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Photograph: Kit Baker
Photograph: Kit Baker

Willow and Bear

Meet the beachside florist taking the guesswork out of buying fresh blooms
Written by
Emma Joyce

Keeping it simple and stylish, online flower shop Willow and Bear offers two weekly arrangements, in three different sizes. Owner Aimie Ryan works out of her 1960s bungalow in Cronulla, with her British bulldog Ralphie for company. She says the limited offering has the benefit of reducing waste and keeping the cost down for her customers. 

“You’ll never see me with gerberas or lilies!” laughs the 29-year-old. “I’m try to find unusual varieties and mix them with the classics. You can’t go past dahlias – everyone loves them. But it’s got to be locally sourced and seasonal.”

After years of working in advertising and events, including a stint as a stylist for Cleo and Cosmo magazines, Ryan made the decision to follow her dream shortly after giving birth to her son, Bear. Her days now start at 3.30am, when she travels to the flower markets, and she makes up arrangements in her garage studio before delivering bunches around Cronulla.

“I’ve only slept-in once, ever,” confesses Ryan. “My husband woke me up at quarter to five and I bolted out of the door, getting to the markets in a record 18 minutes.” Ryan’s charm is that she doesn’t take herself too seriously, and her bouquets are unstructured, natural and wrapped in brown paper and hessian. “You’ll never see me use cellophane or pink ribbon.”

Willow and Bear’s bouquets range from $30 for a petite bunch to $100 for an armful, with $10 delivery within the Shire and a $15-flatfee beyond that. Ryan also offers corporate installations, weddings and events, plus a subscription service for weekly, fortnightly or monthly deliveries.

“It’s a buzz when you get emails from people thanking you for the flowers. You think ‘Oh my gosh, I’m doing something right’. It’s nice to get that recognition.”

Willow and Bear delivers throughout Sydney, Monday to Friday. Order by 10am for same day delivery. 

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