Literary publicist turned florist Heather Maguire knows how hard it is to, as she puts it, completely shift “careers and gears.” After 10 years working for Random House in Manhattan, Maguire swapped Sunday night pre-work week panics for all-nighters filling orders for her growing business, Heather Maguire Floral & Botanical Design, and she couldn’t be happier.
“I was always jealous of people who said they loved what they did,” Maguire said. “I did enjoy my publishing career, but it was only a job, and I wanted to be home with my girls.”
In fact, it was her love for her family that inspired her pursuit of a botanical career. As a child she would spend time with her mother and grandmother in the garden and working with flowers brings those memories back.
“It’s a lot like cooking,” Maguire said. “When your grandmother passes on a recipe, you make it with love for someone you love; its tradition – what I learned came from family and passion.”
“Green” in the professional world of florists, Maguire sought to learn through classes at the New York Botanical Garden and at a shop in Bronxville, . Supported by her family, she took a major pay cut and commuted while her husband worked nights.
Years later, Maguire and her family moved to Westchester. Around Valentine's Day last year, a local flower shop, Posies, went out of business and she saw the need for a replacement.
When her grandmother passed away last October, she knew it was time for her dreams to materialize. “It’s a way to carry on my grandmother’s legacy and energy, to keep her alive,” Maguire said.
In an economy that often fosters a dog-eat-dog business model, Maguire chooses to embrace reciprocation: She pairs her arrangements with items from other local shops, such as gifts from Somer Custom Framing and Gift Shop and goodies from Sweet Delites Pastry Shop. “Collaborating boosts local economy and also makes it easier for the consumer to create a more unique gift,” Maguire said.
She also incorporates her family, offering her folk artist mother’s handmade wooden birds as additions to arrangements and adorns the backgrounds of gift cards with her sister’s Vermont native flower prints.
As another way to spice up a gift, Maguire employs local artisans, such as Sue Clayton of the Katonah Arts Center, for unique pottery and vessels, along with found vintage containers.
And these gifts aren’t just for your sweetheart.
Reminiscent of the excitement of passing out Valentine’s cards in school, Maguire encourages Valentine’s Day to serve as an opportunity to share appreciation for anyone in your life.
“A lot of people get left out on Valentine’s Day,” Maguire said. “It’s nice to rekindle that childhood attitude and give your buddies something cheerful.”
Orders can be placed through Maguire's website. Valentine’s Day orders must be placed by Feb. 11.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated incorrectly that Heather Maguire worked in Posies Flower Shop.