CASTLE ROCK — While working as a floral designer in Los Angeles, Jason Vorse created arrangements in $5 million malachite crystal urns for Princess Beatrice of York’s sweet-16 birthday party. He set up flowers for Ashton Kutcher’s wedding to Demi Moore in the middle of the night in unmarked vehicles to avoid the paparazzi.
And yet, after working nearly two decades with prestigious floral design studios in Los Angeles, Vorse decided to move back to his hometown and open Pollen Floral Works with his husband, Vicente.
Vorse, son of Castle Rock Chamber of Commerce Vice President Mike Vorse, started his first job at All Season Garden Center in Kelso when he was 16. All Season is now closed, but Vorse said his time there was influential.
“They kind of installed that interest in the plant world and … I ran with it,” said Vorse, now 38. “I drifted over to the floral side after I started playing with the products that I was growing in my yard.”
Vorse attended the Seattle Floral Design Institute and then moved to Los Angeles in 2000, honing a signature look that he describes as contemporary, romantic and modern.
After years of living in a big city, the Vorses decided to slow down their pace and find a smaller, closer-knit community.
“We had an ‘aha’ moment one night when we were talking about the future,” said Vicente Vorse, 32, a Los Angeles native. “(I said) ‘Wouldn’t you want to start something amazing somewhere else?’ ”
So they moved to Castle Rock to start a floral arranging business: Pollen Floral Works, located at 132 Front Ave. SW, opened on Aug. 11.
The Vorses said they already have regulars who stop in every day to say ‘hello’ or drop off surplus produce. They added that a warm welcome from the Castle Rock community has made them feel at home and has made their job more interesting.
“It’s harder in a big city to connect on a personal level,” Jason Vorse said. “(Arrangements) are a lot less generic when you’re able to have those conversations and communications at a more personal level.”
Pollen offers floral arrangements for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, condolences and other special occasions. They deliver to Castle Rock, Longview, Kelso, Toutle, Vader and the surrounding areas.
The shop has also started to offer design workshops for groups to learn how to create arrangements such as floral head wreaths or living succulent wreaths.
While Vicente Vorse has experience as a florist, he insists that his spouse has an innate talent for original floral designs. He pointed to one of Jason Vorse’s signature designs, cymbidium orchids arranged as a locus, which he said has now been replicated by many others.
“It’s very mesmerizing to watch him work,” Vicente Vorse said. “It’s very easy for him. … Other people try to mimic him, but the catty in me is like, ‘You’re not doing it right.’ ”
While Jason Vorse may be the expert in floral design, Vicente Vorse’s eye as a visual merchandiser created Pollen’s bright and whimsical interior.
The spacious, one-room shop has a tall wooden work table, a glass cooler displaying vibrant flowers, succulents hanging from glass bulbs and chalkboard walls swirling with freehand etchings of colorful vines and blooms. Three mounted deer heads and twisting wooden displays add a splash of the unconventional.
This unique taste is what is bringing in customers and event bookings, they said.
“I think (the community is) excited to see a fresh take on things,” Jason Vorse said. “We’re constantly changing and presenting new looks, designs and creations.”