Huntington Beach resident Jackie Miller named her floral design and event company after her daughter, Penelope, in 2014. During the pandemic, she pivoted and opened her first retail store in Long Beach; shortly afterward, she expanded to a long-term pop-up at Fashion Island before opening her permanent store at Westcliff in Newport Beach. Customers can shop everything from florals to gift items. Keep an eye out for a store in south O.C.
How did you start Penelope Pots?
Penelope Pots Floral and Event Design is our design studio. We have a warehouse and office space (in Huntington Beach) where we keep all of our event decor and inventory. We do weddings, special events, and parties out of that studio. We didn’t do floral delivery so much until the pandemic hit. It was just me cranking out 80 deliveries. I actually developed this build-your-own, DIY kit, and then I would upload a video to the internet.
Tell us about your retail shops.
The store kind of just happened—it was an accidental thing. We already had a space planned at 2nd & PCH (in Long Beach). It was supposed to be an event space with flowers and some gift items. We were supposed to open basically when the pandemic hit—that obviously couldn’t happen. In May, we decided to proceed with what we thought was going to work, and that was a retail store. Our goal was to pull from small makers, local makers, and women-run, minority-run businesses. We got into (Fashion Island) in December. It was meant to just be a temporary, quick pop-up thing, but we decided to stay for a while. We opened our permanent spot in Newport Beach this summer.
What services do you offer at the Newport Beach store?
We do interior plantscaping and pot planting designs. We’ll go to your home or business, or we’ll look at your plans. We’ll put together a design and source everything. We (can do) installation if someone wants us to, or sometimes people just want us to do the design specifications.
Do you have classes?
Floral design, wreath making, signage, painting, Shibori dyeing, and more. It’s just a way for us to really connect with the community and give people something fun to do that is a good value.
Do you have any tips for floral design?
Think about the orientation of the flowers—is it going to go on a shelf where there’s no back side, on a kitchen island so you’re going to see all sides, or on a rectangular table so you really only care about two sides? Whichever sides are your focal sides, have flower faces looking at you. Seeing the front of the flowers along the arrangement makes it look super flower-filled. It’s more impactful and tells more of a story. Also, cluster colors and do weird things; don’t be afraid to have something that doesn’t really match.