BY SHALEEN DESTEFANO
Using the art of nature for inspiration, Jessica Sparzak, owner of Pickletown Flower Co. creates both fresh blooms as well as dried bouquets to enjoy for months on end. Loving all things flowery and just in time for Mother’s Day, we caught up with Jessica to learn more about her passionate and unconventional journey into floral design.
Jessica, tell us what inspired you to venture into floral design. What were you doing before you started Pickletown and how did you come up with such an unique name?
While living in NYC, I worked for a non-profit and would often be tasked with designing florals for our fundraising events. I would walk through the flower market a few blocks from my office and find myself swooning and daydreaming. People would see my floral designs at our events and I quickly began booking floral work on the side. It was always a small side hustle, more of a hobby than anything else, but it gave me such joy. After my daughter was born in 2011, I decided to leave my job and be a full-time mama. I continued doing small floral jobs on the side and considered going to floral design school at the New York Botanical Gardens. However, before I had the chance to attend, my husband took a job in Colorado and we moved in 2012.
About a year after moving to Colorado, my son was born and we bought a little farmhouse in Littleton/Centennial. It was located in this special area formerly nicknamed “Pickletown.” The area earned its cute name around the turn of the century. More info here: https://www.littletongov.org/my-littleton/littleton-history/other-topics/pickletown
We fell in love with the history of Pickletown and since we inherited a very large garden on our ½ acre plot, we decided to keep the history of pickletown alive by sharing our garden with neighbors and friends. Our “Sharing Garden” was a source of community and connection to the earth. We hosted farm dinners several times a summer and taught friends and neighbors how to garden. We named it Pickletown Farm. In 2017 I began dreaming of starting a floral company. Being a mom of two and having a husband who traveled a ton, I knew that I needed to be creative with how I structured it.
The idea for a mobile flower shop struck a chord with me. It was a random idea, but one that I latched onto quickly. At the time there were only a few in the country and they were quite different from what I envisioned. As I thought through all of the details, the name was the hardest part for me. Whenever I talked about it with friends everyone always said the same thing, “Jess, YOU are Pickletown.” Everyone knows you that way. I talked about Pickletown ALL of the time and was constantly looking for ways to build community, share my home and passion and connect people to the earth. It was perfect… My company does the same thing. Flowers are a way to connect people, to provide community and love when we are far away. We source flowers locally whenever we can and we highlight our local farmers. (I started off growing a significant amount of flowers on our farm in the very beginning as well). Pickletown not only sells flowers, we also provide floral experiences. It’s my favorite part of the company —seeing people oooo and ahhhh over natural beauty. Exposing them to things they’ve never seen before. Bringing a flower bar experience to their private events and watching people be enamored by it all. I love that.
I am not a “trained” floral designer. I took one 2-hour class back in NYC. I learned a ton in that class and then did my own style from there. Several things inspire my designs: uniqueness, innovation and longevity. I want people to experience these qualities for themselves. Most of the floral industry is motivated and dictated by the wedding industry. Pickletown is not. Since we are not a wedding-centric floral company, we can focus our energies and designs on whatever we choose. I search far and wide for interesting blooms. During the Colorado growing season, we source the majority of our blooms locally. We are now collaborating with a farm in Boulder to grow specific flowers just for us!
Our designs flow from our sense of style and thoughtfulness for our customers. I want people to have a range of experience with our flowers. We include Delicate, Long-Lasting and Everlasting product in our Signature style.
I’m also big on doing my own thing. Sure, I look at other designers and trends, but I often think that many florals look the same. (Again, this is due to the fact that weddings are focused on trends.) With Pickletown, if there’s a flower I love or a color that captures me, I go with it. Our “tag line” is “Flowers are Nature’s art.” That’s how I see it. The flowers are the art… so I find ways to highlight them and follow their lead.
We are slowly getting back into the swing of things with the truck. I pretty much shut it down in 2020 since Covid made it challenging. We are getting our calendar set for Spring/Summer/Fall. We’re aiming to be out every weekend throughout Denver, Golden and Littleton.
Yes! Our truck is available for events.
What advice would you give other mothers looking to start their own business?
First of all, clarify your passions. Make sure that the “thing” you’re going after is what you want to give yourself to. It’s hard work to build a business. It’s like having another child! Second, go easy on yourself. You won’t be able to “do it all.” I’m a delegator by nature. I find people to come alongside me and help. I ask for help. Get comfortable with that. You’ll need to build a village around you. Third, IGNORE the naysayers. They don’t get to influence you. They don’t have your back. So don’t give them any of your attention or power. Fourth, Keep Going! Be persistent and have confidence in what you are doing. (Point number two is probably the most important of all of these. You have to have help.)
The community of female entrepreneurs in Colorado are known for their unending support for one another. Have you found this to be true for you? What other local businesses have you worked with or would like to work with?
TRUTH. I have loved working with and being supported by She Grows, Reverie Fields, Golden Roots Salon, Cedar Hair Studio, Tend, Dante Perozzi, The Conscious Merchant, The Vintage Label, Ashley Joon (artist), Reese & Co, Curate, and so many others. These women are strong and fierce. I appreciate their work ethic and honesty.
More of everything. 🙂 More pop ups, more events, classes/workshops, installations. I’m highly driven and motivated to see this flower company grow. To see more beauty all around us.
We’re collaborating with She Grows this year for farm tours and experiences. That will be fun and exciting! We’re bringing floral forward local brands into the shop — artists, basket/vase artisans, a tea brand… It’s all intentional and focused on florals by highlighting local brands. I’m so excited for these collaborations. Starting in April, we’ll highlight new artists or makers each month.
Additionally, in June, we’re rolling out a fabulous new collection of flowers in collaboration with Rhys James. We’ll be offering Birth Month Bouquets with illustrations by Rhys. His work is amazing and I can’t wait to share it with our customers and fans. Per usual, I don’t like to be hemmed in by the norm, so the birth month flowers will not be traditional by any means. Rhys and I have worked together to determine our monthly flowers according to what is available in North America. We’ll release the bouquets + art by the 20th of each month for the following birth month. If you can’t tell….. I’M REALLY EXCITED for this!
Shop Pickletown Flower Co. at the Inside Free Market on Blake Street or visit them at pickle.town for more information regarding booking their truck and how to find their various pop-ups in and around Denver!