For Rugie and Effie, floristry is equal parts self-care and imaginative escape, a way to transform their creative energy into joy for others. The friends and owners of the New York florist Reflorish create arrangements that are celebrations, a way to mark the moments and memories that mean the most.
We recently invited Rugie and Effie to Papier’s Loft in New York, where we chatted about all things friendship, flowers and how to flourish.
We love the name Reflorish. Where did that come from and what does it mean to you?
Rugie & Effie: It took us quite a while to land on it. The definition is simply ‘to flourish again’ which resonates with us deeply. But, we also love how the (re) is representative of our first names, (R)ugie and (E)ffie. That was purely coincidence but it makes our love for the brand even more special. We essentially view Reflorish as a reminder of the two of us flourishing again and again.
How did you two meet and decide to start a business?
Rugie & Effie: We met through a mutual friend back in 2018? Our friendship developed organically over the years, and we became inseparable around the beginning of 2020. Like many others, our business was a product of our quarantine period. We decided to start a business after realising that we had a mutual interest in flowers and saw it as something we could share with our community through special occasions and the moments in between.
What’s a favourite special event or moment you’ve been involved in?
Rugie: Our workshops are very special to me, because we’re able to share our love of floral design with others. The energy is always really peaceful and we have so much fun doing them. It’s also exciting to see how proud participants are at the end. We’ve walked out of every workshop feeling like it was the recharge we needed at the time.
Effie: When we first started, we used to host pop ups in various Bed-Stuy restaurants. While we no longer host them, it was a very special time for me because we got to meet people and form new relationships. I never expected Reflorish to bring us so many beautiful friendships and connections.
Why are flowers such an important part of celebrating?
Rugie & Effie: I believe flowers are another way of materialising a celebration. They not only bring you that instant joy, but glancing at a bouquet or arrangement for days after reminds us that we’re experiencing a special moment that deserves a pause.
If you had to choose a piece of Papier for one another, what would it be?
Rugie: I would get Effie the Splodge list notepads for her desk so she’d be able to take quick notes during meetings.
Effie: I would get Rugie a gratitude journal for her morning and nightly prayers.
Where do you find your inspiration for floral arrangements?
Rugie: Mainly the flower market! We don’t always have a set plan and love to use floral seasonality and availability as a guide.
Effie: It’s also inspiring to see what other florists are creating. Sometimes their work can inspire us to use different flowers, mechanics, or colours.
What ways do you use pen and paper to stay organised?
Rugie: We are always jotting down notes and quantities for our flower orders, which allows us to keep track of what we will be using for upcoming arrangements and events.
Effie: Outside of Reflorish, my 9-5 life isn’t organised unless I’m writing everything down with a pen and paper. I keep a journal by my desk for notes, to do lists, and more. It’s the only thing that gets me through!
You’ve said that floral design is a form of self-care. How else do you practise self-care, and why is it important?
Rugie: Reading has become another form of self-care that I leaned into at the end of 2021. Effie and I have actually read a good deal of books together, which has been fun! Building a solid routine has been another form of self-care that keeps me grounded, especially in our busiest seasons. I love praying and writing every morning – it gives me a boost to start the day.
Effie: Where to start? Sometimes I think I over-indulge with self care but as a business owner, especially as one that still has their 9-5, self-care is essential. Most of the time though, my version of self-care will include food. Whether I’m staying in bed, watching TV and ordering food, taking myself out to eat, or gathering with my friends over food. You can never go wrong with a good meal.
Do you plan out a big arrangement or floral design for an event? Do notebooks ever play a part?
Rugie & Effie: Yes! We often take notes of the type of flowers and quantities that we plan to use. Once in a while we’ll draft a rough sketch of floral installations, especially if we’re debating on shape.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from starting a business?
Rugie: A lesson we’ve learned (but have yet to apply) is that we cannot do it all by ourselves.
Effie: Putting your creativity on display is uncomfortable, exciting, and scary. But you learn so much about yourself and your capabilities along the way.