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BusinessCapital Florist Wants to Make Your Dreams Come True

Capital Florist Wants to Make Your Dreams Come True

Capital Florist Wants to Make Your Dreams Come True

Photos by Ali Matthews


Snow was still on the ground when I met Carla Carbajal at the Art House Café on Somerset Street West. I was attending one of her workshops where three brides-to-be, and their mothers, were learning all about how to create their own hand-tied wedding bouquets.

Owner of Capital Florist, Carla is Ottawa’s newest floral designer, but with a modern twist. She has no storefront or regular hours, but with the power of a gorgeous Instagram account, personalized service and a steady stream of referrals, business is booming.

Capital Florist is only 6 months old, but Carla’s near decade of experience in the flower business has a lot to do with the early success.

“I have been working at a couple of flower shops for the past 9 years on and off while finishing university and growing my professional career, but I have always known that flowers are my calling,” explained Carla. “I am very fortunate to have a very ambitious life-partner [Rob Martel] and a very supportive family and friends circle.”

Carla’s floral know-how was evident from the start of our workshop. She walked us all through the bouquet basics - from when to order our flowers, which flowers are best for your look, and how to build dimension and depth. While the brides began selecting their blooms, the mothers in the room took much joy in asking Carla about the best ways to keep certain flowers fresh, which was met with either surprise or self-satisfaction.

Then came the moment that sets Carla’s style apart as a florist – she doesn’t actually have one.

“I don't have a style - I work in the wedding industry, I cannot have a style,” explained Carla. “Every wedding, every bride, every couple is different, so I need to adapt to their style and needs to make their dream day a reality.”

True to form, as the workshop progressed each bride crafted a unique bouquet that Carla helped shape to meet their vision. One, dubbed ‘cottage chic,’ was simple and loose, comprised mostly of eucalyptus and other greenery with pops of white flowers. Another was almost a perfectly round bouquet of red roses, hydrangeas and carnations. Both bouquets a representation of the bride’s style but with expert guidance along the way.

This workshop also represented one of Carla’s unique offerings – the option to Do-It-Yourself. While this is not typical of most flower shops, Capital Florist prides itself in catering to their client, even when it comes to saving money.

“Everything that has to do with my business is done by me,” said Carla. “Every couple receives personalized service and pricing, there is not cookie-cutter formula for my business.”

Capital Florist is also becoming the choice of many community-conscious brides. After weddings or events with multiple arrangements, Carla donates them to nursing homes and if you attend a flower crown workshop, extra crowns are donated to the children at CHEO.

Carla credits her mother for her own passion for charity. “My mom used to dress up as a clown and host parties for less fortunate children back in El Salvador or go sing at nursing homes. So it is something that is in me, to always give a little bit of what I have to those who would not have it otherwise.”

Carla’s mother even took part in the wedding bouquet workshop, helping pass around foliage that was out of reach and creating her own arrangement for a friend. With such a strong relationship with her mother, it is no surprise that Carla’s next workshop takes place on Mother’s Day.

This Mother’s Day Sunday, May 13th you can attend a Flower Crown Tea Party from 4:30pm – 6:30pm at The Vanitea Room (551 Somerset St. West.) For $50 all your supplies are included and of course, you walk away with a beautiful crown. After all, who deserves a crown more than your own mother?

Once that workshop is done, Capital Florist will begin its first full-fledged wedding season that will surely see Carla making all her bridal couples’ floral visions come to life. If Capital Florist can survive that, there will be no limit to it’s success.

“The ultimate goal is to open up a studio, where I can showcase my work and host my workshops, as well as a place to call my second home,” said Carla. “If that never happens, it's okay, I am already leaving out my dream!”

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