By Emily G. Peters
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that “the world laughs in flowers”—a sentiment well-captured by Aquarela Gifts and Flowers in Monrovia. The creative outlet of mother-daughter duo Alejandra (Ale) and Dorys Gonzalez, this flower shop puts a whimsical spin on everything from their designs to business name.
“Aquarela is a translation of ‘watercolor’ in Spanish with a twist—changing the ‘c’ in acuarela for a ‘q’ for easier pronunciation in English,” explained Ale Gonzalez. “The name came to mind after learning to paint flowers and plants in watercolor at the Los Angeles Arboretum. I’ve always wanted to explore that creative side, and it started by mixing colors on paper.”
That penchant for switching things up is reflective in both women’s careers—before emigrating from Venezuela, Ale was an economist while Dorys worked as a college professor. In 2014 in the United States, the pair began offering their floral creations out of their garage—and within a two years established their boutique in Old Town Monrovia serving all of Los Angeles.
“Mixing textures and colors is our everyday oxygen. We handpick the flowers from our suppliers at least three times a week, giving us the opportunity to get fresh and unique flowers,” said Gonzalez. “We always try to compete with ourselves to be better and serve better each day, going that extra mile with our customers to make them feel in an in-home environment.”
The pair offers their creations both in-store and online, offering custom floral arrangements and bouquets for holidays, weddings, funerals, special occasions, corporate events, photoshoots and more. Free wedding consultations are available to interested couples, with special consideration given to creating custom designs to match the mood and energy of the event. And while Aquarela Gifts and Flowers is listed as a premiere florist on Bloomnation, its most valued accolade is found in positive feedback.
“For us, the most important recognition is our clients’ reviews,” said Gonzalez. “We have five stars on Yelp, Google, WeddingWire and Bloomnation—it represents a rewarding experience and the result of endless perseverance, effort and preparation.”
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Emerson himself would likely note that you can’t go wrong with a custom bouquet as a gift. And although competition remains tight against big online floral retailers, Gonzalez feels Aquarela has the edge over rivals whose in-person designs don’t jive with what’s shown online.
“I always say to the customers that sometime come to us disappointed with those services that the images you see on our website are our designs—that our work is mostly customized and personalized, that we are local, and happy to serve them directly,” she said. Diversifying her products and working with fellow businesses has also been key to a bright future for Aquarela.
“Partner up with local vendors and offer an outstanding customer service,” said Gonzalez. “That will keep your clients returning. Everybody loves flowers!”
Aquarela Gifts and Flowers is located at 128 S. Myrtle Ave. in Monrovia. Contact the shop at www.aquarelagiftsflowers.com | 626.433.3055 | firstname.lastname@example.org and follow along on Facebook @aquarelagiftsflowers and Instagram @aquarela.gifts.flowers.