Adela Flora: Creating Beauty and Community in Downtown Durango
By Kathleen O’Connor
Durango creative Natalie McClain is living life in full bloom. As the owner and chief designer behind Adela Flora, a flower boutique for all occasions, McClain artfully weaves stunning floral designs that beautifully reflect the emotion and character of those special moments in life. Whether designing a unique floral arrangement for a wedding ceremony or creating a lovely bouquet for local delivery to family or friends, McClain’s gift for flower-crafting shines through.
Originally from Albuquerque, McClain moved with her family to New Orleans as a teen, where she attended high school and later Loyola University. It was in the South where McClain acquired her graceful aesthetics for color and composition that would serve her well later in life. “Color is a passion of mine, and I have a good eye for it,” explains McClain. “And I really enjoy creating art without having to draw or paint. If I had to draw or paint something, nobody would buy it,” she says with a laugh. “I get to create beauty from something already beautiful.”
In 2004, after college graduation, McClain relocated to Durango, a favorite family vacation spot she’d grown to love over the years. But as a New Orleans transplant, McClain struggled with the cold mountain winters. After daily walks by a local flower shop, she soon devised a remedy for her seasonal sadness. Why not work among beautiful flowers to combat the winter blues? “I thought if I surrounded myself with flowers, maybe the winters wouldn’t be so hard,” she says. With much determination and persistence, McClain landed a job at the flower shop where, for the next 11 years, she honed her skills in flower artistry and the fundamentals of running a business. When the flower shop came into new ownership in 2017, McClain began pondering her next move. “The stars aligned and told me to believe in myself and make a jump. So, I did,” she says. As a result, Adela Flora, named after McClain’s Italian great-grandmother whose portrait now hangs in the shop, flowered into existence.
Since then, McClain’s talents have been recognized in numerous publications, and just last fall, Durango’s Chamber of Commerce awarded Adela Flora “Small Business of the Year.”
Now working in her shop located in historic downtown Durango with a staff of up to nine creative talents, McClain has discovered her latest passion: teaching others the art form of floral design. “I love teaching, both my staff and through our workshops,” she says. “I love coaching others as they go through the process of learning. That’s what gives me goosebumps.”