my story

Hi, I'm Zoe Branch, a Brooklyn-based writer and maker and the founder of flora & phrase, a small arts business dedicated to bringing words into peoples' spaces to remind us of their power.
The machine I primarily use — a 1931 Remington Noiseless — belonged originally to my great grandfather and was a favorite "toy" of mine as a kid. I'd type on it for hours in my grandparents' basement growing up, inventing fantastical stories while sitting on the floor cross-legged. About a decade ago, however, the keys began to stick and it stopped working.

In 2017, my mom spent months cleaning and fixing the typewriter, which she then gave to me as a gift. It sat dusty on my shelf for a year until my beloved grandfather received a grim cancer diagnosis. I took down the typewriter, sat cross-legged on my bedroom floor, and used it to write him a limerick that covered the scope of his life; I then figured out how to mount it on wood and pair it with one of the many pressed flowers I had tucked into a phonebook over the years. I gave it to him as a gift and he hung it in his living room so he could read it every day. Thus, flora & phrase was born.

When I think of how much comfort that single poem brought to my grandfather in a harrowing moment in his life, I think of how much I want to spread that comfort and joy via words into everyone's living rooms. With every purchase you make from flora & phrase — for yourself or for a loved one — you're buying something that you can put in your space and remind you to be grateful, to be gentle, to laugh often. You're buying reminders of life's sentimentality or snark. You're reminding people that they are loved.

In my mission to spread the power of words, I also try to center two things that are important to me: eco-consciousness and anti-racism. All products are made on ethically sourced wood, environmentally friendly paper, and are mailed in 100% recycled envelopes. I also partner with emerging writers in Black, Indigenous, and queer communities to feature their original poetry and pay them for their work.

The pieces you can find here are a mix of my own work, the poetry of these writers, words by thinkers whose minds I admire, and — for good measure — a bit of snark and cynicism. These are all meant to serve as little reminders that you can sprinkle throughout your home. You get to choose whether the reminder is a lovely poem or a funny quip. Or both. I think we could all use a bit more of both.