A flower shop and craft classroom is coming to Upshur Street

A flower arrangement made by She Loves Me owner Holley Simmons. (photo used by permission)

by Yuliya Panfil

A flower and plant shop called She Loves Me will be opening at 808 Upshur Street in the next few months. The space was previously Philip's Shoe Repair for more than 51 years before the owners retired and the shoe repair shop closed last November. 

Holley Simmons, owner of She Loves Me (named after the childrens’ petal picking game, “she loves me, she loves me not”), said the shop will primarily sell flowers and plants, but also gifts such as botanical candles, skincare products, books and jewelry. She Loves Me will offer a bouquet subscription service, flower delivery and floral arrangements for weddings and other events. 

Holley Simmons (photo used by permission)

Upstairs, Simmons will host various craft classes through The Lemon Collective, a workshop and creative space she co-founded and which until recently operated at 3015 Georgia Avenue in Park View. Classes will be in the $30-$40 range and will span various art forms including terrarium making, flower arranging, pottery and calligraphy. Simmons will teach some of the classes, and community members will help teach others.

“We’re hoping to educate people and delight them with flowers,” Simmons said of the shop. "Flowers are meant to bring joy and I want the store to be the embodiment of that. It’ll be a place to come pick something up and learn something.”

Simmons added that she’s hoping to keep prices affordable and accessible, "It’s not a luxury shop by any means,” she said.

Andrew Dana, owner of Timber Pizza across the street, purchased the 808 Upshur building from Philip Calabro when Calabro closed his shoe repair shop. Dana then approached Simmons with the flower and craft shop concept, in which he is a partner. 

"I want Petworth and Upshur street to be the coolest street in the city, and I just loved the idea of being able to get fresh cut flowers on the block,” Dana said. "Holley is the best in the game, so it was a no-brainer."   

Simmons started her career as a journalist. She wrote for the Washington Post while spending her evenings and weekends arranging flowers and making terrariums, first as a hobby, then as a side job. She says that at one point she realized she was making more money from the flower gig than from the newspaper job, so she quit the Post three years ago and co-founded The Lemon Collective. She Loves Me offers her the opportunity to set up a retail space for the first time.  

“Once [Dana] showed me the space, I was like oh my god, yes,” Simmons said. “I just jumped at it. It wasn't something I was searching for necessarily but when the opportunity came up, it was perfect. I trust [Dana] implicitly, he’s not only a good friend but a great business owner.”

Simmons says her dream is to offer flowers and products from all over the world. She clarified that by “around the world” she does not necessarily mean importing — many local farms grow flowers that originate from other countries, and she will try to source and curate these flowers.  

“The concept — this is my dream and we’ll see how easily I can pull it off — is that I want the shop to be very global,” she said. "I want soap from France and candles from Italy. I want people to walk in and feel like they’re in a different country. As part of monthly flower delivery, we’ll do country of the month club to introduce people to a global, unique selection of flowers and products.”

The shop’s hours will tentatively be 11am - 7pm Tuesday through Friday, 10am - 8pm on Saturday, and 10am - 5pm on Sunday. Simmons says she hopes to open by the end of the year, but will certainly be open by Valentines Day 2019. And for those looking for a gig, she is looking to hire floral designers and retail managers.

To learn about upcoming classes, sign up for their mailing list or visit The Lemon Collective website. Simmons says the calendar is light right now because she is between spaces, but will become more populated once she moves to 808 Upshur.