the petaler sf.

the petaler sf | sfgirlbybay

the petaler sf is a San Francisco floral design business run and owned by Rebekah Northway — think of it as gorgeous flowers on the go. this is just the coolest, most enterprising idea i’ve seen in a while. cindy and her camera caught up with rebakah and her sweet little van and we asked her how she got the the petaler sf started. local san francisco restaurants have been the cornerstone of rebekah’s floral portfolio, with offices and private residences rounding out her weekly accounts, but she does floral design for a variety of weddings and events as well — “they are the icing on the cake, as my weekly accounts provide a steady stream of business”. the petaler sf also takes her van to the san francisco streets and hosts a pop-up flower shop. let’s go on the road with the petaler sf.

the petaler sf | sfgirlbybay

When did you start your floral business?
Approximately 8 years ago. I was working at Limon, and we moved in to a new, larger space that was begging for flowers. I expressed as much to the owners, and they left it up to me to do it. Without any training or experience, I got my start and made the most of it. With the restaurant community being relatively tight-knit, it was not long before I started acquiring additional restaurant accounts. Before long, I realized I had started my own business.

the petaler sf | sfgirlbybay

the petaler sf | sfgirlbybay

How did you decide to go mobile and take your floral business on the road?
Out of necessity. Due to the nature of my accounts and the size of my materials, I outgrew the little SUV that I drove all over the city with 10 foot branches strapped to the roof rack. I got the truck two years ago, and I cannot imagine how I would do my day to day work without it at this point. Additionally, I knew that this truck would offer the flexibility to have sidewalk sales and pop-ups, an opportunity to share my work and bring some color to the streets of San Francisco.

the petaler sf | sfgirlbybay

the petaler sf | sfgirlbybay

How can people find you and your mobile floral van?
Instagram has been my social media outlet of choice, it expresses my work tastefully while allowing me to post announcements to a broad audience.

the petaler sf | sfgirlbybay

the petaler sf | sfgirlbybay

Are most of your arrangements created from locally foraged plants and flowers?
A large percentage of what I buy is local and foraged, considering that the bulk of my work is branch based. There is a bounty of goods that grow in California and we’re very spoiled, but that doesn’t mean I’m always able to pass up a peony from Oregon, or a tulip from Holland.

the petaler sf | sfgirlbybay

Do you shop the San francisco flower mart? How early do you get there?
I do shop at the flower mart at least four days a week and try to arrive by 5:30 AM. Depending on what the day calls for, I might arrive earlier or later. We are so fortunate to have the San Francisco Flower Mart in our city. Both as a member of the floral industry and for the public, the Flower Mart brings a wonderful variety of flowers and foliage sourced locally, domestically, and internationally. There are not many places like it, and I encourage everyone to check it out and support this piece of SF history. (note: it is open to the public!)

the petaler sf | sfgirlbybay

Maybe a silly question, but I’m curious — where do you park your Petaler SF van in San Francisco at night?
I’ve been parking it on the street and have been pretty fortunate so far. I have mixed feelings, as I’ve had my eyes and ears open for a suitable space to rent parking. However, when I’m wrapping up at the end of the day, so many people approach me to express their curiosity and delight for my little van that it would make me a little sad to take that character out of the neighborhood.

the petaler sf | sfgirlbybay

• all photos by cindy loughridge for sfgirlbybay.

Comments
26 Responses to “the petaler sf.”
  1. Femke D. says:

    What a lovely van!! Love the grey color and the logo text on de side! <3
    xo Femke
    http://www.somewheresomethingblog.com

  2. oh my gosh, i have always loved the idea of a mobile floral truck but have actually never seen one in person. what a beautiful business!

  3. Monica says:

    Just lovely!

  4. Gabriela says:

    Victoria,

    How awesome and unique this is! Although I am not surprised because SF is a place where creativity flourishes…and it’s contagious. Thanks for sharing Petaler with all of us.

  5. Vicky says:

    OH! lovely, beautiful! this is a great idea! I want this businnes! congrats!

  6. l'oliphant says:

    I really love the idea of a floral van!!!

  7. this may be the cutest thing i’ve ever seen.
    it makes my heart hurt.

  8. Sarah says:

    so cute and awesome business/story. I can’t wait to visit the SF flower market one day:)

  9. Anuschka says:

    Oh my how I love this! Cute van, great idea!

  10. Ana says:

    Flower trucks are just so sweet. I love seeing this one around the city. And there are even more popping up everyday. I’m imagining the idea of a flower truck as with the ice cream truck. It comes to your street, it rings the bell and all guys storm out to buy flowers for their ladies. :)

  11. Danielle says:

    What a cute and GENIUS idea.

  12. This is so very awesome!!

  13. Cindy says:

    Rebekah of The Petaler SF is so awesome, kind and talented.

    Ana…..brilliant idea about a flower truck driving around the neighborhood like the ice cream man.

  14. Aracely Coronado says:

    Seriously the cutest idea I’ve seen in a while. Warms my heart, and makes me miss home. I’m in Philly, and what a great idea to see around here. Love that Rebekah was able to get her license plate too!

  15. maggie says:

    What a beautiful idea! I think someone needs to start doing something like this in LA.

  16. Susanne says:

    Absolutely fabulous! Love, love, love it. The idea, the van, the flowers…..
    I can see one like that driving around here in Amsterdam!

  17. Karen | Char Co. says:

    I love her business idea! The truck is perfect. I wish we had one around here!

  18. Andria Sato says:

    My heart flutters every time I see The Petaler truck! It’s often I will see Rebekah carrying her gorgeous annangements into restaurants around town or having a pop-up, selling arrangements out of the truck… she has such a special, inspiring business.

  19. What a dream! Hunting this down once I finally get to San Francisco!

  20. Jocelyn Casey says:

    This has to be the best thing I have ever seen! I can imagine Rebekah makes a lot of people very happy. Thank you for sharing this, Victoria!

  21. Tara says:

    I absolutely adore Rebekah and her perfectly
    sweet Petaler Van! Great story on a great business!

  22. Megan says:

    as a buddy florist to be this is really inspiring! love the idea, what a awesome lady!
    this is a fantastic post!

  23. Kara Ashbaugh says:

    How wonderful to hear Rebekah is “blossoming” in SF! She was a student of mine in elementary school! :)

  24. yay Rebekah! what a lovely, lovely piece!!! xo

  25. Kyle says:

    I loved reading this story! Rebekah is an amazing, hard-working woman!

    Having recently attended a wedding in Mendocino with her florals, I can say she is quite talented :)

    Great interview!

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