A visit to Pansabella feels like a trip to a French Provincial Village

10 years ago, with a degree in Food Technology under her belt and an obsessive green thumb, Little Pansie was born, owner Kristi Knowles’ first foray in Coffs of a florist/café service.

The business quickly outgrew its ‘little’ status and seven years ago, Pansabella Providores found its new home at Coffs Central with a menu of Gabrielle coffee, European themed food and market fresh flowers.

“Pansie was Pop’s nickname for Mum,” Kristi explains, “And bella means beautiful.” A nod to her love of European culture, fuelled by her time spent living and working abroad in London and France.

“You can always judge a florist’s style when you first walk into their store,” Kristi tells me.

And Pansabella feels like a quick trip to a French province with an abundance of green, white and muted pastel tones – Tulips, Andromedas and Roselilies are just to name a few – encased in rustic glass jars awaiting their new owners.

“In Australian culture, flowers used to be seen as an extravagance. You only bought them for special occasions, but Europeans buy flowers as a weekly staple along with their bread and milk.”

And while technically her flowers are ‘from here’, sourced from local suppliers, they look as if they have been lovingly plucked from a village garden in Provence. “When I lived in Sydney, I bought myself a bunch of flowers from the market every week after being influenced by my time in Europe. And the mindset is changing here, there’s a new appreciation for incorporating flowers into daily lives and their emotional impact on wellness.”

As many businesses struggled with the challenges that COVID placed on the economy, Kristi’s belief in her business offerings and some astute business foresight, helped her not only survive but continue to flourish.

Cafés in the area began closing at 2pm out of fear of lack of demand and overhead costs, Pansabella chose to keep its doors open until 5pm.

Market analytics helped pinpoint the demand for gift hampers, especially during COVID isolation restrictions and Pansabella were forced to close Mother’s Day sales on their website after virtual sales of hampers hit 340 and a four-hour line up of locals waited outside.

Krisit tells me that it was also a privilege to create floral funeral tributes and how touched she was when a family had visited her not long ago to thank her personally.

“I will never just churn floral arrangements out en masse and stop caring about the journey. Everything that I do will always be with thought and care.”

Amongst the gentle hum of Pansabella’s patrons, the clink of coffee cup synchronized with hiss of coffee machine, I watch Kristi wrap a customer’s floral selection in brown parchment paper, before deftly tying a knot in the length of twine at its base and completing the process with the Pansabella signature touch – a dry sprig of flowers tucked in its bow.

Her customer gently clasps the bouquet to her chest, her face a mixture of awe and delight, cradling them out of the store as if it were precious cargo.

So how is a Pansabella arrangement created? See the magic below!

Step 1:

Selecting appropriate flowers to suit the occasion.

Step 2:

Flowers are laid down and prepped – ready to be ‘arranged’ together.

Step 3:

Putting together the floral arrangement – piece by piece.

Step 4:

The bouquet is ready to be wrapped with the signature Pansabella touch.

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