Abigail Spencer Talks Frames and Shaping the ‘Florista’ Culture
We caught up with the actress to find out more about her partnership with BonLook, as well as her brand new business.
“As with all good things, it started with two women getting together,” Abigail Spencer tells us with a laugh of how her new collaboration with Montreal eyewear company BonLook came about. The former Suits actress met The Brand is Female’s Eva Hartling (who looks after the brand’s PR in the country) at a workshop earlier this year and the pair talked all things Canada and creativity. “I have a lot of strong connections to Canada, I’ve shot there a lot, and I’ve spent a lot of time in Canada. I also like to be creatively involved when I partner with brands,” she says adding that she really wants “to support female-owned companies.” Plus, there’s also the fact that she’s “secretly French. I mean I’m not at all but I think I am and so with the Canada relationship and being secretly French and wearing glasses all the time and that being a really integral part of my style, [Eva] introduced me to BonLook and here we go!”
Spencer is a self-confessed eyewear addict. “When you walk into my house, I have 20 pairs of sunglasses at the front door because I’m always experimenting,” she tells us, adding that her childhood and family’s connection to surfing played a large part in developing her addiction to the accessory. “I grew up surfing, my family are all professional surfers, I grew up in a surf shop [her family owns a surf shop on the Gulf Coast of Florida] so sunglasses aren’t just style, they’re a way of life, you actually need them.” Her mother’s style was also a big influence – “My mother really does look like if Donna Reid and Jackie O had a baby, and she was always wearing large frames, all black styles” – as well as Audrey Hepburn movies, like Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Funny Face.
BonLook approached Spencer to name the collection – she chose Betty, a nod to her family as it’s a surf term for a beautiful woman. It also happens to be the name of the vintage VW truck she’s using for her new business (more on that later). Due to COVID, Spencer also art directed the campaign shoot in Los Angeles. “BonLook really trusted me. Looking back I’m like, should they have trusted me that much? But it definitely worked out. I do produce and I also style myself a lot, I’m very involved,” she explains, adding that her favourite style in the collection is the Indio, the white version of which caught her eye during the shoot. “I’m pretty simple, I like a tortoise, I like black, but I really do like the white, they just look so good.” Plus, the style ends her hunt for a pair with a smaller frame. “I’m always looking for the perfect pair of sunglasses and I had been looking for something smaller, with a little bit more edge, and these are perfect.”
With one sunglass hunt over and the pandemic having settled in and suspended shooting across the States, Spencer found herself with “space to tend to other things because I’ve been very fortunate and very lucky as an actor to have been on sets for 20 years. This is really the first time that I’ve had a moment to tend to some other dreams,” she says. Spencer’s language is peppered with references to her passions, like florals (as seen above when she talks about tending) and surfing – she describes her new business, a floral delivery service called County Line Florals as having “caught the wave” on more than one occasion. It’s refreshing, and also reflects the genuine passion she has for the business – which she started to homage her late father, who died of a heart attack whilst surfing at Malibu’s County Line on Valentine’s Day in 2011. “It radically changed my life in every single possible way,” she recalls of the moment. “I’d always wanted to do something with Valentine’s Day and County Line – my dad is buried at Gulf Breeze, Florida, where I’m from but he lives on at County Line and it just followed me around.”
It was when she was shooting in North Carolina earlier this year that the idea was cemented. “I wanted to get an old surf truck, like a 1965 VW Transporter and turn it into a mobile flower shop because it didn’t exist in LA. I was like, I’ll call it County Line Florals, and it will homage my dad, bring elevated surf culture with design and florals and now I can have control over the florals I send people,” she says with a laugh.
What started out as a side business has now, as a result of the pandemic, become something more full-time and Spencer has big plans for the business, which will open its first storefront in LA later this month. “My dream is to do what coffee culture and ice cream culture has become – daily, artisanal practice. We’re trained now, we need our coffee and I want the same thing for florals, I want people to have the same accessibility and ease.” That’s why she and her team refer to themselves as ‘floristas’. “We’re not florists, we’re making up the daily brew,” she explains of the brand’s bouquets, which are named after women she knows or is inspired by. “This company is a love letter, not only to my dad who was my inspiration [but also] all of the incredible women in my life.” Plus, there’s a similarity between fashion and florals, given that they too are creating collections. “Just like BonLook does with their sunglasses, with the name, each bouquet is like a [piece of] fashion. We do custom, we can do a one-off, and we have seasonal collections.” And this is just the beginning. “It’s fun and it’s exciting to see how it will develop – it’s caught such wind and there’s more to come,” she says. We bet(ty) there is.