The Bow Market shop brings the aesthetic of 18th century French art to flower arrangements
(Somerville Wire) – Owners Claudia Lapeña and Julia Conrad opened Rococo Floral during the pandemic and haven’t looked back since. The Union Square florist has a working studio and shop on the second floor of Bow Market and is inspired by the elaborate, lavish, and romantic styles of the opulent Rococo period. Browse through some of the arrangements on their menu, which include bouquets dubbed “Summer in Versaille”and “Spill the Tea.” I asked the owners to tell me a bit about how they imagined and interpreted their approach to flower design.
What made you decide to open Rococo Floral? What was your inspiration, and how would you describe the concept for the shop?
We opened Rococo out of a passion for flowers and design, and the belief in flowers’ transformative powers. When we are at the shop, we work with flowers—and when we are home, we think about flowers! We really, really love flowers.
We are inspired by the pure beauty & femininity of flowers, and the Rococo French art period which places an emphasis on soft colors, curved lines, and ornate aesthetics.
Besides simply being a retail shop, we hope to curate a space that offers an experience to customers, from the environment to the process of purchasing floral. Flowers are fun, so the process of buying them should be fun, too. We carry this approach into weddings and events, and our workshops in-studio.
What is your creative process behind designing a bouquet or arrangement like? Could you describe how you envisioned or imagined some of your favorite pieces?
It all starts with colors and shapes. These are the key components, and if you get these right, everything sort of falls into place (with a little bit of practice). We are very inspired by the changing seasons and new varieties of flowers that farmers are constantly growing. We also nod our heads to trends, but try to add our own Rococo flair to it. Some of our favorite pieces are born out of the combination of individual flowers and how they work together.
How long have you been interested in flowers? What kind of services can people look for when they visit Rococo, and what does it take to make a beautiful flower composition?
I think we can both say we’ve been interested in flowers for well, pretty much forever.
We often see people peeking through our windows, or asking “can we come in?” and we would like to say, yes! Come in! We worked so hard to curate a beautiful space for people to enjoy, whether that be to literally smell the roses, to purchase a bouquet or create a dried arrangement. We also offer a beautiful, hand-picked selection of houseplants, pots, and flower related products such as body scrubs, sprays, oils, handkerchiefs, and candles. We are always building and evolving our inventory, so there are always new things to see!
We offer flower deliveries, workshops, subscription flowers (get them weekly or monthly!), and full wedding and event floral services. We have a selection to choose from on our website, and can offer custom floral as well. Check it out at rococofloralco.com!
What was it like to open during the pandemic? Have there been challenges, and what do you like about working in Bow Market and Somerville?
Starting a small business during the pandemic seemed precarious, and definitely felt risky when we both came from stable jobs. However, everything in the world slowed down a bit so that we could take the time to actually plan and open the business. Flowers are so interesting because they are not a necessity. Yet at a time when people were confined to their homes, they offered such a moment of simple joy and nature—which can really help improve someone’s mood and environment. So, while larger events were not taking place this past year, we found people were looking to add flowers into their space, or send them as a mood booster to friends and family.
We hope to continue to build momentum and grow as society continues to recover from the pandemic.
We love our Somerville community and we feel so thankful to be a part of the Bow Market. There are so many talented shop owners and artists in such a small space—it’s really a one of a kind community to be a part of. Because of that, there are always innovative events and ideas coming out of Bow. We’re really lucky to be immersed in it all, and hope to become more involved in Bow Market and Somerville events as we grow the shop.
What do you enjoy about working with other small businesses and connecting with customers?
Working, collaborating and partnering with other small businesses has been so rewarding because we get to learn from one another, talk shop and share stories, meet their customer base, and ease the anxiety that comes from running a small business. Connecting with customers is by far our favorite part of having a brick and mortar shop. We get to see their faces light up when they pick up their flowers. We love to hear about where the flowers are headed, and if they are destined for a special occasion, or “just because” (our favorite). Getting to know our customers more personally has been very special and helps us feel connected to the community we chose to house our little shop.
1 Bow Market Way
Somerville, MA 02143
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Shira Laucharoen is assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and assistant editor and staff reporter of the Somerville Wire.