, bright, and expertly styled space, and asked owner Teresa Wilson how her shop, which opened in 2013, came to be. Read on to learn more about Camelback (and something called Fresh Flower Happy Hour!), and discover a new must-do for your next trip to AZ.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO OPEN YOUR OWN FLOWER SHOP?
It was really more of a childhood romantic dream. I found a floral design school in Paris, saved my money and lived on ramen noodles for a year while practicing French on my walkman. Then I set off to France and studied floral design for 6 months and lived in youth hostels and volunteered in flower shops. I returned to Phoenix and through a series of wild events, and giant hurdles, opened my little flower shop.
WHAT WAS YOUR VISION/WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS SPACE?
My vision for this space was inspired by the atelier district in Paris – white/grey mud on the walls with layers and layers of simple and beautiful handmade objects. I am a big fan of less is more, of open, well lit space, of perfectly curated gilded gallery walls, of NATURE!
Nature is what inspired the design of my 12-foot hanging plant window treatments. I designed these to the 1/8 of an inch, and had a welder build them in my parking lot. I wanted to hide the eyesores of street signage and buildings outside while still maximizing natural light. There are two giant windows that mirror each other and they are the most photographed area in my shop.
WHAT IS THE BEST REACTION YOU’VE HEARD TO YOUR SHOP?
There are two favorite reactions to my shop. The first is, “There’s nothing like this in Arizona.” I love that one. and the second, referring to my team, “Your girls are brilliant and kind and incredibly helpful….you’ve got a really good thing going.”
I have worked really hard to create a smart, healthy and happy culture here for my employees to enjoy and embrace. I have 14 employees and we all really love each other – we are family.
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE PART OF THIS SPACE?
My favorite part of this lovely space is the natural light. It kind of overwhelms you right when you walk in the door and it leaves you thinking about it. It’s just beautiful.
WHAT DO YOUR CUSTOMERS MOST COMMONLY BUY?
My customers love my selection of uncommon flowers. I ship my flowers in directly from mom & pop farms out of Portland, Northern Arizona, and Washington – every day.
Clients know that they are always getting the freshest product when shopping here. They also gravitate toward our handmade wooden boxes filled with 100% locally handmade product…our Arizona boxes. They make the best gifts – filled with goat milk caramels, dark chocolate, candles, honey molé pecans, fresh flowers, and more….all from local farms and craftsmen. We do offer national shipping on these boxes as well.
DO YOU NOTICE THAT THEY RESPOND TO FLORAL TRENDS OR DO THEY STICK TO CLASSIC OPTIONS?
My clients are really amazing – they love it when we invent a new design or make something seasonal with our simple style.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH EVERYONE KNEW ABOUT YOUR SHOP?
I want people to know about our Fresh Flower Happy Hour that takes place every Friday from 1-6. It is a time to get the community together and enjoy half off all fresh flowers. We turn the music up a little louder, we have a barrista in-shop to make amazing espressos and cappuccinos, and we make a really fun afternoon out of it – and so many people show up. It is amazing energy.
We also feature our signature Succulent Bar where clients can come in at any time during business hours (m-f), and we give them a quick 5 minute tutorial on how to pot and best care for terrariums and succulent boxes.
Clients get to choose any vessel they like along with a combination of succulents (we get 300+ new succulents/cacti in every week) and we provide the dirt, rocks, sand, crystals, tools etc… sometimes clients bring friends and wine and really enjoy themselves.
And lastly, we have a beautifully curated gift selection with simple, clean, very forward designed gift items – people are always delightfully surprised when they see our gift selection and letterpressed greeting cards.