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Creating Organic Designs With Aggelige Spanos

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RV Business Style: Organic Designs By Aggelige

A Floral Boutique Shop Where Aggelige Spanos Sells Her Self Made Floral Arrangements In A 1968 Airstream

Aggelige Spanos In Her Airstream Floral Boutique [Courtesy/Organic Desgins]

Situated between a decadent bakery and a home goods store, a 1968 Airstream overflows with flora in all shapes and sizes of containers. The Airstream is home to Organic Design by Aggelige. Owner Aggelige Spanos has been operating her boutique floral shop out of the unique space since 2009.

Her adventure in selling floral arrangements began long before that, however. With her background in fine arts, Aggelige worked for a long time in the gallery business, managing galleries and fine art sales. She spent a number of years at a gallery in Hawaii, where she worked for a time at a tropical floral shop. She found that working with plants was somehow therapeutic, and she was drawn to floral arranging simply for the joy of it.

When she was transferred to California by her company to work at a different gallery, she found another purpose for her floral arrangements.

“I started to make these arrangements for some of my clients at the gallery I was working at,” Aggelige explains. “I had a lot of really high end clients and I never knew what to get them for gifts, so I was making these arrangements, and the girls that I was working with wanted some for their clients.”

And so a business was born. What began as small house parties during the holidays to sell to friends, family, and colleagues became a brick and mortar store. In 2008, Aggelige went part time at the gallery to manage Organic Design by Aggelige part time.

“I wanted to bring a bit of nature into an urban environment,” she says.

Aggelige’s arrangements are primarily made up of succulents, cactus, and air plants, which thrive in the arid California climate.

Pet Sits Inside The Floral Boutique [Courtesy/Organic Designs]
Floral Arrangements Inside The Airstreamer [Courtesy/Organic Designs]

“I moved here from Hawaii and I had come from a huge yard. When I got here to California, I didn’t have a yard or anything. So I decided to put together succulent and cactus arrangements because that’s what works in this climate and I thought they were really interesting plants, very sculptural. I really enjoyed putting together compositions with them, and they were super easy to take care of. And I like plants that aren’t just pretty when they have flowers blooming. So these really appeal to me.”

About a year after opening Organic Design by Aggelige, Aggelige felt ready to commit herself full-time to selling her arrangements. She also felt the need for a new space and was drawn to a unique retail location: a “green gathering space” called the CAMP in Costa Mesa, California.

“I quit my gallery job, and when I went to approach the owner of The CAMP, he didn’t have any small spaces.”

Undeterred, Aggelige continued to work with owner Shaheen Sadeghi to find a good fit for her shop.

“[Sadeghi mentioned] he always wanted to have an Airstream on the property and then we were on to the next idea. But that really stuck with me. I went home and I started looking online. I saw pictures of some businesses operating out of Airstreams, and I thought that could be really charming and a really manageable space for me. I put together a look book for him and said I think this would be really cool if I operated out of one of these. He said, ‘Oh my gosh, are you ready to do this? Because if you are, I’m going to buy one.’”

Sadeghi bought a 1968 Airstream and renovated it for her. As a business owner now in her ideal space, Aggelige let her passion for creating take over, to see where it might take her.

“I was in a career change and I thought, well I have enough money saved to do this for a year and if nothing happens with it, I’ll be okay. I didn’t really plan to have this business last as long as it has.”

Aggelige Holds One Of Her Creations [Courtesy/Organic Designs]
Aggelige In Her Floral Boutique [Courtesy/Organic Designs]

Aggelige is happily settled into the creative community at The CAMP, and she has no plans to leave anytime soon.

“Honestly I wanted to do something that I’m passionate about and hope for the best [with the business]. I was not a very traditional business planner. It just evolved and I’m glad that it did because it’s been great.”

Aggelige works with local growers to purchase the majority of the plants she uses. However, she also grows some of her own in her home greenhouse studio. She puts a special touch on her work by finding unique containers to use as planters. She scours flea markets, thrift stores, and estate sales for vessels to upcycle into stunning arrangements.

“I use a lot of vintage pottery and [recycle] basically anything I think would look good with plants in it. I’m just really inspired by the plants and then pots as well because it can be a completely different look depending on what you’re going to plant them in.”

It’s fair to say that no two arrangements in Aggelige’s shop are ever alike. The variety of plants and potters that she uses ensures that. And it’s a big part of the reason customers continue to come back to Aggelige’s shop.

“It’s different every day. I always have new things to work with, whether it’s a new plant or new vessels. It’s constantly changing. That’s what my customers seem to love about the shop. They know it’s going to be different every week.”

Much like her “let’s try it and see” perspective on building a business, the unexpected also fuels Aggelige’s creativity as an artist from day to day.

“It’s great to never know what you’re going to plant that day, what you’re going to find, or what’s going to come together.”

Serendipitously, Aggelige has successfully brought together the right elements for a flourishing floral shop, which has now been open for business for nine years.

 

Kailyn Clay

A graduate of Trinity Christian College with degrees in English and Political Science, Kailyn has written for GEMS Girls’ Clubs, Spark Hire, The Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, and other sources. She enjoys reading, writing, and camping.

Make Sure To Check Out:

Organic Desgins by Aggelige, located at THE CAMP in Costa Mesa CA and is housed within a converted 1968 retro Airstream trailer. The unique shop is a succulent wonderland - filled with arrangements, hanging terrariums, local art and much more.

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