Honestly, I would love to buy all the things at Asrai Garden, but for the pragmatist, it’s a “special occasion” type of shopping experience.
Wicker Park was Chicago’s prime hipster spot. Nowadays, the young hipster vibe has grown up: a little more sophisticated, a little more refined, conscious of its own likes and dislikes, but still uber hip. Asrai Garden fits this vibe. I expected to find a flower shop sprinkled with cute but overpriced doodads and knick-knacks that look handmade but are actually manufactured in China. Not so! It is a small and lovely space with vases on vases of flowers—perfectly set up for building a unique bouquet—and cases and shelves of actual artisan crafts worth adorning your home with (try leaving the store without finding a few things you just can’t live without).
Overall score: Good
Established in 1999, Asrai Garden is a flower shop that specializes in wedding and events, while also offering a “carefully curated selection of jewelry, personal care products, and home design and adornment items.” The shop lives in Chicago’s Wicker Park, just off of the intersection of North, Damen and Milwaukee Avenues.
Money Score: Okay
As I have learned over the years, most places that don’t display prices tend to be on the pricey side for the average millennial: one particular candle costs $50 (but it was truly gorgeous). A sweet, marbley 3-inch stone obelisk runs for $24. This is a boutique shop, though, so the prices are not surprising. If you want something very special to treat yourself or to treat one of your friends, you can find it here.
Owner Elizabeth Cronin opened Asrai Garden when she was 23 years old and stumbled through the difficulties of running a business. Her passion for flowers helped her persevere. She’s built and curated her shop to become, “part of a community of makers and lovers, families, and friends.” Not everything is made locally, but everything in the shop is made with love and care, from their own beautiful and one-of-a-kind bouquets to the hand-poured candles and handmade jewelry.
‘All the Feels’: Good
From inside the shop to its Instagram and overall online presence, this place will touch the deepest part of your hipster soul (and not in the dirty-word definition of hipster where it’s pretentious for the sake of pretentiousness). The shop is hip and modern, but the thought, care and intentionality of the products and flowers shines through, giving it a very genuine and honest feel. I touched everything. I smelled everything. I looked at everything. I had to–everything demanded my attention and I happily obliged. The plants almost look like they’re part of the decor and not for purchase—and I sort of forgot they were there—until I saw a fern I liked. But the clerk helped me pick one that required less maintenance.