A North Vancouver resident has been bringing a little island charm to her quiet Lynn Valley street.
With the assistance of an old cooler, some wood strips and ample bunches of beautiful flowers, gardener and florist Rachel Klausen has opened a tiny flower cart along Bermon Place.
The hook: there’s no vendor or florist in sight.
Instead, Klausen has opted for an honour-system model. Passersby are encouraged to grab a bouquet and either e-transfer her $10 or pop the cash into a paper bag next to the cart.
Klausen says she was inspired to open the self-serve flower cart in front of her house after noticing how common this kind of makeshift commerce was in smaller communities around British Columbia, such as the Gulf Islands or some places on Vancouver Island.
“We were driving by and there was this little cart and it just said, ‘Self-serve apricots,’” says Klausen, recalling a recent trip to Duncan. “I just thought it was so interesting. I’d never seen anything like that and then just driving around the island I saw them everywhere.”
Klausen has been a florist for six years, but it wasn’t until this year that she was determined to start her own business, which she called The Bird of Botanicals.
Testing out my little self serve flower cart! I’ve seen this idea in rural communities and a lot on Vancouver Island and thought it would be worth a try in Lynn Valley! So far it’s been a success and seems to make lots of people smile when they walk by! Keep a look out for this little guy and be sure to grab a bunch of flower goodness, grown in my backyard! As local as it gets! 🌸
An advocate of the sustainable farmer florist movement, Klausen’s goal is to showcase the beauty of West Coast flora while promoting local growing.
“A big thing for local florists that I follow is: grown, not flown,” she says. “This is the very first year I’ve actually started growing flowers myself. Prior to that I was just buying flowers from the auction out in Burnaby.”
But like many businesses this year, a lot of Klausen’s plans were put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic ramped up. Suddenly, farmers markets weren’t open and person-to-person contact was essentially barred, which made selling her flowers more difficult. That’s when she had the idea to set up her small cart.
“I figured most people were stuck at home, their only outing of the day was a walk around the neighbourhood, so I thought people would love to see some flowers,” says Klausen. “Lynn Valley’s got a small community feel to it and I felt like it was a trusting enough area that it would work well.”
People in the community have responded well to the honour-system flower cart, adds Klausen, noting that passersby have stopped to take note of its bright and colourful charms and even share the good news on social media.
She usually puts her cart out on weekends, depending on what bunches of flowers she has available. She plans to continue her guerrilla flower cart project into the near future as well, she says.
“I’ve got lots of flowers from now until the end of fall, so I’ll keep going with it.”