Linzi Pehler is learning a lot of new lessons about growth from one of earth’s oldest teachers— flowers. What started as a simple yes has turned into a blooming business. The Runaway Florist, Linzi’s fully- functioning mobile flower shop, hit the streets in February.
In some ways, The Runaway Florist is just like a regular flower shop. People have the option to create their own bouquets, buy single stems, or purchase pre-made arrangements from a diverse selection of breeds. However, in some ways it is completely different. Not many flower shops wholly exist inside of a striking hot pink van. And no other flower shop is co-piloted by a three-legged Boston Terrier named Wally. The pup has never missed a delivery.
Fresh and local are non-negotiable qualities for Linzi’s flowers. She scours local farms and organizations, such as the Colorado Flower Collective in Arvada, multiple times a week.
According to the Collective’s website, 80 percent of cut flowers in the United States are laced with pesticides and packed into boxes for shipping before they arrive at their final destinations. That’s not Linzi’s style. She enjoys the spontaneity of her craft and looks forward to the surprise of seeing which flowers are available every week. Everything she makes is designer’s choice, which means that customers can only pick from what she has available on any given day.
“If someone tells me they want a red rose bouquet and I don’t have red roses, or the roses I have aren’t looking good, I won’t churn something out that isn’t the best,” Linzi says.
Despite the artistry and order of bouquets, flowers have a wild quality to them. They’re earthy. They’re alive. Linzi tries to capitalize on the flowers’ natural qualities and works to maintain their original nature during her process.
“Flowers kind of do what they want. It’s mother nature,” Linzi says. “Even if I go in visualizing something, it always turns into something different— which I love,” Linzi says.
On any given day, the van is a medley of color and fragrance. Fringed tulips, luscious roses, and vibrant poppies overflow in baskets and stem clippings litter the floor. Even though she loves the diversity of product, Linzi’s choice of favorite flower has never wavered.
“I will always be loyal to the rose,” Linzi says. “They’re classic, and my grandma loves them,” Linzi says.
Every creative project needs a muse. Grandma Ida fills that inspirational role for the Runaway Florist. Linzi inherited her grandma’s love for plants and, in return, named the van after her and ensured that “IDA” was embellished on the license plate.
The Runaway Florist did not begin its journey on an easy road. Linzi learned to drive her van in the middle of an intense snow storm. Later in the season, as the snow began to melt, she began to dream of farmer’s markets and festivals. Then, a global pandemic hindered those plans. During the first tumultuous months of launching her business, Linzi pivoted her business plan and physical location. She moved from the Denver-metro area to Parker and has delivered flowers for big days like Easter, Mother’s Day, and anniversaries, as well as for smaller, “just because” kind of days.
The degree of uncertainty that plagued the first months of her business would have scared the old Linzi. But something inside of her has grown since the advent of her business.
“I always have these ideas, like the flower truck, and then I get self-conscious or nervous and I don’t say yes to opportunities. I have tried to stop doing that,” Linzi says. “There’s all these what-if’s, but I’ve just started to ignore them and say yes.”
Every time we say yes to an opportunity, a seed is planted. Through taking risks, intentional care, and hard work, ideas like Linzi’s can blossom.
You can learn more about The Runaway Florist’s services and schedule at https://therunawayflorist.com/.