In snowbound states floral designers deliver local romance with what they can harvest regionally. Christine Hoffman of Foxglove Market & Studio now offers a 100% Minnesota-grown pussy willow heart-shaped wreath, while Lisa Larsen of Sunborn Farm in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, grows, harvests, dries and assembles pretty-in-pink wreaths that sweethearts will enjoy long after February 14th.
When it comes time to dress a holiday table, most of us head for the florist or grocery store for fresh blooms. This is Minnesota, after all. Even if you typically plunder your own garden during the growing season, all is long gone by November or December.
Not so fast, says St. Paul floral designer Christine Hoffman. She knows how to make the most of what nature offers year-round, and designed this holiday tabletop for us with locally grown flowers and flora—all available in December. Hoffman, a practitioner and proponent of the “slow flowers” movement (similar in philosophy to the slow-food movement that advocates local, seasonal, and sustainably produced food), sources all her flowers and floral materials from area farmers who practice sustainable, organic growing methods.
Christine Hoffman, owner of Foxglove Market & Studio in St. Paul, is a local leader of the “slow flower” movement, and works with both passion and diligence to educate the public on this trend, which has been steadily gaining momentum in recent years. “The importance of that perfect shade of coral, or having peonies for a September wedding, is being replaced with the importance of where the flowers came from and how they were grown,” says Hoffman.
Though the movement may be more prevalent on the West Coast, where diverse blooms are available year-round, more and more Minnesota designers and florists are shifting their focus to locally sourced flowers. Even with the limited growing season, dazzling designs are possible, no matter the wedding date.
“There is so much interesting flora all year if clients are willing to be flexible,” says Hoffman, citing a client whose March bridal bouquet included grapevine, willows and dried flowers. Even winter weddings can feature elements such as greens, berries, birch and willow for unique and elegant seasonal designs.
Through her shop, website, social media, and special workshops and events, Hoffman works to spread the gospel of sustainable, locally sourced flowers. “Education and exposure are key,” she says. “Once clients learn the facts about traditional flower sourcing and see the variety of local flowers available, they’re willing to make the leap.”
"Invite the pretty dead heads in to spend the night, and they're the kind of houseguest you can hardly get rid of, explained Christine Hoffman, owner and designer of Foxglove Market & Studio in St. Paul, Minn. A dozen baptisia pods-think of an edamame shell scorched black over a bonfire- can last forever in a stoneware crock. That is, until you crack them open and scatter-sow the seeds in April.
Ms. Hoffman admitted that when wedding clients see assorted pods in a display, they don't typically proclaim, "Hey, look, the life cycle of the plant!' Instead, they say, "I've never seen that before."
Michael Tortorello for WSJ Off Duty
Local boutiques are the new department stores. In an increasingly global society where everything from dental floss to designer dresses can be ordered online and chain stores tend to look the same, independent boutiques give our neighborhoods distinct flavor. They champion the “makers” among us. They help us cut through the clutter, stand out from the crowd, and give more thoughtful gifts. They inspire our closets and homes. The Twin Cities—birthplace of some of the biggest national chains—is also home to many of the most charming and innovative smaller stores. These are the leaders.
This beautiful same-sex styled shoot from Carina Photographics and a team of amazing Minnesota vendors features a real-life couple, Mary and Lisa, who had originally married at a Justice of the Peace in Canada eight years prior, when same-sex marriage was illegal. The photo shoot took place at a property owned by a same-sex couple, Tim and Bruce, who spent more than 25 years creating a gorgeous, formal English garden as their weekend retreat. The lush, green and manicured garden was the perfect setting for the shoot, which was inspired by a loose combination of Alice in Wonderland and The Secret Garden.
When we were first asked to do the shoot, we thought it was too good to be true. We would have loved professional wedding pictures but thought that opportunity had long passed. We were excited by the offer of being the models for the stylized shoot but really had no idea what it meant. When we heard from Joanna about setting a date for the shoot (over a year from the time we were invited to do the shoot), we couldn’t believe it was really going to happen. We thought we would wear our dresses; do our own hair and make-up and meet for a couple of hours to take a few pictures. We had no idea about what was really going to happen. When we got a call from Casey (our wedding planner) we got a little nervous. Whoa. This was big time! When we heard we would have professional hair and make-up as well as head pieces customized just for us, we were surprised and wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. (All good, by the way.) I know for me I took the approach of feeling honored and grateful to have the opportunity and to just be myself. It was exciting to have all of this attention placed on us (the brides). Everyone I was meeting who was involved in the shoot made me feel so special. I really felt like this was my wedding day all over again. When I saw how Lisa was transformed from my life partner, a mother, a friend, to a bride again, I felt like the luckiest person on earth. Wow! To be able to recreate those amazing/powerful feelings you feel on your wedding day not just once… was truly unreal. The photo shoot allowed Lisa and I an opportunity that many young parents and professionals do not get – the chance to reconnect and remember why we married each other in the first place. I felt the same natural high I felt the day we actually got married 8 years ago.
At first I was really nervous since I didn’t know what to exactly do for the photo shoot, but Joanna, Casey and Mike made us feel so comfortable. It felt like we were hanging out with old friends we had known for a long time. As the day went on I remember feeling a bit sad about the anticipated end to the day. All of these people put time and energy into this shoot, and while we know they all had goals they wanted to get from the photo shoot, I couldn’t help but leave feeling like they had done it all just for us. This was the dream ‘faux’ wedding we never had and our new friends were there to document it! – Mary
- Photographer: Carina Photographics
- Event Planner: Belle Noelle Events & Design
- Jewelry: Commers Custom Jewelers
- Makeup Artist: Creative Beauté Agency
- Floral Designer: Foxglove Market & Studio
- Bakery: Ganache: Desserts and Confections
- Dress Store: J. Crew
- Invitation Designer: Olive Juice Stationery
- Veils and Headpieces: Ruby 3
- Hair Stylist: Sarah Drews
- Submitted via Two Bright Lights
May 13, 2015
I was delighted to have Debra Prinzing of Slow Flowers visit the shop while she was in town.
Find the link for the full podcast below her introduction.
Now to today’s guest. Chrisine Hoffman is the owner of Foxglove Market & Studio based in St. Paul, Minnesota.
I am thrilled that I was able to visit Foxglove personally when I was in the Twin Cities to speak and teach at the Minneapolis Institute of Art two weeks ago for “Art in Bloom.”
I broke away one afternoon and caught a ride to St. Paul, asking my driver to take me to Grand Avenue, the charming, pedestrian-focused street where Christine’s store is located.
The vintage building has all the character you could want, with high ceilings finished in decorative pressed tin, a bay window in the front where an inviting vignette lures you in, and a lovely mix of old and new, crafted and curated goods.
On her web site, Christine describes the shop and studio as: “Putting a fresh modern spin on an honest folk vibe. Foxglove’s thoughtful aesthetic emphasizes sustainability, utility, community and comfort.”
- See more at: http://www.debraprinzing.com/2015/05/13/minnesota-blooms-with-christine-hoffman-of-st-pauls-foxglove-market-studio-episode-193/#sthash.MnTJADIT.dpuf
Shop — Foxglove Market
A busy Sunday had us seeking refuge from hectic to-do lists and searching for a relaxing moment. We look an hour long vacation in FoxGlove Market, located east of Grand and Avon in St. Paul. The studio and shop proved to offer more than expected; Foxglove is filled to the brim with tiny treasures that could serve as both a wonderful gift or the little details you often need and can't find. This is evidenced in their vast supplies of pretty paper straws, colored glass jars and candles, and gifting goods like tags, bags, and boxes. One of our favorite features of the store is its commitment to healthy and happy plants that are domestically sourced. Owner Christine filled us in a bit on her passion for supporting local growers and celebrating seasonal abundance; we found ourselves in total agreement as we swooned over the bushels of frosty evergreen outside the store front.
Foxglove Market + Studio
A champion of local darlings, I am thrilled to kick off my column – Local Loves with Foxglove Market + Studio.
I am excited to share some of my faves in the place I call home – Minnesota. The local cup overflows with passion, creativity, authenticity and quite simply some of the coolest people, places and things. I hope you enjoy discovering these gems too!
Meet Christine. Founder + Curator. Foxglove Market + Studio.
Christine, who can do and make do with just about anything, is generous with easy-to-make ideas that celebrate day-to-day practicality and special occasions. Her methods are simple, her materials are basic and the results are always genius. A forager by nature, with abundant merchandising and styling experience, Christine has as much of an instinct for gathering objects with character as she has for displaying and repurposing them.
When she and her husband sold their farm (featured in Country Living) and moved to the city, Christine held onto that wholesome homegrown authenticity. Part of the compelling nature of Foxglove is how she puts a fresh, modern spin on that honest, folksy vibe. I was instantly hooked.
To know Foxglove Market + Studio is to know founder + curator, Christine.
A Little Q&A With Christine
What is the favorite trend you are seeing right now? Sustainability.
What is your current color crush? Navy. Denim.
When you were 8, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? I couldn’t remember so I asked my sister (who remembers EVERYTHING!) and she claims I wanted to be a baker. I even had a chef hat!
If you could get on a plane and go anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go? Cuba.
What book are you currently reading? Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking…because I’m an introvert running a retail store!
What is the last song you downloaded? Wanna Rock and Roll by Ray Wylie Hubbard.
What is your favorite gem in the Twin Cities? Ngon Vietnamese Bistro on University in St. Paul.
I am notorious for my bucket list – what’s on the top of yours? Top of the list: to visit all 50 states. (Well, secretly, my #1 is to dance with Derek Hough but am too embarrassed to admit it!) I love this!
What’s next for Foxglove Market + Studio? I am planning to continue growth on the local flowers side of my business. I love working with flowers and encouraging new flower farmers to jump on board! Find out more about my flowers and buy local philosophy here.
This or That
Bright colors or neutral tones? I have always been a bright colors girl but have recently been transitioning to neutral tones.
Paper or eBoook? Paper!
Sky dive or scuba dive? Sky dive.
Classic or modern? Modern.
Grammys or Oscars? Oscars
Sunrise or sunset? Sunrise.
Cake or pie? Silly question. Pie of course! (My former blog was Pies and Aprons.)
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Paint or wallpaper? Paint
Instagram or Twitter? Instagram
Foxglove Market + Studio, 792 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105, 651.214.4247.
The Full Look — Christine Hoffman
Following is the full interview we did with Christine Hoffman of Foxglove Market & Studio in St. Paul, MN. Part of it ran in our monthly email, redshoes news, which is sent to subscribers on the 26th of each month. To join the mailing list, enter your email address in the field near the bottom of each page of our website.
We met and took a shine to Christine when she began selling our State Icons in her adorable shop on Grand Ave. When we found out that she's a champion for local flowers, we wanted to know more. See why she thinks they're important, and why you should, too.
Hostess Gift Guide
by Tim Creagan / Style-Architects
Cheese paper, $18/pack, wooden cheese knives, $12.50, and aluminum tags, $.75 each, all @ Foxglove Market Studio, 792 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-214-4247, foxglovemarket.com; Basil balsamic vinegar, $15 @ Golden Fig; cheeses, prices vary @ France 44 Cheese Shop, 4351 France Ave. S., Mpls., 612-925-3252, france44.com.
Featured Boutique: Foxglove Market & Studio
Christine Hoffman, owner of Foxglove Market & Studio in St. Paul, Minnesota, never intended to own a shop. Then, out of the blue she got a phone call about a vacant space. Fast forward six months, and she was opening the doors to her boutique/flower shop/studio! Now, local growers deliver buckets of fresh cuts while Christine curates an extensive assortment of party wares, home essentials, paper goods and local Midwest salvaged finds.
What were you doing before you opened your shop?
I was a freelance designer for 10 years, starting out in retail merchandising, moving onto interiors (and a stint with HGTV), then ending up in event design with The Creative Connection Event. When this opportunity came up, I was between gigs and toying with the idea of running my own events. Everyone’s reaction to the idea of a retail shop was so positive that I figured I had landed on the right thing.
You carry a really special assortment of items. What do you look for in a collection?
A lot of it is based on my gut feelings, but I also look for good design, mindful product sourcing, and attention to detail. And I’m a sucker for great packaging.
Where do you see Foxglove going from here?
In 2014, Foxglove will be launching a vintage rental service and hosting events. I hope to build every year on these sort of offerings; adding more workshops and events, because there is nothing I love more than throwing a good party! I am also incredibly passionate about spreading the word about the slow flower movement and expanding my offerings in that area. I am working with local farmers to grow flowers for the shop, and will continue to learn more about using seasonal flowers so I can become a strong local resource for consumers who want a choice.
Best New Store 2013
Photo by Katherine Harris
With a stylist at the helm, Foxglove Market & Studio is well stocked and beautifully styled.
Anyone can pick out a few nice products. But displaying them in such a layered, original way that shoppers want to move right into the space—well, that’s what distinguishes a good store from a great one. With longtime stylist Christine Hoffman at the helm, Foxglove Market & Studio had that enviable polish right out of the gate, offering fresh, locally sourced flowers as well as a mix of modern and vintage gifts, accessories, and elements for entertaining.
Foxglove Market & Studio
Appearance is everything for this Grand Avenue store
by Allison Kaplan
When Laurie Crowell, owner of Golden Fig gourmet food shop, heard that the space next to her on Grand Avenue was going to become available, she knew just whom to call. Christine Hoffman is a longtime stylist and former retailer who had spent the last decade merchandizing stores, planning events, selling repurposed goods, and working on the HGTV show FreeStyle.
Hoffman’s initial response to news of the high-profile vacancy was, “So?” She had no plans to open a store of her own. But just as Crowell suspected, the creative juices immediately began churning. Two hours after their conversation, Hoffman had a concept and a name: Foxglove Market & Studio.
The store focuses on locally sourced cut flowers and tools for entertaining, ranging from stationery to tabletop to refurbished furnishings. Selling the merchandise is, of course, critical, but having customers say they’d like to move into the store itself is what lets a shopkeeper know she’s on to something. It’s the overarching aesthetic that makes Foxglove an instant standout, from the glass canisters filled with spools of yarn, ribbon, and striped straws to the aprons neatly hanging from a row of wall hooks to the organic flower arrangements to the big metal work table in the back of the store.
“I like to mix old and new with a little bit of whimsy—and no fuss,” Hoffman says. She believes that online tools like Pinterest and Instagram are actually raising the bar for brick-and-mortar retailers. “People are paying more attention to aesthetics. There are so many visual outlets, it’s broadening our horizons.”
Still feel like you could use a professional’s eye? Hoffman plans to host a series of small classes focused on floral design and seasonal entertaining. Foxglove is also open for holiday design consulting. 792 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-214-4247, foxglovemarket.com —A. K.
Bring the outdoors in. Natural elements make a big impact—for fall, try asters and kale against a neutral backdrop.
Serve the season. Mix a few seasonal items with your everyday dishes, like gold chevron paper runners or a centerpiece of antlers or pinecones.
Warm it up. Swap crisp white summer pillows for ones with texture and warmth, like a cable knit.
Oasis on Grand
By Chris Lee
Pause to admire the delightful windows of Foxglove Market & Studio, and you’ll undoubtedly be drawn inside this recent addition to Grand Avenue. You’ll stay to browse the wares of the lovely little hybrid shop that specializes in home goods, tabletop items, locally grown and organic flowers, locally made gifts, letterpress stationery, and more.
Not surprising that the merchandising is eye-catching: Proprietor Christine Hoffman drew on her design, and home- and event-styling background to create a retail concept that embodies her preference for repurposed and organic. Though she hatched the idea for the shop by happenstance, encouraged by the owner of the Golden Fig next door, Hoffman stocks many products she has used and loved over the years. So far, she says, the mix of handmade, vintage, and organic offerings seems to appeal to customers: “People come in and say, ‘I could just live here.’ That’s just the right response.”
Foxglove Market & Studio is a party-planner’s dream
Visiting Foxglove Market & Studio feels like visiting a real-life Pinterest page. Indeed, owner Christine Hoffman says her space is full of “products and inspiration for living a creative life.” Hoffman is a bit of a Martha Stewart, given her background in event planning, retail merchandising, and interiors, so her shop has an elegantly casual atmosphere that seems effortless—even though it’s something most of us aspire to achieve.
With all the ingredients in the shop, it’d be easy to toss together a stylish soiree without anyone knowing you were aided by a Foxglove tutorial. She’s got books to teach you how to set a table, home accents to liven up décor, and even sustainably, locally grown flowers (with cool vintage vases) to dress the table. And then there are the paper goods: cards for every occasion, adorably designed to-do lists, imported magazines—all the details of a party (and home) done right.
Photo by A. Steinberg/Sidecar
A Colorful Retail Idea Is In Bloom On Grand Avenue
By Nancy Ngo
St. Paul's Grand Avenue is getting foxy.
A flower and gift shop called Foxglove Market & Studio is open in the former Baby Banou (792 Grand Ave.; 651-214-4247) next to Golden Fig.
Owner Christine Hoffman, an events and home interiors stylist, is offering locally grown, chemically free cut flowers, stationery, tabletop pieces and refurbished goods for the home.
"I've wanted to do the locally grown flowers," Hoffman says. "It seemed like a great fit and a great space, so I made a jump into retail."
Hoffman also has a studio in the space. In addition to a work area for her design business, she also plans to make it available for workshops, book signings and book clubs.
Jo Packham/Somerset Studio
2011 Lark Crafts
Our new book, Where Women Cook: Celebrate! is filled with delicious recipes from amazing artists. Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to each of these women! We are so excited to have them part of the Where Women Cook family and are you will love them too.
Christine Hoffman is a designer, stylist, and pie baker working under the title “at home expert.” After 10 years of retail merchandising and owning a vintage shop, Christine left the world of retail to focus on design.
She has since worked with many home and shop owners, as a designer for HGTV, and most recently, as the designer and co-coordinator for The Creative Connection Event.
Her own homes, projects, and recipes have been featured in Country Living, Mary Janes Farm, Matthew Mead Holiday, Where Women Cook, and on the DIY network.
She spreads her love of pie baking and shares homekeeping tips, recipes, and craftiness on her blog, Pies and Aprons.
Christine loves a good celebration, so she was a natural choice to be in the book.
“Celebrations are such an essential part of life. My family has always loved any excuse to have a party, or just come together to share food and laughter.“