Based in Lisbon for 8 years now, Chelsea Fuss is a petal of passion and a branch of "savoir-faire".
She does floral arrangements giving them emotions, creating memories, turning everything into stories.
A passionate florist, nurturing love for the present the earth gives her.
1 — Well, first tell me about your story, who is Chelsea?
My name is Chelsea Fuss, I am originally from the Pacific Northwest, near Seattle. I am the second youngest in a big family with three older sisters and one younger brother. I moved to Lisbon 8 years ago. I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur and always knew I would move overseas. I live alone as I have for most of my adult life. I run my own business, my own household, and I love combining creative work with business, social causes, and activism when and where I can. Gardening and plants have been part of my life since I was a child and it defines the world for me.
2 — How did the passion for flowers pop out? I mean, how did you know that this would be what you wanted for your life?
I've loved flowers, nature, and getting my hands dirty since I was a little girl. When I was 7 years old, I asked my mother to forgo the vegetable plot for a field of flowers. In high school, when my peers were at grunge concerts, I was in my cottage garden making herbal bouquets and growing cosmos and sweet peas. I didn't always want to be a florist. I wanted to be an art curator so I studied art history but I soon learned that I was more interested in being outside or with flowers than stuck inside a museum all day and pursuing flowers felt like a natural next step.
3 — And what did make you move to Portugal? What was your goal when you first come here? Did you have any expectations?
I had no expectations for Portugal and I knew virtually nothing about it when I arrived. I try not to have any expectations when I travel, I find it widens your perspective and lets you experience awe more frequently. I moved to Portugal on a whim. In 2014, I sold all of my belongings, and left Portland, a city that was my home for 14 years and helped me grow in big ways both creatively and personally. I traveled for 10 months alone in Europe, with a very small backpack, with no knowledge of where I would land the next month. I continued my floral teachings online and volunteered on organic flower farms in France, Sweden, Germany, and the UK. Looking for a warmer place, I spontaneously booked an apartment in Beja, Portugal. Once I saw the orange tree in the courtyard and experienced the hospitality of the people there, I realized I'd never be able to return to my former life. A month later, I went to Lisbon and that really sealed the deal for me. I love small cities and I found the people to be much more open and friendly than in the North of Europe while still retaining a sense of reservedness and quietness that I truly cherish as an introvert. For me, it was the perfect match of openness and tradition. Other driving factors for coming to Europe and also to Portugal: safety (no gun violence), walkability, in general, a mindset that embraces quality of life over commerce and money.
4 — What is for you the meaning of a Portuguese lifestyle?
To me, Portugal as a whole prioritizes family, and it's quite apparent that there is a reverence, respect and care for children that I have not seen elsewhere. I've also learned from my time here about the deep reverence for matriarchy and mothers that I find to be quite heartening. I love the ability to accept life as it is, without always striving or fighting. Appreciating life for the messy, challenging time it can be. While many people strive to reduce their carbon footprints and return to a simple way of life, Portugal has been operating this way already and I hope it doesn't stop. Hanging laundry in the sunshine, eating just-picked produce that needs to have snails picked off of it before eating, and walking to every errand are simple and in Portugal, normal things that are luxuries in our modern times. While some might be misinformed enough to call this way of life "backward or behind the times," we know now that this is the lifestyle that can help preserve our earth and our wellbeing as humans.
5 — All of your perspective is quite inspiring! Is there any item of Luz you like the most?
I need the orange blossom candle! I appreciate the care you, Paula, took to create natural fragrances housed in locally made ceramics. The result is natural, beautiful and infused with authenticity.
LUZ EDITIONS CANDLE (ALEGRIA)
6 — Last but not least, if you could define in a single word or a single sentence Portugal, what would it be?
Wild and free.
Thank you for inspiring us, Chelsea.