Sarah-Eva Marchese is bringing flower power to the digital world.
As a bride a few years ago, Marchese was focused on integrating floriography -- the art of communicating through the use or arrangement of flowers, also called "the language of flowers" -- into her wedding, but was frustrated by the lack of information among florists and online to meet her needs.
What's in the name?While 'the language of flowers' inspired Sarah-Eva Marchese to develop Mott & Spry, the company's name also has a deeper meaning.
The company's name pays homage to two key people in the floral movement: Aubry de La Mottraye, who was one of two people attributed to the language of flowers obsession in Europe in the 19th Century; and Constance Spry, a 20th Century floral designer known for working with celebrities and dignitaries.
Marchese notes the name and logo also honors her grandmother, who was also named Constance and provided inspiration to follow through with her idea to develop the company.
The logo is based on the shape of the Aztec symbol Nahui-Ollin, which marks the current age and, according to legend, started when the smallest god stepped into fire to start the sun in motion.
"For us, it symbolized that you can start as a very small business, but do big things," Marchese said.
Three years later, she and her husband Nathan are on the verge of launching the online site Mott & Spry, dedicated to providing the tools and information needed for people to understand and use floriography for their specific needs.
Unlike floral companies, Mott & Spry provides people with the tools and information needed to create personal messages through the use of flowers and floral arrangements.
"Most of the industry is focused on how to make pre-made arrangements, convenient and easy to buy," the St. Charles resident said. "Our goal is to empower people to actually make those design choices."
Floriogaphy is not a new concept. Popularized in Victorian England in the 19th Century, flowers, plants and floral arrangements are used to send coded message to the recipient, expressing feelings that were not openly discussed in Victorian society, according to Wikipedia.
Mott & Spry brings a 21st Century reboot to that era, providing online tools, videos and a database that explain the concept in simple terms and provides assistance in creating a floral message.
"We want to put it in real simple ways so that people who may not know a lot about flowers can suddenly talk about it in a clear way," Marchese said. "Being able to develop that kind of language was a really big thing for us."
Marchese stressed that Mott & Spry is not aimed to compete or replace traditional florists. While the site provides the knowledge and helps design arrangements, the customer can take that information to the florist, where the actual arrangement will be created.
"We believe the florists are really important. They know how to craft arrangements in special and powerful ways," she said. "But we also believe in the value of letting people develop their own floral style."
The site's first product will be the Cascade Bouquet Design Toolkit. Currently undergoing beta testing, it is a collection of tools, facts, and resources for a bride to design a bouquet in her personal style. Marchese said they sought 50 volunteers to test out the tool kit in November, and were overwhelmed by the response they received.
"The stories of frustration ... the story of 'I asked for this and got this' and 'I wished I knew how to do this,' and the people in the industry saying 'I don't know how to communicate with brides about this' ... that's where it clicked with us," she said. "We realized then that there was a real need for this."
Marchese said they plan to launch the tool kit in January, and as a bonus, a flowering fruit tree will be planted in Haiti with every tookit that is sold. Marchese notes the company is working with Food for the Poor, Hope for Haitians and CODEP Haiti to help the country residents who are still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake.
While the toolkit focuses on brides, plans are already under way to develop toolkits for other occasions.
"We're looking at other areas. We plan to beta test other kits for those who want to hand pick flowers for funerals, love, or another special reason," she said.
Find out more at mottandspry.com