By Sabrah Shipman
Working conditions on flower farms are often far from rosy. Many workers work seven days a week, receive very low wages, have asthma from breathing in the pesticide fumes and often don’t have access to medical care. Because of this, local Tyler flower shop, Moss, only seeks to buy fair-trade flowers.
Moss is the vision of a mother-daughter duo, Paige McGuffey and Meagan Lissner. They does flower arrangements, plants, home decor, gifts — all of the things normal flower shops do. However, different from most shops, Moss only purchases fair-trade flowers.
Fair-trade means buying local first. Moss understands that it can be hard for people to purchase local or handmade products. This is why Moss makes it possible to buy fair-trade flowers in Tyler. Instead of ordering cheap flowers from markets that are unfair to their employees, Moss seeks to order their flowers from local businesses.
“We are pretty particular about where we order our flowers. We don’t go to market and just go shopping for some pretty stuff to resell at our shop,” said co-owner McGuffey.
Moss is also adored because of its unique style. The arrangements as well as the shop interior itself are different from the rest. Lissner and McGuffey seek to create arrangements that are far from the norm. Arrangements that are quirky and unique.
Beth Michiemo, an employee at Moss, is well-versed about the style of the flower shop.
“It’s different. Different atmosphere, different products — things like that. Things aren’t neatly put together. We try to do more wild and more free-looking [arrangements],” said Michiemo.
Before Moss, McGuffey worked in interior design and Lissner worked in various other flower shops around Tyler. When the opportunity to open Moss came up, neither of them could say no. They combined their skills and opened the shop in 2012.
“We wanted to do something together, and we wanted it to be meaningful,” said McGuffey.
For two years now, once in the fall and once in the spring, Moss has put on an event called Music, Makers and Moss. The name of the event says it all. It’s a gathering of Tyler artisans doing what they love. This year’s event was held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 8 at Moss.
Michiemo put in many hours preparing for the event.
“We actually have a lot of local artisans. Pottery makers, jewelry makers and a couple of high-end thrift stores that are coming to bring in their clothes. We are just trying to support local businesses. They bring all of their stuff here and we just help them display it, help them network and get recognized,” said Michiemo.
The event is virtually an open house for Moss. They offer flower arranging classes, the artists of the works that are featured in the shop come in and demonstrate; even the designers of the jewelry Moss features are at the event. There is also live music, food and more.
Employee Jacqueline O’Neill also put in countless hours preparing for the event.
“It’s just getting our artists together, letting them have a place to sell their wares, letting them create relationships and build support with other artists in the community,” said O’Neill.
The event had such a great turnout, it was hard to walk through the shop without bumping into someone.
Moss offers a variety of classes for any occasion. During the summer, they offer weekly flower arranging classes, and throughout the rest of the year, they have a variety of seasonal classes. Moss believes in having classes because they are opportunities for people to educate themselves. Prices range from $25 to $45 per person.
Moss is located at 2210 Three Lakes Parkway Tyler, TX. They can be reached at 903-787-8822. More information can be found at www.welovemoss.com.