JEFFERSON PARK — Anne Latham’s goal was to open her own floral shop before she turned 30.
After learning the ropes from florists in San Fransisco, working at a West Town floral shop and then building her own brand within the past year with pop-up markets, the 29-year-old Logan Square resident accomplished her goal.
Latham will open her first floral shop Saturday in Jefferson Park at 5338 W. Lawrence Ave. It will be part retail, part event space and part workspace. Called Three Swords Floral Company, the shop will sell local flower bouquets and skincare items, candles, linen, other housewares accessories and artwork — all made by women entrepreneurs like Latham from around the United States.
“I want to help young women business owners, whether they are local to Chicago or not,” Latham said. “I think women need to be encouraged and lifted up. Bringing in people outside of Chicago feels important for me, too, because then those people get a chance to expand their work outside of their own city.”
Latham said the name of her company comes from a popular Tarot card: the three of swords, which she kept pulling while going through a breakup. Some Tarot experts say the card represents rejection, betrayal and hurt — but is also a depiction of suffering that is meant to make us stronger, more careful and more vigilant. That resonated with Latham.
“A card that always came up was the three swords … that and flowers always helped,” she said.
Latham’s background in floral designs started when she was in her early 20s. She began creating weekly floral arrangements for Logan Square restaurant Wyler Road when she worked there just for fun before moving to San Fransisco to work at a few floral shops.
“I worked [with] a mom and daughter duo from Ukraine who took me under their wing and taught me everything I know about flowers,” she said. “It was really difficult at first… but it was my entry to floral.”
When Latham returned to Chicago in 2017, she got a job at Sprout Home, a West Town garden and home shop where she helped manage its events, expand its floral department and open its floral shop. This taught her how to manage a business and showed her she wanted to work for herself.
Even before leaving Sprout Home in August 2020, Latham was scouting storefronts on the Northwest Side. After looking at spaces in her neighborhood and finding them to be too expensive — and considering area’s oversaturation and competitiveness between floral shops that opened during the pandemic — she chose the Jefferson Park storefront to bring a custom, unique experience to the Far Northwest Side and offer a woman-centered gift shop with a relaxed, Southwest-style atmosphere.
“There are so many amazing family-owned restaurants and Polish delis, but there isn’t really a spoke floral studio here,” the owner said. “People can’t stop in and get local flowers grown right here in the city.”
Being her own boss means Latham can be more daring and mischievous with her floral designs and “break the rules” of traditional bouquet designs — things she could not do when she worked for other people, she said.
“From a design standpoint, the work I make is more structural, sculptural and thoughtful,” Latham said. “It doesn’t just feel like grabbing a quick bouquet to take home, but it’s getting to know someone, what they like and don’t like, and building something that feels curious.”
Three Swords will open Saturday and have light refreshments at the shop 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Normal store hours will be 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday.
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