Orchids Flower District NYC

Niche Market | Silk Flowers
Mimi Rasamee says the artificial flower industry spent 20 years trying to make a perfect, convincing calla lilly. (Sarah Kate Kramer/WNYC)

New York is a city of specialists from foodies to academics, laborers to shopkeepers. Every Wednesday, Niche Market will take a peek inside a different specialty store and showcase the city's purists who have made an art out of selling one commodity. Slideshow below.

Pany Silk Flowers
146 W. 28th St.,
New York, NY, 10001

There's one shop in Manhattan's flower district where everything is in permanent bloom. Twenty four years ago on Mother's Day, Mimi Rasamee opened Pany Silk Flowers (named after her mother), selling handmade flowers. In spring, the store is stocked with 3, 000 spring varieties. In the fall, there are autumnal sprigs. During the holiday season, holly berries and poinsettias.

Interior designers, movie set prop masters and window dressers for New York's department stores flock to Pany for their niche needs. A formal arrangement of warm-colored flowers to match antique wallpaper, a blooming hyacinth in January, sunflowers in February — all are available year-round.

Rasamee said a film scout once came into the shop and requested something eccentric: "They said, 'I want a futuristic flower, something weird.' I said, 'Ok, how weird?' Then we discussed back and forth. I gathered some samples, and they sent it out to the animation people just to get inspiration. Then they put a little bit here and there together and then when I saw the movie I said, 'That's my flower!'"

The film was "Avatar."

"Silk" is a term carried over from the Victorian age when the flowers were actually created from silk. These days, most are a synthetic cotton/polyester blend. But all the flowers at Pany are still handmade — a painstaking process that involves molding each petal. At first Rasamee imported them from her native Thailand but now has them produced in a factory in China. Prices depend on how complicated flowers are to replicate.

"The most complicated flower ... it's a calla lily, " she said of the cup-like flower that sells for .50 a stem, a few dollars more than the cost of a real calla lilly stem.

Who are most of your clients?

Retailers or brand-name clothing stores. They're using these flowers for displays. Polo Ralph Lauren — they buy a lot of flowers for their display or they make big arrangements for their shops — Macys, Bloomingdales, Saks — they always come. And then we have a lot of designers that order for their clients and have to make arrangements, and other flower shops.

What kind of flowers are people buying now?

All spring flowers. Right now, cherry blossoms have become very popular. Maybe because designers are using it in home decor. We get a lot of requests for cherry blossoms, apple blossoms, pear blossoms. Some year we have forsythia, the yellow flowers. It was so popular six or seven years ago I never had enough forsythia to sell. But this year definitely cherry blossoms. So it changes. It changes like a fashion. Roses, I probably have 50 or 60 kinds of roses in size and color. Hydrangea sells a lot. Peonies have become popular, and sun flowers are always popular. Orchids have become popular in the last 10 years, and they're perfect, in color, texture and size. It's amazing how they make them look like real orchids.

Source: www.wnyc.org


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Book (Atria Books)

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Ideas for those who want to save $$ on flowers

2011-01-27 15:38:28 by formerflorist

Please bare with me as I'm new to this forum thing. But i've been lurking for a couple weeks. I was a florist for 30 years, but had to stop because of a bad muscluar and joint reaction to a medication. So no fine motor skills to be a florist anymore. :(
Any ways, some of the ways to save money on flowers is to use flowers that will have a longer shelf life in water. This way you can start making arrangements for the tables etc about 3-4 if not more days ahead of time. Just keep makin sure that the flowers are kept cool and refill with cool water.
As in:
1) orchids, either using them as a single flower or ones that have several flowers on a stem
2) Carnations


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