Sticks & Stones Floral Design
You’ve probably seen a Sticks & Stones arrangement on Instagram or maybe out in the wild – they are hard to miss and easy to remember. Kate and Harry are the lovely owners of this local business and they have an incredible eye for design and embody the meaning of community.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
At S&S we design bespoke pieces with florals and other foraged organic elements to reflect the impermanent beauty of our natural Ontario surroundings. Prior to the pandemic we focused primarily on special events like weddings and editorials but we were required to pivot our offerings to fit the needs of a changing market in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. S&S now has a full online store with gifts and florals out for delivery or pickup all week long.
What do you love about being a small business owner in Hamilton?
The Hamilton community is our business’s heartbeat. We live and work in East Central Hamilton and we hand deliver every order that isn’t picked up from our home/studio doorstep. We wouldn’t have survived the pandemic financially if it weren’t for the vibrant and inspiring people who we all consider our neighbours. We also love the city itself, we are inspired by the landscape and the wild trails and waterfalls. We can’t imagine calling another place home.
What makes an arrangement from Sticks & Stones special?
Our business logo, designed by Hamilton graphic artist Julie Fazooli, features a cute vulture that is symbolic of much of what S&S is about. Our arrangements are a little weird sometimes, we’ve been told that you can spot an S&S arrangement from a distance because of the quirky twigs or foraged grasses that we add at the end, often with signature hand-tied raffia bows. We try to keep most of the elements local if not foraged from our own backyard or some friend’s property who has let us trim their rosehip bushes in exchange for a free bouquet. We aim to get personal with our pieces and love to know any details about the recipient you’d like to share when creating something customized.
Each of our orders also comes with a handwritten poem fragment from an Indigenous Canadian author. Our current inspiration is Mohawk poet Tekahionwake / E. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913) who enriches the visual elements of our work with her rich detailing of Ontario landscapes, both observed and imagined. Lifting such voices up is an honour for us as we seek to meaningfully acknowledge our settler presence on Indigenous land. Planning is also underway in enabling us to donate a percentage of every order to support local work being done in Indigenous arts and culture.
Harry and Kate met in 2017 under memorable circumstances while studying together at a death doula class in downtown Toronto. Since then our paths have converged via shared curiosity and work within deathcare and end-of-life care, and from these experiences we have grown in compassion for those navigating grief and loss. We take great pride and care in crafting our sympathy arrangements and funeral/memorial pieces and, as with flowers themselves, for us these occasions serve as a reminder to cherish all that we have that is so very fleeting in this life.
Any advice to small business owners wanting to open up shop in Hamilton?
To those who are looking to set up shop in Hamilton we would encourage you to learn about the city’s history and get involved with current community initiatives, as well as visit and support other local makers/vendors here! In this economic climate we would also advise having a couple backup plans, being open to collaborate, and investing in the time necessary to play and create.
Besides yourselves, who are some of your other favourite makers in the city?
Some local faves of ours would be The 541, Billie Flower Co, Dorothy May Photography, Hoot Furnishings, Playhouse Cinema, Sand and Fireworks, and Wolfdottir.