All Michelle Webb wanted for her birthday at about age 13 was a bouquet of flowers.
“I’ve always loved flowers,” she said.
She and her husband, Jonathan, just opened Pink Lion Design Company in downtown Casper’s Atrium Plaza after running the floral business as a home-based operation since October 2018. While the shop’s offerings include custom arrangements, wedding flowers and delivery like many florists, these flowers never die. They’re all are made from wood, whether they’re hearty succulents or peony blooms of soft, delicate petals.
The shop’s grand opening 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday features appetizers and mimosas by Occasions by Cory and giveaways.
The material offers versatility ranging from rainbow colors to a bridal bouquet Webb created with antlers among the flowers.
“There’s just so many things that we can do, that I wasn’t previously able to do as a fresh florist. So that’s why we went this direction,” she said. “And then Casper didn’t have anything like this. We have fresh florists. So I wanted to bring something that was different, something that had a need.”
Webb once worked as a florist at a local shop, and it was her favorite job.
“I just loved working with flowers, I love doing floral design. It was my favorite,” she said. “Well you grow up and you move on. And we got married and had kids and, you know, just moved on. And I told my husband a few years ago, about three years ago, I really want to open a flower shop. That’s where I’m at. I really want to open a flower shop.”
She was looking for wholesalers when she stumbled across wooden flowers.
“And I fell in love,” she said. “And so we totally changed gears, and I started learning how to color them, and how to work with them and kind of made my own way of doing both of those things that make our flowers kind of unique.”
She spent about a year perfecting her methods of painting and working with the material until she knew she was ready to launch Pink Lion Design Company.
Business took off. The couple started looking for a storefront about eight months ago, until she walked into the Atrium Plaza storefront and thought, “Well, I feel like I’m home…”
The flowers are made from tapioca root. The more bark-like blooms come from the outside of the root, while the softest petals come from the middle portion, she said.
The wooden flowers solve every problem she’s encountered with fresh flowers, although there is a learning curve for the different process, she said.
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“But at the same time, I don’t have the luxury of walking over to a bucket and grabbing a flower and it’s done,” she said. “If I want to use that flower, I have to get it out, and then I have to either color it — or not, depending on what it needs — and then I have to put a stem on it, and then it can be used.”
Hand painting opens the door to just about any possibility, even black or metallic flowers. The shop stocks about 70 different types of flowers, from roses and sunflowers to daisies and marigolds.
“Pretty much we’ve got it,” Webb said. “And if I don’t have it, I can make it.”
More than a floral shop
Pink Lion Design Company’s offerings include custom arrangements, home decor and daily deliveries — most of which can ready within 24 hours and some the same day, Webb said. Weddings are their bread and butter of the business.
“And weddings, actually, I think are my favorite,” Webb said. “I love doing weddings.”
Flowers arrive two weeks before the big day, so the brides know exactly what they look like and it’s one thing they won’t have to stress about, she said. If anything isn’t right, there’s time to change it.
Webb even does recreations, like for a customer who gifted her mother with a version of her wedding bouquet from 30 years ago.
The florist otherwise doesn’t recreate. If someone shows a picture and says, “I want it to look like this,” she’ll let them know she can create something in the spirit of it, she said. She won’t even duplicate her own brides’ bouquets.
“Because that was their style,” she said. “I mean, we meet with our brides, we get a very, like, in-depth view of what their individual style is.”
Pink Lion Design Company offers classes ranging from short sessions on succulents to private classes where a brides and bridesmaids can build their own bouquets.
It was their goal from the beginning for the shop to feature more than flowers, Webb said. The storefront showcases creations of other designers with home-based businesses, which so far include local furniture design business The Sagebrush and handmade earrings.
Webb sports a pink lion tattoo on her arm, so when Webb and Jonathan were talking about names for the business, he suggested pink lion.
“So pink is obviously a color that radiates with my soul, and my husband’s always called me his lion,” she said.
“She’s feisty,” Jonathan said.
The second part of the name comes from their vision of the business to include many other goods from a variety of designers.