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The women at FAIT are taking their love of plants to the streets with mobile solarium and design studio
What do you get when you combine a love of horticulture, innovative engineering, warm sunlight and feminine creativity? The answer is Axil Rose, NOLA’s first mobile solarium and design studio. This 23-foot van, made in part with reclaimed cypress, meanders throughout the city making stops at farmers markets, pop-up arts events, bridal showers and private parties.
“We partnered with New Orleans Airlift to retrofit Axil Rose, a 1997 step van, to bring our love of plants and making things to the greater New Orleans’ community,” says Emily Fields Joffrion, part owner of FAIT.
The business started as a way for sisters, Emily and Laura Joffrion to celebrate their mother’s love of floral design and gardening.
“Mom was always working with plants when we were younger,” says Emily. “She cultivated a miniature garden of honeysuckle and morning glories in our yard. It was so enchanting that hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies would dance around while we ate breakfast. Her gift with plants is undeniable; it comes to her like breathing.”
Kathleen Robinson studied at LSU in the horticulture department before entering the floral design industry in Baton Rouge. However, to better support her three daughters, she put her floral career on hold. She became a paralegal and for years worked for her father, David Robinson, after whom the LSU Law School’s Robinson Courtroom is named.
Robinson’s creativity is sparked by the natural world. She uses plants as a medium for her creative expression. Now her daughters are helping her live her dream of helping others find their own creativity through plants.
The business offers customers a wide selection of exotic plants from giant bromeliads to tiny succulents. Then clients choose their plants as an artist chooses tubes of paint to create a work of arts.
“We help you design your plant in a beautiful setting that is unique to your tastes, whether that’s helping you create a terrarium, mounting a staghorn fern, or repotting your plant in the perfect ceramic piece,” Emily says.
This family business also offers workshops at their home base and in the migratory Axil Rose. They cover such topics as terrarium design, plant pruning and propagation, mounting exotic epiphytes, and caring for orchids, succulents and air plants.
Holly Hobbs, corporate development specialist at WWNO, recently attended one of FAIT’s orchid workshops.
“I was assisted in designing my own piece while being taught orchid care,” she says. “It was an amazing experience.”
FAIT connects people to the exotic and promotes vibrant, organic living experiences through plant design and local craft, and because of Axil Rose that experience can now come right to your door.