At a floral studio in Seaview, Washington, Nansen Malin has found joy. Here, she spends days surrounded by the beauty of artistic seasonal bouquets, working from a historic greenhouse and arrangement space.
For Malin, her floral business, Nansen Florals, is much more than a career. It is a true passion. “I consider my flower business to be a calling to give back to the community,” she said. “Every single day, I have a heartfelt connection with someone because of my floral designs.”
It’s a calling Malin has arrived at through many avenues of design. She once owned a gift and garden business, employing florists to help with shows, events and product development. “My specialty was topiary, but I also provided dried and live florals to gift shops, florists, events and nurseries around the country,” she said.
Then, she began designing wedding flowers, including for her daughters’ weddings, that were featured in bridal magazines. Local couples started asking for her help.
However, she credits a conversation at a local hospital for launching her into floral design full time. “My cardiology team suggested I find something I loved doing and felt a passion for,” she said. “Now I laugh with my cardiologist, ‘remember when you had me start that side gig to find passion and joy in my life?’”
Malin is known for using foraged material from the beach and forest, and often sources her flowers locally, too. She works with a wide network of growers when unique florals are requested. “I used to get up at 4 a.m. and drive to the Portland Flower Market weekly. I am so busy now, they send me a delivery truck once or twice a week,” she said.
Her historic Seaview studio has recently expanded to accommodate long days and visiting customers. “Last year, we built a flower cooler in the carriage house and moved my flower studio there,” she said. “My husband built the sweetest little greenhouse out of recycled windows.” Chickens, housed in a coop designed as a replica of the Seaview Train Depot, greet customers during the day.
Nansen Florals is usually open by appointment, but Malin keeps arrangements and wrapped bouquets handy. “One of my absolute favorite services is when someone stops by and needs a fresh bouquet to bring to mom (or grandma) as they arrive at the beach for family time,” Malin said. “I dash to my flower cooler and set them up.”
In addition to delivering flowers locally, she designs for weddings, funerals, parties and events across the Columbia-Pacific region. Her creations also appear at seasonal pop-up shops around the area, and she offers flower subscriptions.
“I have hotels and motels, restaurants, a bakery, real estate offices and other corporate accounts where I provide regular fresh florals,” Malin said, adding that she waives delivery charges for customer orders at local hospitals, retirement homes, schools and municipal offices. “I work with any budget to make flowers happen,” she added.
In past years, Malin has taught workshops and spoken at garden shows, clubs and nonprofits — and hopes to again. Her workshops include succulent wreaths, flower crowns, corsages, hand-tied European Bouquets, tabletop topiaries and seasonal florals.
It’s all about giving back. And another avenue for that is through what Malin calls the flower fairy fund. “I never have flowers go to waste,” she said. “I keep a list of deserving members of the community who need flowers. It could be someone who has done something special, or someone going through chemotherapy, going through a hard time, or (who has) never had flowers given to them.”
She added that flowers have opened doors and relationships. “Flowers bring such love, joy, hope and they also bring tears… in a good way. I am so blessed to be called to fill this flower gap at this time of my life.”
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