The Old Maltby Schoolhouse has long been a place for eclectic businesses to reside.
Most of them are owned and operated by women, who sell everything from local honeys and beeswax craft to natural soaps and skin products. Newly established in this historic building is Sister My Sister Floral Design & Boutique, a creative venture of two local women who, yes, just happen to be sisters.
Olen and Hannah Greig are homegrown Woodinville gals who attended Leota Jr. High and Woodinville High School.
Olen, the older of the two, left the area to go to a college in Colorado and subsequently spent a number of years working in the ski industry.
Hannah graduated from UW in 2011. Both spent many summers helping their aunt, Megan Mary Olander, a noted Seattle florist, at her shop in Pioneer Square and later on Capitol Hill.
“Our love of flowers was instilled at a young age,” says Olen. “We logged lots of hours surrounded by flowers and learned to create blooms with my aunt and her team.”
Hannah adds, “It’s such rewarding work, so gratifying to make someone’s day special.” The sisters decided to go into business together shortly before Hannah graduated from college.
They had been doing flower arrangements for friends’ weddings on an informal basis, but when the requests began to increase in number, they decided to take the next step and open their own place.
For the first year, the women worked out of a warehouse, with the goal of eventually getting retail space.
“It was luck that we found this spot,” comments Olen. “We were at the Maltby Café next door and saw a ‘for rent’ sign in this building. When we got inside to check it out, we were immediately sold. It was perfect. It was simply meant to be.”
Sister My Sister officially opened its doors in late October and the women are delighted with the response they’ve had in such a short time.
“This is such a great community,” says Hannah. “Everyone is so nice and friendly, and welcoming. There are a number of creative people who have interesting businesses here and I think we fit right in.”
She adds, “We have a steady stream of people coming by who have eaten at the Café and then we have others who see our work on our website or learn about us via Facebook. And then, of course, we have family, friends, friends of friends, neighbors and classmates who are helping to spread the word. We are fortunate to have such great support from everyone.” The sisters pride themselves on creating one-of-a-kind floral designs for any occasion, from modest to lavish and intimate to extravagant. They buy their flowers fresh each day and strive to get most of them from local growers. “We want to keep it home base,” explains Olen, “because we want to support the farmers in this area.” In addition to providing flower arrangements for weddings and special events, they do daily orders, cash and carry and deliveries around the greater Eastside and Snohomish areas. Their shop is also a boutique with an array of potted plants in interesting containers surrounded by unique décor and gift items, many made from local artists. “Our potted plants are our hottest sellers,” says Olen. “I think people are drawn to them because they have an earthy and natural feel to them, and they’re different than what you might be accustomed to finding elsewhere.”
Each of the women contributes a different skill set to the business. Hannah notes that Olen has her own style and is very creative in an out-of-the-box way.
“She loves to create and uses all these textures, colors and crazy containers,” says Hannah, “and she just pulls it altogether so well.” As for Hannah, Olen notes that her sister is the stable, “grounding one” and the “glue” of the business. She is also the marketing guru. “I’m the wild one and Hannah keeps me in line,” Olen adds with a laugh.
As for working together, the sisters both agree that their yin-yang personalities are well-suited for a partnership. They respect and appreciate each other’s strengths and never hesitate to exchange opinions.
“It’s nice to have two points of view,” comments Olen, “and to know that we can tell each other anything.” The women are confident that their business will be successful, as they feel they have the necessary ingredients to make a name for themselves in the industry.
“We’re young, vibrant and fun,” says Hannah. “We have lots of energy, we’re willing to work the long hours that this business demands and we have fresh, creative ideas. We’re very interested in building lasting relationships with our customers - not just filling orders and moving on. People are important to us and we want them to be happy, to be fully satisfied. We take the time to really connect because the personal touch is something we want to be known for.”
Both women extol the virtues and advantages of being situated in this community.
They point to the beautiful venues in the area for weddings, as well as the fact that Woodinville is now widely known as the Wine Country. “We see great potential for our business to grow as the need is there,” comments Olen.
“We’re already almost completely booked on weekends for next summer with all the weddings. That’s very exciting and it tells us that we’re on the right track.”
Hannah adds, “We are so very blessed to be in this community and we want to thank everyone for their support.”
Sister My Sister Floral Design & Boutique is located upstairs in the Old Maltby Schoolhouse, across from the Maltby Café. For more information: 425-420-5455 or www.smsfloral.com.