By Laurie Leavy—
At a time when some businesses are downsizing, or even closing, one Irvington business is expanding their offerings, while also collaborating to help other small business owners.
Floral designer and owner Minoo Hersini, of Au Ciel Flowers & More, has opened a holiday boutique featuring artisanal goods for women, children and home, in addition to her floral designs.
Hersini is teaming with her niece, Nilou Safinya, as they work together to find local and international artists with unique products and offerings.
“My niece and I decided that rather than working with major companies to find items, we found people that are hands-on, have small businesses and we are happy to have them included here,” said Hersini. “Thankfully, my customers have continued to support my business through COVID-19 and now they can find unique gifts for everyone on their holiday list.”
The curated and artistic items include throw pillows and blankets, cashmere items, candles, containers, linens, decorative items, artist handmade jewelry, baby clothes, toys, and more including exotic plants and stunning floral arrangements.
Hersini and Safinya initially began working together three years ago to produce a video for the Au Ciel website. Safinya’s career is in film production, and, while COVID-19 has caused a slow-down in the industry, the duo found they were great at collaboration.
“Expanding a business during this time can be a challenge, but we wanted to find a way to continue working together and be creative,” said Safinya. “Given this year, there is a real sense of excitement with our featured artists. Everyone is trying to keep moving and new opportunities like this are great for people looking for silver linings. We’ve been finding the right people who are beautiful artists that we are working with directly.”
Au Ciel Flowers was established more than 35 years ago in Scarsdale, before settling at 50 S. Buckhout Street. The shop name loosely translated from French is “of Heaven” or “to the sky.”
“Our space is quite large so there is plenty of room to move around and we are doing what all responsible retailers are doing– UV light disinfection, sanitizers, air purifiers and, of course, masks,” Hersini added. “We also offer cute disposable masks in case shoppers forget theirs, and our customers are loving them!”
The boutique is open Thursday through Saturday from 11a.m. to 6 p.m, with expanded hours on demand.
“As artists, we look at challenges as opportunities and it’s enjoyable to overcome those hurdles,” Safinya said “Our priority was to start a boutique in the space to find joy and spread joy.”