Dozens of different flowers in beautiful colors lines the stairs of local flower shop Eiran kukkakioski. Inside the small and cozy shop, owner Susanne Nicol is busy buzzing around. Her customers and her flowers – two things she will never stop cherishing – make the work worthwhile.
The same flower shop has stood in Helsinki at the corner of Tehtaankatu and Laivurinkatu for over 30 years, the last two with Susanne Nicol as the owner. It was established by a late market trader who wanted to express their passion for flowers. Now Susanne, equally enthusiastic, carries the torch.
”It’s always been my dream to have my own flower shop. I wasn’t brave enough to take the leap, until an opportunity too good to pass presented itself. I had to seize it.”
Nicol spent a long time working at flower wholesale, listening to florists complain about the rough and busy life of a business-owner. She also got to witness the everyday life up close, working weekend shifts at the Eiran kukkakioski flower shop.
”I’m glad I took this opportunity, despite all the preconceptions. I learned a lot listening to the florists, and at least I was able to adopt the right mindset to owning a business from the get-go. I know now that you shouldn’t burn yourself out as a business owner, no matter how deeply passionate you are about your work.”
And Susanne’s passion does burn bright; she’s enthusiastic about both the flowers and the customers she gets to work with. Listening to her, it’s obvious that she will never grow tired of the diversity and the color splendor of various flora.
”Every time I get a shipment, it’s like Christmas all over again. I open the packages and admire the flowers, even if they are the same ones I’ve seen a hundred times before. My favorite flowers are hydrangea and peony.”
”The loveliest arrangements are the ones I design together with customers.”
Customers from the local neighborhoods keep her flower shop busy. Some of the regulars have known the flower shop from its earliest days.
”Some locals visit my shop every week. I’ve come to know a secret or two,” Nicol laughs.
Arranging flowers into beautiful bouquets is a highly visual profession, and the principles of floral design bring an added edge.
”In the end, it’s my job to make all kinds of arrangements stunning and beautiful. I start every arrangement from one primary flower and build upon it with various leaves, grass and smaller flowers.”
Over her 20-year career, Nicole has cultivated her skills and her views on flowers and their potential. She can make the most of different species, colors and shapes.
”Back when I was younger, I even straightened out the leaves with weights. Now I feel that the more a bouquet has appropriate asymmetry, the better it looks.”
Sometimes my customers want to put a florist’s hat on for a moment and have their say on the composition of the arrangement. It’s Susanne’s job to take the customer’s picks, sometimes unusual or even incompatible at first glimpse, and tie them into a beautiful bouquet.
”Some of the most beautiful arrangements come out of these bold and open-minded customer picks.”