September-October 2015 | STOP & SMELL THE ROSES

Ami Reist of Little Miss Lovely



Written By: Brian Shane | Photographer: GRANT L. GURSKY

Ami Reist’s cozy floral-design studio feels like a Pinterest page come to life. She took abandoned wood shelves and turned them into classy wall décor by staining the planks and attaching them to the walls. She covered the shop’s original bright-orange mismatched laminate countertop with a thin layer of feather-finish concrete. The ceiling is draped with burlap sacks for a shabby-chic look.

“I’ve always had some kind of creative outlet,” she said while treating fresh flowers with glitter and hairspray (craft stores sell glitter glue for a few bucks per bottle, but she says cheap hairspray from the dollar store works just as well). "We did everything recycled, reused and eco-friendly, to try to keep costs down and save as much as we could."

A resident of Ocean Pines, Reist started Little Miss Lovely out of her home in 2012. She opened her West Ocean City storefront this February and has already booked more than 50 weddings this year. 

Located beside the Village Greens nursery, her shop is filled with other trash-to-treasure finds, like a bank of storage lockers rescued from a shuttered Hershey’s chocolate factory. With Reist, wooden furniture someone had sent to the trash bin finds new life as display tables. 

She even keeps fresh flowers in old Fisher’s Popcorn buckets as she separates and trims each stem for arrangements.

“It doesn’t get much more Ocean City than that,” she said with a smile.

Indeed, Little Miss Lovely got its start at the beach, as a side business Reist had in college. She would troll the shoreline, searching for the cast-off seashells and other ocean treasures she would make into earrings, necklaces and bracelets.

Ami’s Mermaid Jewelry transitioned into a full-fledged business of making wedding jewelry. That led her to doing wedding shows, which finally became a full-time floral-design and event-decorating business. 

Her style is funky and nontraditional, and she makes sure clients know that everything she creates will be handmade and one-of-a-kind; there’s no 1-800-Flowers going on here. “I don’t like the idea of opening a catalog that a hundred different florists could be using already,” she said.

Flowers are in the family. Reist’s grandmother was the president of the local flower club in her native Pennsylvania. When her “nana” retired from the club, her mom took over that role. Reist said she’d been competing in flower shows with her mom from ages 8 to 18 and was a regular blue-ribbon winner.

Three years ago, Reist was working for a local website design company when she decided to take Little Miss Lovely full-time. She got a stand at the Ocean Pines Farmer’s Market, and when her specialty Mason jar floral centerpieces proved a hit, the business started taking off by word of mouth. 

Now, she’s a one-woman show, from invoices and accounting to arrangements and deliveries.

“I couldn’t do working in an office environment anymore,” she said. “This is awesome. I don’t have to answer to anyone. I really enjoy it. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it for me to do it that way.”

Ami Reist Jachimski
Posted On: 9/8/15 3:47 pm
Thank you so much for featuring myself & my small business in this issue's "Shore Style"! I am blushing like crazy at your beautiful words, Brian, and this photo is very flattering, Grant! Go team Little Miss Lovely!