Not Your Grandma’s Faux Flowers

Navy Blooms showcases the benefits of the fake-out

If the term “faux flowers” gives you visions of plastic greenery festooned with polyester blooms, Keely Vendig has good news.

Her fake arrangements have all the benefits of the real thing and the convenience of being able to shove them in a closet till the next season.

“They not only look real; they feel real,” she said. “They’re a little more high-end and thicker, and the colors are more realistic.”

The other advantage, she said, is that anyone can look like a goddess of the greenery when your plants are immortal.

“I have a black thumb,” she admitted. “The other thing I really love about faux is that you can put them away, and they won’t die. So, if you decorate for Christmas, you can put them away and then pull them back out again without worrying that they’ll die.

“That makes them really great for second homes, too.”

Customers also look for realistic faux versions of notoriously finicky plants.

“Fiddle Fig trees are a huge seller of mine because everyone loves a Fiddle Fig, but — again, in my black thumb experience here — they’re almost impossible to keep alive,” she said. “They’re so finicky that if you move it — I’ve done this before because of the Christmas tree — the plant gets so mad at you, and then it dies.”

How realistic can these arrangements get?

Vendig recalls a story about a woman who received a gift arrangement, and “after six months, she kept watering it until her husband’s like, ‘You realize that’s not real.’ She had no idea.”

In addition to creating arrangements for sale, Vendig also does holiday decorating installations for clients and has even sourced and designed outdoor spaces (including trees) for customers that want greenspace year-round.

“I’ve done a few outdoor installations — they make them where they’re UV rated for up to five years of protection,” she explained. “For my own yard, I have planters coming because I don’t feel like messing with it. I don’t want dirt — we have too many dogs.”

The other thing I really love about faux is that you can put them away, and they won’t die.

Keely Vendig

Vendig started Navy Blooms in a quest for a career that was a little more flexible and family-friendly.

“My background, believe it or not, is in wildlife and fishery sciences — I graduated from A&M, and I taught middle school and high school science for 10 years,” she said. “But I’m a creative at heart, and I had two boys in two years, and I was like, ‘I need to go back to work, but I need to have flexibility.’”

She began making arrangements for her friends and eventually decided that if she were going to go into business, she’d opt for faux arrangements instead of real flowers because “we live in such a saturated market of florists that it just isn’t the best model for me.”

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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