Counting Happy Customers Not Stems at UltraViolet
I wanted to see for myself how Fabio Ripoli designs the most exquisite and unique arrangements. He's been doing this now at the shop he owns at 123131st Street for close to 10 years, and every time I see (or am lucky enough to receive) an UltraViolet creation, I'm dazzled.
So I asked him what makes him so good at this. "I always like to please people," he says. "Always trying to do something different." Im thinking that lots of people may have those same intentions and the result is far from enchanting. "Nothing goes out the door unless we love it," he adds.
For the first time, this spring Fabio traveled to the Netherlands to see for himself where 80% of his stems originate. There, the largest flower auction in the world is held in a huge greenhouse. It's where what Fabio selects twice a week through his local distributor is cut that morning and flown to DC the following day. One of the reasons that his bouquets last so long.
The other 20% come from local distributors, primarily from Wollam Gardens.
Today when I stopped by, Fabio was working on an arrangment with only the parameters of price, vase size and color scheme. He went to work starting with Kiwi Branches.
As we chatted, he went downstairs for some Coral Charm Peonies and added them to the Amaryllis, Hellebores and Thistle.
Looked finished to me but just then, the customer came in as he was adding the finishing touch: the subtle two-petaled Siamese Calla Calla Lily!
"We have no recipes here," explained Fabio. "I always start with a vision, but each arrangement is unique. We never count stems, it's really all about making the customer happy."