Transitioning into the Future
It’s been a heart-wrenching month. Over the past four weeks we’ve asked ourselves what we really want out of ourselves, out of Vault + Vine, out of life. We’ve examined our mission, shared our visions, considered how to achieve fair wages, and discussed flattening our internal hierarchy. Through all of this, two things became clear – that Vault + Vine could never return to pre-CoVid operations, and that it could not continue to support our remaining 21 employees.
We reopen this week with a significantly reduced staff, having said good-bye to 12 more of our staff members, some of whom have been with us since we were Falls Flowers. Some of those departures were voluntary. Some were difficult choices made on our end. We hope you will join us in showing these amazing humans gratitude for their service and impact on our lives at Vault + Vine by supporting the GoFundMe that we’ve set-up. Our goal is to raise $1,000 for each former staff member over the next 4 weeks. While we know that money is not balm for heartache, our hope is to help lessen the financial impact of separation.
Vault + Vine moving forward is the result of significant reflection, many conversations, and making challenging choices. We remain committed to providing you with beauty and respite through plants and flowers, while working to educate and bring our community together by promoting & providing increased access to human-plant interactions and working in solidarity with local organizations on food justice initiatives.
For now, things won’t look too different:
- Our floral designers will continue creating fresh, locally grown arrangements for intimate weddings & daily orders
- Café orders can be placed online or over the phone for pickup Thursday-Sunday, 8am-3pm
- Plants, flowers, & gifts will be available for pickup or delivery Thursday-Saturday, 8am-3pm
- And visit our parking lot pop-ups on Saturdays & Sundays, 11am – 3pm
With a staff of nine, we’re taking time to process recent changes and settle into new routines while keeping an eye towards the future, laying the foundation for greater community interaction via workshops (virtual & in-person). We’ll also be prioritizing self-care, which includes scheduling time to work together without the pressure of being open to the public. It’s important for us to consider the ways in which modern society and culture have conditioned us into becoming workaholics, chasing ever-moving targets of “getting more done” and “just a bit more money in the bank”. It’s time for us to step back and ask ourselves why we think the way we do, why we do what we do, why do we assign importance to some ideas over others? To consider self-care for ourselves as individuals and self-care for ourselves as a business.
As a business whose priority has never been profits, our immediate goal is to ensure that we can generate enough revenue to cover overhead and pay our staff living wages with real benefits (i.e.: company-sponsored health insurance, 401k with company matching, paid-time off, paid volunteering). Anything we generate above those expenses will be used for programming designed to benefit our community – from collaborating on permaculture food forests, to growing fruits and vegetables with students across the street at Thomas Mifflin School (…when they go back to school).
Some permanent changes you may notice over the coming weeks and months will include:
- Offering exclusively locally grown flowers in our floral designs
- Because of the time it takes to coordinate orders and harvesting, we will permanently be offering florals for pickup Thurs-Sun, and delivery Thurs-Sat
- Arrangements will vary greatly by season and availability – not all seasons provide large focal blooms, some seasons don’t provide blooms at all (we’re looking at you, Winter)
- Looking ahead, make sure to plan for rose-alternatives next Valentine’s Day!
- Reduction of gift items
- Why? To help streamline our operations and make space for more exciting ventures
- We’ll be working to sell down much of our non-plant inventory, including: jewelry, candles, cards, etc.
- Make sure to catch us at one of our pop-ups and snag some pay-what-you-wish treasures!
- Conversion of our café greenhouse into a permaculture garden
- Moving seating outside to create three-season outdoor seating
- Well, it was never really meant for seating…it’s a greenhouse!
Things to look forward to:
- More workshops, virtual and in-person
- Plant and flower therapy for kids and adults.
- Have a request? Have an idea? We’d love to make it happen!
- Art Gallery
- Starting with our own talented creatives & branching out to feature Philly’s incredible array of local artists.
- Down the road: dreaming of a backyard mural project…
- Vendor pop-ups
- Stock up on your favorite vendors, for a limited time
- Providing a platform for featuring new vendors, prioritizing Black- & Indigenous-owned businesses
There’s so much more to share and explore with you. We look forward to the journey and hope that you will join us in discovering what the future holds.
In love and gratitude,
Peicha & the Vault + Vine team