When Amber Richman, the CEO and creative director of Cool Green & Shady—a full-service retail floral studio in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood—took on a job at a flower shop in her teenage years, she instantly fell in love. A part-time position to earn a bit of extra pocket money turned into a life-long creative passion for all things green and flowery.
“I learned early on that it’s not just about delivering arrangements that are unique, but about giving the client something they want and can love over and over again,” she explains. “In that sense, every event becomes unique because every client is different.”
Founded in 2002, the company sells to retail customers, but specializes in major corporate events and weddings. In fact, their largest event last year was a three-day corporate extravaganza where they presented $65,000 worth of flowers over several parties. For each one they accented gaping event spaces with a range of clever themed arrangements—everything from dyed blue-green bouquets for the disco party to flowers that looked like planets for the space-themed night.
Now, if we could go back in time we’d kiss the store owner who hired Amber and set her on this petal-powered entrepreneurial path. In our view, Cool Green & Shady is one of the best floral studios in the business—not to mention a supplier we love, admire and work with on a very regular basis.
Where Amber and her team have excelled is in turning floral into an art form that also happens to be perishable. That only underscores the expertise needed to not only assemble amazing arrangements, but guarantee they arrive at their destination looking naturally perfect. As such, their understanding and mastery of timing is crucial to ensuring a perfect presentation every time. And let’s not forget about the mindboggling creativity they bring to every engagement. “I love seeing an event unfold in a matter of hours, when all of your ideas, creative direction and the client’s vision come together,” Amber explains.
The CEO says that she and her team take inspiration from a range of sources, in particular social platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest. But ultimately it’s a client’s sense of style and aesthetic preferences that rule the day, guiding her creations and driving her team to innovate with every assignment. Those image-driven channels also help to drive a great deal of Cool Green & Shady’s corporate and wedding business, a large percentage of which comes from client referrals.
Still, producing unique floral arrangements takes more than an eagerness to seek—and embrace—online inspiration. To deliver a range of fresh ideas to her clients, Amber and her team source ideas from all corners of the world, and will often import products from overseas out of season when it’s difficult to get those same products in Canada (if at all). Her aim is to deliver an unmistakable ‘wow’ factor that not only impresses guests, but creates a distinct ambience for every event that perfectly reflects an organizer’s vision and promises a bespoke design experience.
We love the fact that the Cool Green & Shady team not only delivers their incredible floral creations on time and as promised for every function, but also brings an impressive array of ideas to the table. We’ve experienced—and witnessed—first-hand how their collaborative process puts a smile on clients’ faces. In many cases those clients are left slack-jawed trying to figure out how Amber and her staff have managed to fully capture their thoughts to produce the perfect floral package.
That mixture of creativity and business acumen makes Cool Green & Shady stand out in a very crowded field of floral studios across Toronto.
On any given day, Amber and her team comb websites, those aforementioned social media feeds, magazines and virtually every other media imaginable in search of insight and guidance as they work to set new trends. She says clients are currently embracing a kind of organic, Boho-chic aesthetic that brings together naturalized arrangements—think displaying the stems of flowers in a more expressive way, or back-to-nature floral designs that look as if they were still growing in the wild—for a distinct break from traditional floral formalities.
“I think this trend has taken hold because people want a more ecofriendly look and approach,” she says.
As client preferences shift and design trends evolve over the years, we know that Amber and her team will be on top of each one, delivering their budding creations with service excellence. We can’t wait to see what kind of design magic they manage to conjure up for their next event.
Fia Pagnello, Founder and CEO
Contact us now to book Cool Green & Shady for your next event!