“This is not your typical flower shop with roses and daisies,” says Anna Riggio, owner of Wild Banksia Floral and Design, a locally sourced flower boutique in Pleasure Point that opened its doors in February. “I’m not here to get rich but to share the happiness that the flowers, plants and art can bring.”
The colorful boutique features an array of vibrant flowers arranged in chaotic abundance. Riggio, 28, sells native and non-native flowers individually and in prearranged fresh and dried bouquets. Wild Banksia floral also sells a number of other products, including jewelry from local artists, plants and other bohemian finds.
“The inspiration for my business was to have a community-oriented space to be able to support as many local growers, local artisans, and nurseries that I could,” Riggio says. “I’ve always loved foraging through my garden growing up and making bouquets. I tend to do that wherever I go. So it just felt right to create a space to share my love for nature.”
Riggio specializes in flowers in the protea family such as the pincushion protea and leucadendron. “Anything unique that you wouldn’t find in your average bouquet,” she says. But the shop’s headliner is its namesake, the Australian native “banksia” flower. In case naming her store after it wasn’t enough proof of Riggio’s commitment to the flower, Banksia is also the name of her dog.
The majority of the shop’s flowers come from small local farms in the area, including Blue Heron, Do Right Flower Farms, The Miracle Spot, Arrowhead Farms, and Wild Ridge Organics.
Riggio arranges her bouquets upon request for every occasion, including birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and everyday gifts, using bright, exotic flowers.
“I won’t take on an order if I can’t put my heart and soul into it,” she says. “I have so much pride in my work and don’t want to hand it off unless I am satisfied and it’s up to my standards.”
Wild Banksia Floral and Design is a single-use-plastic-free environment, and it does not use floral foam or plastic flower sleeves, which can cause waste that is harmful to the environment.
“I’m trying to do things as sustainable as I can along the way by trying not to include any plastics in my designs and wrapping,” Riggio says.
Opening a small business is a lot of work, she says, especially when starting out as the only employee. She comes in early and stays late, trying to keep everything clean and organized. Although it’s a lot of work, it doesn’t always feel that way since she genuinely enjoys everything she does, she adds.
“You’re getting good quality and lots of love,” Riggo says.
Wild Banksia Floral is located at 907 41st Ave. in Santa Cruz. Hours are Tuesday and Wednesday, 11am-5pm, and Thursday-Saturday, 10am-6pm. Check out the shop’s Instagram at @wildbanksiafloral.