“I’ve done a lot of different things in my life,” Izzy Lynch tells me as she scurries about a bright, open retail space. She stuffs a variety of dried and preserved flora into a vase for a customer who’s coming by later, and then surveys the cooler at the back to see how all her flowers are doing. This is her day job now, and she loves it.
Different is exactly what this space is for the professional skier and powerhouse mother, who has just swapped the daily grind for a beautifully adorned shop with plants, pottery and moody mountain photography.
Welcome to Left Field Floral.
Lynch is the first to admit that becoming a florist at the age of 37 is a strange turn on her résumé. As a professional skier and acclaimed filmmaker, she’s still fully in her prime, and nothing in her past pointed towards this. After graduating from the University of Calgary with a degree in communications in 2008, she started a freeride ski-coaching business in Revelstoke—where she’s lived ever since. Next, she started a not-for-profit society called the Live It! Love It! Foundation for adaptive sports. Then she went on to work for Mica Heliskiing, Sherpas Cinema, and finally Protect Our Winters Canada, where she was the program director.
Buying a flower shop might seem an odd next move given she was already working her dream job at POW Canada and still skiing professionally— but that’s kind of the point. Lynch has never been conventional in her approach to life as an athlete, as a mom, or as a serial entrepreneur. The scope of her work almost seems impossible, but juggling two careers—one in the office and one on snow—has been a balancing act she’s thrived on. Especially her time at POW Canada.
“I loved working for POW,” she says. “It was at this step in my career that I felt took all the things I had learned about business and the ski industry and made it meaningful. Working in climate advocacy gave me purpose. The work I was doing felt like it was melding all the different jobs I had done together into one.”
It was perfect. But when the pandemic hit, something changed. Face-to-face interactions went away, and computer time ramped up. Everything went online, and her life became dominated by screens.
“I was just so drained at the end of every day,” she recalls. “I’m not made to sit on a computer every day. And it stayed that way even when the pandemic eased off, it just became habitual.”
She was pregnant with her second child at the time, so maternity leave gave her a small break from pixels, but as the time approached to go back to work she started dreading the idea. She found herself daydreaming about doing physical labor instead. That’s when she came across a Facebook post listing the local flower shop for sale.
“It totally came out of left field,” she says laughing. “It’s just been this theme in my life where I get an idea for something that seems exciting to me and I figure it out.”
The numbers made sense, and she saw an opportunity to be on her feet all day instead of hunched over a laptop. What’s more, she could be her own boss: which meant more flexibility for skiing and family. She went for it and took the risk. She learned everything she could about flowers in a furious blitz of online courses, and from the previous owner, while also renovating and transforming the shop. She then renamed it Left Field Floral, in honor of how crazy it all felt.
What’s crazier, though, is it’s working. She now spends her days helping people celebrate their most joyous moments (weddings are her main business), which in turn helps feed her own happiness. She feels more connected to her community, and she’s living in her real-life body again. And while there were some in-over-her-head moments, she worked her way through them the way she always has.
“Sometimes you have to ask for help,” she admits, comparing those times to moments in the mountains when she needed guidance. But, ultimately, life as a skier is exactly what prepared her for this. “You’re constantly facing these new challenges when you’re skiing. Like when you’re at the top of a new line or a section of a run where you’re like, ‘I’ve never been through this before, how do I navigate it?’ Part of it is intuitive, part of it is looking at it and making a plan.”
That pragmatism is a powerful asset, according to Dave Erb, Lynch’s former boss at POW Canada, who says she could make a lemonade stand into a thriving business.
“When Izzy was first hired, she jumped in with both feet and took the organization to a whole new level,” Erb remembers. “Her extensive experience in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sector, and her natural ability to think creatively, let us tackle issues and launch programs that, prior to her arrival, were aspirational at best.”
And while Lynch wouldn’t trade that time for the world, these days, she’s putting herself and her family first, focusing on what she loves, and coming home a whole lot happier.
“I feel like, right now, things are pretty good,” she says, surrounded by flowers.