Paraluman Flora Believes Valentine’s Day is Not Just For Lovers

Kim Francisco

As Valentine’s Day approaches, it’s a good time to reflect on the love we have for ourselves and one another. A time-honoured symbol of devotion during this holiday is the act of giving and receiving gifts such as flowers, jewellery, and desserts. Three Toronto-based businesses that specialize in their respective fields, Paraluman Flora for florals, Kwento for desserts, and Cuchara for jewellery, have collaborated on a box that bring these special items together. The boxes will be available for purchase at an accurately named pop-up, “Not Just For Lovers”, taking place in Toronto from February 12-13th. We spoke with Kim Francisco of Paraluman Flora to learn more about the collaboration, as well as her prints and arrangements that will be available this Valentine’s Day.

What is the inspiration behind the arrangements in your Valentine’s collection arrangements and prints? How did you decide who to dedicate them to?

“I think we glorify and idealize romance to the point where we believe it’s the most important kind of love, which I believe is where unhealthy relationships come from. Last summer, a friend introduced me to All About Love by bell hooks and it has completely changed my views on affection. It taught me how to love better and to navigate relationships with family, friends, and partners. This is what inspired me to create pieces about specific relationships and the type of love they have given me. The piece ‘bell hooks’ is dedicated to her, may she rest in love, and I will always try to live by her words. ‘Friendship’ is for my closest friends who I grew with throughout the past year. We’re all so much closer to our true selves because of the support we’ve given each other, and that is invaluable. My personal favourite, ‘Blue By You’, is dedicated to another friend of mine who holds a special place in my heart. They’ve taught me more ways to care for another and I appreciate them for that.”

How did the collaboration between Paraluman, Cuchara, and Kwento come to be? 

“To anyone who’s ever followed my journey knows that the entirety of my practice is basically influenced by my Filipina-ness. I’m extremely proud to be Filipina and it makes me even more proud that there are SO many Filipinxs taking up the space that we deserve. I want to congratulate Kwento and Cuchara for opening up their own shops, I’m so so proud! Because I admire them both, I really wanted to work with them and create the most perfect Valentine’s Day package. What’s better than receiving flowers, jewelry, and desserts from three Filipinx businesses? Also, we’re all Sag women and it’s such a crazy coincidence!”

What was the initial thought while creating the collaboration box? How did you decide which pieces to include? 

“Because of our concept theme Not Just For Lovers, I wanted to create a mini bouquet that isn’t too romantic and passionate. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still the perfect gift for anybody’s romantic lover, but I wanted it to feel soft and endearing, with different shades of blue, a hint of brown, and whites. Cuchara’s dainty heart necklace comes in two versions: 10k solid yellow gold and sterling silver, while Kwento curated a box of treats as the most perfect cherry on top.”

As a floral artist, do you notice Valentine’s Day to be the busiest time of the year? What are your thoughts on this?

“After Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest times of the year, yes! It’s definitely challenging for the entire industry, including the behind-the-scenes that we don’t see: wholesalers, transportation workers, farmers, etc. If there’s anything I could say, it’s that I wish the floral industry was more sustainable and environmentally conscious. There’s a huge plastic usage problem and the one thing that most people don’t think about, the carbon footprint of shipping flowers.”

What can we expect to see next from Paraluman Flora?

“More art! The past two years have been dedicated to building a business out of Paraluman, but I think it’s time for me to really dig into my practice. Expect a floral art show from us this year. I’ve also been exploring different media to ‘immortalize’ my work, so there will be something that relates to that.”

View the gallery for a look at the Paraluman floral arrangements and prints available now. Join Paraluman, Kwento, and Cuchara at Not Just For Lovers on February 12th and 13th at 1102 College St. West, 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Photography by Johnny Tang
Graphic Design by Taylor Hand
Illustration by Tyrone