WHAT WE LOVE: A tiny florist with an abundant source of style inspired purely by nature’s beauty. Vesaire’s colorful arrangements bring an effervescence of seasonal blooms to Istanbul’s abodes and events.
WHO: Ayça Girgin opened the shop in May 2012.
WHERE: The young and modern Teşvikiye neighborhood in Istanbul.
What year was Vesaire established? May 2012.
Why was the name Vesaire chosen? The name means ‘etc. and all that,’ because I couldn’t fit the brand that I had in mind in one single form or template; that also means it’s not just your typical flower shop.
Who designed the shop? I crafted every detail of the shop with an architect, he understood me very well and we designed the whole thing together.
What is Vesaire known for? Bridal bouquets, out of the box accessories, individually created floral arrangements that sometimes reach the boundary of an ‘installation’.
Where are Vesaire’s flowers and plants from? Every week flowers come to our wholesale suppliers from Holland and Kenya via air-conditioned trucks or air cargo. We usually reserve the flowers we need a week in advance or sometimes longer for big events or weddings. But sometimes we just improvise and fall in love with a particular flower, which becomes that week’s queen. Every week when all the flowers and plants arrive, we create a totally new shop window and atmosphere. And then comes the design and creation, which is the most beloved part with some music in the background.
What makes Vesaire unique? Fifteen square meters with a lot going on. We are a team of people from different backgrounds who have a passion for creativity and, of course, for nature. I think we create simpler and more fluid designs by only using what’s natural. We not only celebrate nature’s beauty, but also embrace its imperfections, which are present in our designs. Because nature is not perfect, and neither are we. We love to challenge ourselves and exceed limitations. All this gives off a certain ‘Vesaire Style’ to our customers.
Who are Vesaire’s customers? Individuals who just drop by to get a bouquet for themselves, big production companies, fashion designers, hotels or restaurants or brandrooms, brides and grooms…
How has the internet impacted your business? I could say that social media has impacted our business the most. Everyone is on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube…these are not only huge inspirational platforms but also one of the main means of contact with new customers (other than our old and loyal customers and business partners).
Ayça Girgin, shopkeeper at Vesaire
Who inspires you? I get inspired from every creative mind that touches my life in one way or another.
What inspires you? A book I read, a place I visit, a dream I dream, but mostly nature itself!
Before I was a shopkeeper, I… Was a graphic writer in advertising.
What motivated you to open a shop? I guess I was always drawn to nature. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother in Germany when I was a little girl. She was a botanist, and to me she was like a wizard of nature. We used to take strolls in forests and pick mushrooms, wild flowers and make our own potions… So I guess I can say that I had an early awakening. But when I grew up I took a totally different route in my life, got a degree in advertising and was a very young and keen writer who thought she could write her own dreams and create. But then reality hit me, and after a series of resignations, I got the message and I guess I found a way back to the source.
Did you have prior retail experience? Not at all, I started as an apprentice at a very big and old-school florist and learned everything in two years. Even after that, having your own shop is something entirely different. I sometimes had to forget everything and learn again from scratch.
What was the hardest lesson learned in starting a business? Arranging flowers. It’s a great luxury to create and flow in time without thinking. They always told me that I should arrange flowers according to the customer’s wants and that they never took no for an answer. The hardest lesson I learned was to keep this balance between my own style
and the customer’s desires.
What is your favorite thing about owning an independent shop? Possessing my creativity all the time (ok most of the time) and having the luxury to say no to projects that I don’t see myself doing.
What is your advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? Think more than twice. Learn from the bottom up and have some experience first, this is a must. Build a strong team, but also accept that sometimes you have to be on your own at the end of the day.
If you weren’t a shopkeeper you would be..? A gift-wrapper, I don’t know if it’s a thing but I would definitely make it a thing!
What is your perfect day off in Istanbul? Dance dance dance! Usually I stay in a well-lit (sunlit) café or bistro and have a cup of tea, stroll around town aimlessly, have a walk on the Bosphorus shore and eat from a street vendors. My favorite is boiled or grilled corn in the summer, there is a guy in Bebek, he’s the best.
What are your five top social media tips? Be active and keep up with ever-changing technology, which I cannot do very well. Have you own style as a whole in your accounts. Get inspiration but do not copy, always have your own signature. Differentiate the sub-divisions of your business to be more deductible.
I wish… that in our adult lives we had the courage of our youth and wouldn’t give up trying.
ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
“If we are talking specifically about Turkey, I hope that the notions of guild, craft and trade always live on and that our cultural values flow out to the streets, turning our cities into outdoor museums that affect its people.
I am a person with pure feelings and emotions, and shopping with my senses is my priority. The story of the service I receive, the feeling it gives, the shop’s ambiance rather than the product itself, the people working there, their attitudes and how they approach me, all add to the value of time that I spend in a shop. If we can preserve these values, retail will prevail.”
Teşvikiye, Ahmet Fetgari Sk. No:51/B
Words by Feride Yalav-Heckeroth.
Feride Yalav-Heckeroth is a Berlin-based freelance writer and the author of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Istanbul. Her favorite shops are Souq Dükkan in Istanbul for the best of local design, Ryoko in Berlin for artisan Japanese goods, and Homemade Aromaterapi in Istanbul for 100% natural beauty products.