The Quiet Botanist
Hudson Store 447 Warren Street, Hudson, NY 12534, USA
- Wild-crafted dried flower arrangements.
- Aromatherapy-based skincare products.
- Edible flowers and flower confetti.
447 Warren Street
WHAT WE LOVE
A wonderfully creative space filled with colorful, textural dried and everlasting flowers. Accessed by a narrow alley, The Quiet Botanist opens into a series of atelier-style rooms with bunches of flowers suspended from racks. Flowers can be purchased by the stem or arrangement - from the extravagant to mini sage bundles. There is also an assortment of apothecary items, home decor goods and stationery. Founded in 2020 by Rebecca O'Donnell a former luxury beauty brand creative director, Rebecca O’Donnell.
"The shop draws inspiration from apothecaries of a bygone era, wild–harvested Australian botanicals and overgrown European gardens."
What makes The Quiet Botanist so unique? The Quiet Botanist was born out of a desire to slow down and listen. It draws inspiration from apothecaries of a bygone era, wild–harvested Australian botanicals and overgrown European gardens. I think what makes the shop unique is that it’s a sensorial experience: you can smell the store from the street before you walk down the alley to the front door, and then when you enter you are surrounded by large displays of varying botanicals, with much to explore. The Quiet Botanist believes in slow retail – there is no rush and no push to buy, but only to take your time and smell the flowers. The hope is that our customers have a nurturing experience when they visit us.
Why did you chose The Quiet Botanist name? The name evolved over Thanksgiving dinner with my extended family. I wanted something that described the feeling I had for the project. I hoped it would evoke a mood of both nostalgia and hope – I think we all aspire to connect more with nature. I grew up in Australia and have lived in London and New York as a Creative Director, but even in urban environments I’ve always been called to the natural world. The idea of The Quiet Botanist came quite effortlessly, and it seemed the perfect character to embody, the aspiration I hope to grow into.
What are The Quiet Botanist’s best-selling products? Our Bouquets – The Aussie Botanist & The Scarlet Botanist are the most popular. Customers love our edible flower mixes because of the endless possibilities for custom cocktails and teas and baking decorations. Our floral confetti is ever-popular. And of course, we also create many custom arrangements and bespoke installations.
Where do you source the flowers and products for The Quiet Botanist? We grow our flowers and buy locally whenever possible, and source the rest from wholesalers. In the Spring of 2021 we are expanding and will grow more of our own flowers at our farm which is about ten minutes from the store. The goal is to eventually grow and dry everything ourselves. I don’t have a background in floral design, only an intuitive sense of what pairs and flows and complements, repeating many of the patterns I’ve seen in nature. When I make the arrangements, I’m creating spontaneously and that is one of the most rewarding parts of the creative process – a unique collaboration with the botanicals I have on hand. We source our beauty and wellness products from conscious and clean brands from around the world. I believe in all the products we stock, the integrity of the makers, and the effort to avoid plastics whenever possible.
Who are The Quiet Botanist customers? We have a lovely mix of locals, many of whom are transplants from Brooklyn, NYC and LA. Our weekend crowd consists of people from all over coming up to visit the shops and restaurants. Our online customers are mainly from California, Florida, Texas and Oregon. We have a lot of Aussie’s and Parisiens as well.
How has the internet impacted your business? We have had a wonderful response to our Instagram content as well as the photos of the flower wall and the ever-changing installations in the shop. The platform has become an online community because we can keep in touch with customers after they purchase flowers in the store and see how they arrange them at home. Of course, our online store has been important during the pandemic as we’ve limited in-store capacity and many people are no longer venturing out. Many of our online purchases are often gifts – we write notes on behalf of the purchaser and send them out daily. It’s so nice to witness and be a part of this generosity in some way.
Have you adapted your business to the coronavirus pandemic ? Before Covid we had a treatment room where we offered bespoke CBD healing massages. People would travel up from New York and spend the whole afternoon, drinking tea and making a bouquet of flowers. Due to the pandemic we closed the treatment room and we limited our customer interactions.We put all the safety measures in place including screens and limiting people into our space. Over the holidays we opened our front window and created a Flower Tuckshop which was a great way to engage with our community at a safe distance.
Rebecca O’Donnell, shopkeeper at The Quiet Botanist
Who inspires you? Gertrude Jekyll because of her eye for color and texture. Vita Sackville West – she was the friend and lover of Virginia Woolf, as well as a writer with beautiful poems about nature and gardens. And she was a talented gardener in her own right. She had boxwoods trimmed into the shape of a couch, and those who have visited the store know our boxwood chandeliers!
What inspires you? The beauty & imperfection found in Nature, as well as contemporary elements – such as renovated barns converted into modern homes – in a natural setting.
Before I was a shopkeeper… I was a Creative Director in the realm of luxury beauty. I started at Australian Vogue and worked for brands and agencies such as Burberry, LVMH & Estee Lauder amongst others.
Did you have prior retail experience? I had experience designing stores, products and campaigns but not on the floor retail experience. Everyone who works with me has either an art or production background. . I think this is another characteristic that makes The Quiet Botanist unique.
Your favorite thing about owning an independent shop? I love being part of a community. I have the most incredible group of women who now work with me, all of whom were actually customers, first. The creative independence is also a dream – the store is a blank palette that I can design to my heart’s content without a marketing brief or pressured timeline in sight.
Your advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? Jump in and do it, though do it for the love first. In my opinion, projects with purely financial motivations always seem forced. As a shopkeeper, you will spend so much time in your store that you want to make sure you truly love it. And this ease and passion will be perceived by your audience – people are drawn to and inspired by people doing what they are passionate about!
If you weren’t a shopkeeper you would be..? A constant gardener.
WHAT THE SHOPKEEPER LOVES
What are your favorite local independent businesses? My favorite Hudson spots are: Breadfolks, also a new kid on the block they have the most delicious pastries and coffee; Behida Dolic Millinery, an amazing creative who makes the most incredible clothing, paintings and hats; Feast & Floret, we designed the botanical bar there. They have an amazing chamomile-infused cocktail. It’s a great place to feast amongst the flowers; Talbot & Arding, so delicious this is where I spend all my money. They have the best takeaway meals and cheese; Sonder Hudson. Another new spot for a quick vegetarian dinner and vino.
Tage Andersen in Copenhagen
Petersham Nurseries in London
Okura in Tokyo
Oroboro in NYC
Merci in Paris
Favorite Instagram accounts
ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
"I think more sincere and honest retail experiences will bloom. Online shopping will continue to be a main focus and stores will be more about experiences not just sales. I think the pandemic has reinforced my belief in slowing down and listening. I now know that creating a community and an experience first and foremost."