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  • Writer's pictureTaylor Pascuzzo

A History of Penna Flower Co.

Once Upon a Time there was a girl, spoiler, it's me. I moved back home to Pennsylvania after my post-college try at living in another state. I needed a job and was open to any kind of honest work, as there were no jobs looking for an Asian Studies graduate. After applying to an insurance company and a sushi restaurant, I saw a flower shop and just happened inside. A sweet grandma popped into the front room and said, "Are you looking for anything in particular?" and I replied coyly, "Yes, a job!". She smiled and gestured one minute and disappeared to find the owner. I found out later someone had put their resignation letter in hours earlier. Thankfully, I don't believe in coincidence. I started soon after and quickly realized there was something more to this than just a job. With a resounding, "How did I not find this sooner?" choir in my head. Even in the first months I was there I knew I was going to have my own floral business and I knew I wanted formal training. After 7 months at the shop I found myself in Portland, OR at the Floral Design Institute. A few more shop experiences later I was out on my own as a bouquet vendor. There was support around me for whatever I wanted to do, but mostly, like any entrepreneur, I had confused my family until they saw it take hold.


My first time vending actual flowers, at the end of April in 2018 in at a firehall in Corsica, Pennsylvania where I enthusiastically vended alongside every MLM imaginable. I was immediately obsessed with vending and would go on to vend around 35 times through the end of that first year.


I treasure the time I spent prepping for shows, taking on more than I knew, and everything coming up roses. Okay, not everything coming up roses, but there were roses. There were many times I didn't sell enough to even cover my vendor fee, the time where I slept near the venue in a hammock covered with a tarp. But literally always, the community would rally around me. Vendors would become family, River Road Pottery, ML Screenprinting, and my Dad would give me extra hours of work, TJ and Julie would let me set up at Commonplace Coffee to sell off my unsold flowers and my friends would all show up to buy them. Customers and friends would drive to faraway locations just to purchase a bouquet. Customers became friends. This was the closest thing I've experienced to making friends the way you did as a child. I'm here to say, it was magic for me.


Ultimately weddings started knocking on my door and like most businesses I decided to follow the trail of money. Unlike vending shows all of this money was guaranteed and there was a lot more of it. While I loved the weddings I served and was happy with the work I created, leaving vending may be my largest regret in the course of the business.


Picking up the pieces of an event-based business in the wake of the pandemic was an interesting experience, trying to do it in a newer, bigger city was a joke. Time moved us all forward whether we were ready or not. While trying to figure it all out, I had made some pieces out of soon-to-be trash in my studio, see Eco Waste to High Fashion in Projects. I offered them up to a photographer and college friend, Heather Tabacchi. One of her clients who ended up wearing my Eco-Trash, Aliya Anthes would create an opportunity for me that changed the direction of my business. Aliya loved the piece I made and reached out last year to create more pieces for a photoshoot. This was a pivot into the Fashion Industry I couldn't have expected but always dreamed about.


Does this look familiar? This was the piece commissioned by Aliya, that combined my floristry with my passion for fashion. See more in Foray into Fashion under Projects.


If you read my About section, you know I've been obsessed with fashion for always. Many experts say that when you want to figure out what you are passionate about, look back to your childhood activities.  When I was 8 I actually started designing clothes and shoes on paper, the company even had a name and was co-owned with a bestie. It was there all along.

While I hesitated to "close" the retail business of Penna Flower Company, it went deeper than just the business. This was the first thing I had ever been good at in my life. I was fine at school, I knew I was a hard worker, but in this thing I was gifted. I had fully wrapped my identity in it. Even though I barely had any work coming in at the end, and I wasn't trying for more, it was easier to just say I had a small business. Easier than admitting that my business had died, and it was time for me to move on.


All of the culmination of these experiences have led me to where you find this website and my work. Reaching into the world of Art and Fashion, not really knowing where this will lead and what's next. However, overwhelmed with possibility, grateful for every opportunity, and just really glad to be here.


Thank you for being here with me, it means more than I can possibly express.


-Taylor

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