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Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 ~ You sure did a number on some of us monkey.

Hi friends,

Like many of you, I'm happy to see 2016 in my rear view.  I've never seen such a collective hate on for a year gone by. The monkey was relentless. Yet despite the crappy bits, there were actually some incredible triumphs and discoveries. We moved into our dream farmhouse with a wedding venue, what could be wrong?! For me it was a year of extremes. Great successes mixed in with monumental challenges and a slice of anguish on the side. I watched my friends struggling too, not everyone, but some of us took a wild ride through the spin cycle. I learned that without the tribulations this past year, I'd have no chance for future success. Sometimes you have to burn it all down to see what's salvageable. I fear my business and my personal life could have suffered greatly had I not been forced to dig deeper than I ever have before. Taking stock of what is working in your life is quite a thing, but to actually unearth the shit that is catastrophic, to shine a light on the darkest parts, that is something entirely different.  It feels like an actual page has turned, or rather an entire chapter has ended and I'm so hopeful and excited about 2017.  I've always been transparent with my readers, sometimes I fear being too honest but I don't know how else to be. This blog started out as a way for my Mom to catch up on the goings on in my life and business and so I wrote it as though we were having an intimate phone conversation. Over the years a few thousand or so of you started reading but I couldn't change the way I wrote, every time I edited myself it became inauthentic, pinched.  So here it is, my heart on my sleeve, authentic me, this one's for you... and my Mom.

                                                                                   (a few highlights from the year)

Since moving to the County full time after Hattie was born, I took a huge leap of faith prepping the business for my TO team to manage. Over the last 7 years we've seen some major growth but particularly the last 2.5 years. There is some serious truth behind the idea that it's impossible to grow your business from 'behind the counter.' The best decision I've ever made was to hire a manager. I've always been blessed with landing crazy talented human beings who help the business evolve, challenge me, challenge themselves and create beauty on a daily basis. If you follow Coriander Girl then you are well aware of our "all star" cast. You know who the people are who've helped make this company great. I make it a point to credit my designers, as I believe everyone deserves acknowledgement. Sure it gives people a platform to go off on their own but heck, it's a new world and I'm not sure the old rules apply. Most recently we shared the news that Tellie Hunt would be leaving us to pursue her own business. This decision didn't come easy for me. For those of you who own businesses, you understand it's a constant juggling act. No matter how successful you get, the juggling never stops, the balls just get bigger. So while attempting to juggle my increasingly large lady balls, I realized the task wasn't getting easier and the stakes just kept getting higher. From the County, I was observing my TO team crushing it but still feeling the impossible weight of responsibility. It's one thing to carry the weight when it's your own baby but it's quite another to expect your employees to do it. Inarguably I've always been fair to my people, and in that fairness, I knew it was time for Tellie to pursue her own endeavours and fortunately she agreed. Without question, she did an amazing job, gave her heart to my company and you all know the caliber of beauty that came out of the wedding studio over the last couple of years. The thing that needs to be addressed however, and with total respect for Tellie, is that she wasn't an army of one. On any given day, we had upwards of 3 to 5 employees in the wedding department. We've heard a few rumours that because our weddings manager is leaving, this is the end of our wedding team,  but that's quite an insult to the incredibly talented people who still remain. Deanna Balmer is a wildly talented designer and deserves an award for the endless hours and heart she's given this company. Elena as well as Alexandra and Mal all worked tirelessly to help get the job done and of course the unwavering support of Coriander Dad/contractor/wedding set up guy/caterer/delivery dude extraordinaire.  Recently we've welcomed another lovely crew member, Marilou, her designs are cray-zy. These talented, inspired women, are led by the incomparable Amira Shabason (who has been with the company for three years, two of which were spent as Tellie's right hand at the wedding studio.) They've earned their cred and are nothing short of amazing. Together we all wish Tellie well as she embarks on the wildest most exciting ride of her life in business ownership, she deserves every success.


I've made the choice to close our retail location in Toronto because the reality is I'm not there, 90% of our sales are now by phone or email and our wedding department is all consuming. The shop front tends to steal so much time from the pile of orders accumulating throughout the day, our staff ends up having to stay hours after close because they can't get to the work. I have struggled with this decision, lay awake contemplating reasons why it's a good or bad idea but remember the part above about "employees feeling the impossible weight of responsibility..." it's time to secure the foundation properly before adding another floor. Undeniably though, it was the local love and support from our favourite neighbourhood walk ins that put us on the map long before Instagram likes and we're forever grateful. The thing is, moving into the expansive studio space on Florence allows us so many more options. We'll still be accessible on certain days, we're planning regular shop and pop-up events to satisfy the folks who need to touch and feel the produce. And we aren't going far, just a couple of blocks away from 1604. The amalgamation of the two spaces will alleviate a myriad of issues that have developed over the years and will create an even stronger opportunity for efficiency and growth. We'll be able to focus on providing a broader selection of locally grown blooms from our favourite local farmers and bring you the very best of our talents. In the words of the great Martha Stewart, "It's a good thing."



So please, if you still have questions we welcome your emails to hello@coriandergirl.com or pec@coriandergirl.com We want to help you understand the changes and leave no question unanswered. We're making the transition over to the studio this month. All month long we'll be having shop sales at 1604 to lighten the load before we do our final move. We'll also be unveiling a more user friendly website with online shopping! I never thought I'd say those words! I remember when I first left the TO location and moved to the county. My girls would call and say, "customers are asking for you." And then those same customers quickly realized talented people were there in my place and happy to serve them. Perhaps I need to add an "s" on the end of Coriander Girl because it's never been one person alone, not EVER. It's the collected efforts of many who make this company great and in it's continuing evolution my sole responsibility is to remain consistent in beauty, that's what I can promise you. I believe Now Magazine called us "Best Florist" this year for a reason, we're not going anywhere;)



From my deepest truth,  I have never been more grounded or more clear headed about the direction of my business. I've never been happier or more stable feeling in my personal life. Tyler and I will welcome our second babe this summer and we are over the moon for Hattie to have a sister or a brother. Thank you dear friends, your kindness, love and support is felt from all over this incredible world. I get your messages! I love reading about your experiences in this crazy business and although I can't always respond promptly, I will try harder this year. I'm always amazed that anyone wants my advice, half the time I feel like I'm dangling off the edge of a cliff! We're all flailing at some point or another and once in awhile, for a minute, we might make it look effortless.

                                                                                                         (to the new world)

If you or someone you know is looking to rent a beautiful space on Queen St. Please send your inquiries to pec@coriandergirl.com and tell me all about yourself. The space is available as of February 1st.

2017 here we come with hope and love blazing strong in our hearts.

Alison xo

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I will miss your presence on Queen W! Am looking forward to your pop-ups - maybe on Florence? (I just live one street N of Florence :) and congrats on the upcoming brother/sister for Hattie!

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