Shop Local: HB Fiori
Order Hermon Black's stunning arrangements to brighten someone's day—or your holiday table.
Hermon Black tried her hand at a few careers before realizing she had been a budding floral designer all along.
Growing up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she was surrounded by roses, daisies, ferns, bougainvillea and even pomegranate trees. “I was probably 7, and I would just go outside and cut flowers and arrange them,” says the founder of HB Fiori Floral Studio.
Luckily, her mother had a particular penchant that paired perfectly with her hobby. “She loved vases, and was very protective of them—but she would allow me to play with them,” Black recalls. “We loved having flowers inside the house. Flowers were a big part of my culture, and we would always take flowers when someone gave birth or for [other] occasions.”
Black moved to the States fresh out of college in 1996, and has run her floral design business out of her Arlington home since 2015. She finds inspiration in nature, describing her style as “lush, luxurious and classic.”
She has a tough time picking a favorite flower—although she admits to harboring a soft spot for peonies in spring and dahlias in summer.
“I like to add movement to my arrangements,” she says. “They’re not just stiff; there’s some airiness— something that will stick out with its own natural form of the stem, as if it’s just naturally growing out of the garden.”
Like many business owners, Black has felt the crush of the Covid-19 economy. Before the pandemic, she offered floral subscriptions to offices and residences in addition to creating arrangements for events and delivering individual bouquets, which run between $85 and $115.
“A lot of events and subscriptions got canceled immediately,” she laments. “Obviously, flowers are a luxury, even for my regular subscribers.”
She has used the downtime to spiff up her website and visit local farms in an effort to forge stronger relationships with flower growers. Still, she can’t imagine doing anything as uplifting as preparing and delivering her fanciful creations.
“Every time I drop off an arrangement, the excitement is so heartwarming,” she says. “In terms of income level, I’m probably breaking even—but the therapy part of it is priceless.”