Katherine Raz, owner of The Fernseed on Proctor, has just debuted a second location on South Tacoma Way.
The new spot includes a new sustainable stem bar and a floral studio.
“What makes this shop different [from the one on Proctor] is that it’s a bit larger, so we have more space for larger plants and larger pots, and we have floral,” said Raz. “We have a daily stem bar set up so people can come in, pick flowers by the stem, and make their own arrangements, and we also have grab-and-go bouquets available.”
Raz explained that unlike most available bouquets, a majority of her stems are locally and sustainably sourced in an effort to reclaim the act of flower-growing by valuing and recognizing the connection between consumers and the source of their flowers.
“It’s similar to the farm-to-table movement and dining, where you are buying from local growers and farmers, and using what you have versus making something super fancy that involves elements that need to be flown in,” said Raz. “A lot of the flowers that people are used to seeing in the grocery stores are grown in Ecuador or sometimes as far away as Europe or Africa, and they are flown in, which creates a huge carbon footprint.”
Raz added, “We are working on being really transparent with our labeling and letting you know where the flowers are from and where they are grown.”
The flowers are typically farmed from local growers in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho, and California, or places that can be trucked in in order to create a smaller carbon footprint. Since the flowers are seasonal, the stem bar also offers dried elements and foliage that grow year-round.
Raz had to close her shop during the pandemic, which forced her to reimagine and adapt her business model and store offerings. The Fernseed not only launched online options during the closure but started doing DIY kits for kids and families. They also offered a service that allowed customers to send a potted plant to anyone in the U.S.
The Fernseed had also offered some floral services for Valentine’s Day right before the pandemic, and found that people liked the option of being able to buy flowers that were predominantly grown locally.
“In order to keep the business viable and pandemic-proof, I wanted to make sure that we were doing different things that can all stay viable no matter what is happening, and flowers were one of the ways to do that,” she said.
Raz emphasized the importance of supporting local businesses and keeping your dollars local.
“We are here, we own homes, we rent apartments, and we are your neighbors,” she said. “It is a kind of magic that just from people buying plants and pots, we are able to sustain eight people in their jobs right here in Tacoma.”
The Fernseed has focused on the idea that anyone can take care of a plant and that plants are for everyone. This message holds especially true during these uncertain times.
“Why do people really need plants right now?” asked Raz. “People are stuck at home and they want to bring a piece of peace and serenity to their lives. People are in need of healing and making their homes a sanctuary, and we are very fortunate to have a business that aligns with what’s happening right now.”