For this week’s #ShopFranklin Spotlight, I met with Michelle Greenwood of Fiori!
Although Michelle never intended to make a career out of floral design, it’s clearly her destiny: her maiden name, Fiori, means “flowers” in Italian. It all started in 2012, when a good friend of Michelle’s was planning her wedding on Martha’s Vineyard. The location was important, because Martha’s Vineyard was where she had met her husband, but she ran into trouble with the “crazy” in-season prices. Michelle came to the rescue; she offered to recreate a floral design for her friend based on a picture she loved. “I literally went to every single Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods in Boston… sourced all of the hydrangeas and stuff,” Michelle says, and her friend loved the result. In January 2013, Michelle started a new job as an assistant buyer at popular e-commerce site Rue La La, and she soon found that a number of her coworkers were all planning their own weddings around the same time. Word of Michelle’s talents spread quickly. “It kind of spiraled. All of a sudden I had a portfolio!”
For the next year and a half, Michelle continued to work at Rue La La full time and do flowers on weekends, but she soon realized that wouldn’t work forever. “I can’t have a full-time job and do this every weekend!” she remembers thinking. Fortunately, she and her husband were already contemplating a move back to the Medway area to be closer to Michelle’s parents, so the time was right to make the leap and turn floral design into her full-time job. Once settled in Franklin, Michelle worked from her home, but couldn’t stop thinking about having her own space to meet with clients and put floral projects together. Her sister Noelle, an elementary school teacher in Medway with a master’s in fine art, had a side business hosting paint parties, so they decided to find a space they could share. In July of this year, they found the perfect location in downtown Franklin, and Fiori officially opened in August after the whole family pitched in to renovate the space.
Since opening downtown, Fiori has taken on a life of its own. Michelle’s customers started asking her if she could carry cards, candles, jewelry, and other items, and “all of a sudden it turned into a gift shop too.” Michelle has noticed that “trends trickle down from fashion to everything,” so she keeps a close eye on what her clients are asking for and what’s being featured at other stores. “I go and I get inspiration from other places,” she says. “What catches my eye? I try to translate that into this shop.” From metallics, woods, and greenery to neutrals with pops of color, you can bet that Fiori will have a solid take on the latest design trends.
While Fiori’s main focus is still flowers, Michelle can help with the other aspects of planning a wedding or big event too. She specializes in “the girl who wants the do-it-yourself wedding” but can’t pull it off herself for some reason. “When you’re in the middle of planning something big… you think you’re going to have time to do everything yourself and then the week before you’re like ‘What am I doing?!’” When you hit that point, Michelle is there to help you take care of things. If it’s something she can’t do herself, she almost certainly knows someone who can, with her connections to custom dress and accessory makers, day-of event coordinators, hair salons, photographers, bakeries, and more. For clients who aren’t quite sure what they want, Michelle works with them to help narrow down their options by creating idea boards online. “God knows what people did without Pinterest!” laughs Michelle. And if planning gets too stressful, the shop dog, Chloe, is there to help.
With so much going on at Fiori, the shop is unified by Michelle’s endless creativity and her commitment to handmade and local goods. “I am a startup,” Michelle says. “[Almost] everything in here I’ve either found on the side of the road or bought at a flea market and redid myself.” Her flowers are sourced locally for as much of the season as possible, and many of them are grown right here in Franklin at the Painted Lady Flower Farm. Check the chalkboard on the “Bloom Bar” next time you go in, and you’ll find out exactly where that day’s flowers came from. As for other merchandise, that’s local or handmade too. For the things that Michelle doesn’t hand-craft herself, she tries to stick to items from New England vendors. She says everything in the shop would be made in Massachusetts if it weren’t for some soaps, lip balm, and candles she gets from Maine and some mason jar candles from a husband-and-wife team in Tennessee.
Michelle has been impressed by the support she’s received from the rest of the Franklin community, particularly from other business owners. “Everybody in this downtown area has been so welcoming and nice, and I mean that in the least cheesiest way possible!” she says. Joining Facebook groups like #shopFranklin has also helped Michelle get in touch with the community to spread the word about Fiori and share the positive experiences she’s had with other local businesses. Michelle is especially looking forward to reaching out to the other talented artists, craftspeople, and designers here in town; “I love to collaborate with anyone who’s creative because I feel like we spark things in each other.”
Fiori is currently located at 10 Main Street, but will be moving into the old optical shop at 16 Main Street this week. Check out Fiori’s website or Facebook page for more info, and for more beautiful photos of the shop, visit Focus Designs & Photos’ #ShopFranklin Photo Spotlight on Fiori!