Casablanca Floral: Local Business in Bloom
Watching Maura in action, it is impossible not to see that passion forms the root of her business, Casablanca Floral. She buzzes around the wholesaler, greeting workers and shoppers by name as I struggle to keep up. Back home in her tiny garden shed, free workspace magically appears as the florist puzzles in her goodies and gets to work.
Like a chef surveying prizes from the morning market, Maura examines the potential of each ingredient and finds joy in inventing novel combinations of petals, greenery, and branches. “Every week it’s different. I never know quite what I’m going to find at auction or at the wholesaler, and that’s the excitement of it,” she explains. She arranges based on instinct. Occasionally, she senses a missing element from one of her creations and goes out to the garden, returning with a hellebore or a sprig of dusty miller that becomes the perfect finishing touch.
As with any small business endeavor, establishing oneself in the floral business is hard work. From delivering fragile vases of fresh florals to shopping for flowers in the wee hours of the morning, it’s a juggling act. “I can’t imagine starting a small business without love as the foundation,” says Maura. The joy that comes from playing with flowers keeps Maura as happy as she is busy.
Flowers have been a part of Maura’s life for nearly fifty years, beginning with her childhood in Connecticut where she learned the art of floral design from her mother and grandmother. Dreaming of her own floral shop since her early twenties, Maura advises me to listen to passion when it calls. Though it took her nearly thirty years to truly hear hers, she is certainly making up for lost time.
Casablanca specializes in weekly and bimonthly deliveries to homes, restaurants, and hotels throughout Seattle proper. However, Maura and her small team are adaptive. The company has hosted pop-up shops in Capitol Hill and Downtown Seattle, created large-scale floral art installations, and even designed bouquets to line the runway of a fashion show. Casablanca also partners with Seattle startup Knack to ship specialty gift boxes nationwide – so don’t be surprised to spot Maura’s creations in Manhattan or New Orleans.
Still, Maura likes to keep her business close to home, using local ingredients whenever possible and choosing to keep her studio right in the backyard. It is not unusual to find Maura dashing between the studio and her kitchen, somehow prepping a delicious Italian meal and churning out multiple unique arrangements before picking her kids up from school. Parenthood and developing a small business don’t always go hand in hand, but Maura's two children are supportive and full of ideas for Casablanca, drawing lily logos and even trying their hands at arranging. As Maura balances her active family life with her blooming business, she reminds us all how important it is to stop and smell the flowers.