Kamilla’s Brings Flower Power to Millerton
The brightest and most exuberant spot in Millerton’s retail scene is undoubtedly Kamilla’s floral boutique on Main Street (next door to Terni’s.) With its chartreusey walls and pots of blooming plants and refrigerator of flowers, it’s cheery and uplifiting even on overcast days. Opened three years ago by Kamilla Najdek, the shop feels like someplace you’d find in a small European city, which makes sense for Najdek grew up in a small Russian city on the Baltic Sea.
“I first came to the United States when I was 19 on a work program,” says the 29-year-old. “I wanted to learn English. I worked as a housekeeper at the Interlaken in Lakeville.” She returned for several summers, mostly because she’d met a local guy, Donald Najdek (who owns EcoBuilders, a sustainable construction company.) “He’s tenth generation Millerton!” she says proudly. “We would meet in the winter in Prague, which is where he proposed.” After they got married, she went to work for a florist in Millbrook, where she learned everything about running a floral business. “Special events are very important—weddings, birthdays, sympathy, holidays,” she says. “But I wanted to do more than that. I wanted to have a retail shop where you could stop in and pick up something that could brighten your day.” Thus she stocks small items like “air plants” ($15) that live on moisture from the atmosphere and a large assortment of orchids and succulents that require minimal care. “They are very good for weekenders,” says Najdek, who says Millerton’s central location has allowed her to develop a clientele from Connecticut and Massachusetts as well as New York. She also sells a small assortment of paintings, jewelry, vases and teak furniture.
Kamilla first started working with flowers when she was housekeeping at the Interlaken. “I’d cut flowers from the garden and make arrangements for the hallways,” she recalls. Now, she tries to use locally grown flowers whenever possible, but the only reliable source is Cedar Farm in Columbia County. “Thank God for Marilyn [Cederoth],” she says. Kamilla’s arrangments tend to have a contemporary theatricality, which she attributes to her love of dance. “My mother was a choreographer,” she says. “I get a lot of inspiration by going to performances at Bard College and Jacob’s Pillow.”
One reason why Kamilla is such a conspicuous presence in Millerton is her delivery van: a bright green Honda Element with her logo on the side. “It’s my favorite shade of green,” she says, noting that the vehicle itself has beome a marketing tool. “Now, many people say that when they see any green Element, they think of me!”
Kamilla’s Floral Boutique
36 Main Street, Millerton; 518.789.3900