By Emily Glory Peters
A busy shop is a thing of beauty, and Leonora Moss in Sierra Madre is certainly both. Nicely crammed with all things flowering and fairy-like, this high-end florist has called the foothill town home since 1997—and like many Sierra Madre businesses, is a family affair.
“My mom and business partner, Judith Branley, ran a flower business out of a studio in our home, so I was always around flowers,” explains Lorie Westmoreland, who owns the shop alongside mom and dad with help from staff Jill Forder and Cami Ryder. Leonora Moss even borrows its forename from Westmoreland’s grandmother while the “Moss” is self-explanatory—and Westmoreland prefers to let the plants do the talking.
“I let the flowers and foliage tell me how they want to be used. I look at a tight flower and envision it as it changes to a full blown bloom when placing it in the vase,” she says, noting how she prefers to put a twist on floral trends.
“Even though Judith (mom), Jill and I take different approaches to our designs, we all pull our inspiration from the season and nature. People can tell our work is Leonora Moss.”
These unique touches show around the shop, a garden-themed studio flowing with what Westmoreland refers to as “the extras”: handmade gifts, art prints, even foodstuffs.
Flowers are everywhere, but an open studio in the back lets visitors get in on the magic, from delicate boutonnieres to extravagant sprays. It’s one way of keeping connected to clients—an essential difference between shopping local versus ordering flowers from big chains, according to Westmoreland.
“Right now people are very aware of the ‘shop small’ movement. Supporting small business is vital to keeping small towns alive and unique—and choosing a local florist will always give you a personalized experience,” she says. Knowing a client’s name, their families, likes and dislikes all inform the floral spectacles Westmoreland and her team create.
“We love to hear the details. It doesn’t matter how small or large the job is,” she says. “New babies, weddings, proms, birthdays, dance recitals, funerals—we share in their lives. It’s a great feeling to know we’ve made our clients’ floral dreams come true.”
As a company, Leonora Moss labors to return the favor. They focus on featuring handmade, local artisans for the “extras,” and do the same when it comes to the flowers.
“We make a point to support the few remaining Southern California flower growers,” she says. “We purchase from them on a weekly basis.”
With Easter, Mother’s Day and wedding/graduation season around the corner, Westmoreland and the rest of the Leonora Moss team are gearing up for fresh cuts ahead.
“We just did a big floor-to-ceiling cleaning and rearranged the store to give it a new look, and have lots of great merchandise arriving daily,” she says. “We’re so happy to be involved in what makes Sierra Madre a great place!”
Leonora Moss is located at 9 Kersting Court in Sierra Madre. For more information, contact Lorie or the Leonora Moss team at www.leonoramoss.com | (626) 355-1180 and follow along on Facebook @leonoramossfloral and Instagram @leonoramoss.