Bellingham-based florist, Natalie Ransom of Pozie by Natalie is giving “flower power” a whole new meaning. While her talent for floral design is apparent in each arrangement she creates, she also puts her passion for petals to good work in her community through what she calls “floralanthropy.” From supporting local charities like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County to mentoring on the Whatcom Chamber of Commerce to serving on the board of Whatcom Women in Business, it’s no wonder why Natalie was voted ‘Best Florist’ in Bellingham Alive’s Best of the Northwest for 2016.
Get to know the story of how her business bloomed.
How did you first become interested in floral design?
I grew up as a farm girl in Houghton, Michigan in the rural Upper Peninsula. I live and work in Bellingham but I also still consider myself a die-hard ‘Yooper’ (a nickname for those from the “U.P.” or Upper Peninsula.) I’ve loved flowers for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, one of my earliest memories is that when I was sad or upset, I would crawl into the baby’s breath bushes around the farm.
My father, Chip taught me how to forage around the farm and use what was available to create beautiful things to sell at farmer’s markets and craft fairs. Flowers have always been a part of me. From my dad, I learned to love nature and the joy of sharing that beauty with others.
How does living in the Pacific Northwest inspire your floral design?
Because of my roots on the farm, I try to use what’s in season from local, sustainable growers as much as I can. I’m thankful to have high quality options among the farmers here in Whatcom County and the Pacific Northwest.
Each piece is bespoke. I augment what’s in season with my favorite addition, succulents, as well as an occasional exotic. I love to add elements of fiber, metal, glass, fruit, vegetables, and whatever sparks my creativity at the time.
Do you have a favorite flower?
I have a new favorite flower every 5 seconds and I continue to fall in love with them over and over again. It’s why I love what I do so much. I love working with both flowers and plants together. Succulents appear often in my work because they are rich and substantial. I make them into jewelry, and incorporate them into bouquets, pots, and other pieces whenever I can.
What’s one of the most memorable or meaningful floral pieces you’ve worked on?
My passion project for the past year has been a celebration of local bounty and the changing seasons. My friend Piper shared a vintage seasonal photo series on Facebook. I was instantly drawn to recreate them using all local, foraged product – a true representation of the unique beauty of each season. I asked my friend, Katheryn Moran Photography to help and recruited friends as models, including Piper. I’m thankful to have time and the support of other creative businesses in my area to accomplish projects like these.
You’ve made a name for yourself through your kind acts for the community. Tell us more about your “floralanthropy.” What inspired you to give back through your flower business?
My mother Cindy was a nurse and philanthropy was always a part of our life. She still volunteers at a hospice house in her retirement. My parents and I also did Meals on Wheels together in Michigan. My parents have always been very generous and helpful people. It delights me to use my floral work for what I call ‘floralanthropy.’ It’s been my honor to donate my work or give significant discounts in support of several Whatcom County charities, including providing floral styling for events, galas, and auctions for non-profits like Lydia Place, Boys & Girls Club of Whatcom County, and the Alzheimer’s Society of Washington.
Lydia Place is one of my favorite places to use floralanthropy. They provide housing, supportive services, advocacy, education, and raise awareness of the faces and causes of homelessness in the Whatcom County area. I can see the positive difference that they’ve made in our community. A young woman I met there is such a success story. She had been addicted to methamphetamine and became pregnant. She got involved in their programs and was able to control her addiction. She started attending school for nursing, but discovered she had an aptitude for math, so she switched to a surveying program that will allow her to have a stable profession at a living wage. She now has a three-year old son that she can provide and care for in the long-term. I love how you can see the good they are doing for so many.
I work with them where ever they are at, either through donations of my work or at wholesale cost. We work together to make events great like Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and other holidays, plus pieces for galas and fundraising events.
What’s your all-time favorite love story?
My parent’s love story is my all-time favorite.
In the late 1960’s, my parents were both hippies living in Colorado. They both worked at a Mexican restaurant and lived together in a tent with their two cats. To this day, Mexican is our favorite food. They’ve had a lot of adventures together in their life. They moved to Michigan and bought a farm together with almost no experience. They’ve created a wonderful home that they share with friends, community and school groups, making things like apple cider.
I admire them because they have such an exemplary partnership. They’ve never lost that spark. They’re affectionate. I couldn’t have a better model of what it means to really love someone, what it means to be in a relationship, and the give and take needed to make it work. They are both strong independent individuals and haven’t stuck to traditional gender roles. Everything hasn’t been sunshine and lollipops, but it’s a real relationship based in mutual respect and unconditional love. They are a team. They laugh together and have always worn ridiculous, awesome coordinating Halloween costumes every year. I didn’t appreciate the costumes when I was a kid, but now I can see it is just an example of their deep partnership. They’ll have been married for 42 years this September.