IMAGE / WILLOW AND CO PHOTOGRAPHY
You’ve recently opened a beautiful destination store in Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains. What helped you decide to do this and why?
Having my own bricks and mortar shop was always on the cards and it was the last chapter to complete the Floral Ink circle. We do weddings and events, we have our online floristry store and now we have our new shop. We’re now a bigger part of the mountains community and I love seeing people and the happiness that flowers and gifts bring them.
What do you love about being in the mountains?
I adore the rugged landscape and the ever-changing climate and environment. I also love the quintessential village feel that the mountains has. Community so is important up here and the mountains really foster and promote that. Being in the mountains makes me feel alive.
What inspired you to be a florist and how did you go about it?
I completed a fine arts and teaching degree and then became a high school teacher here in the Blue Mountains. After our son was born with mild cerebral palsy, I wanted and needed a change from that career path and so I found flowers! Flowers became my therapy and floristry helped me to reinvent myself and find the creative drive I had stored away. I studied floristry in the evenings twice a week at Richmond Tafe and met fellow artists like Saskia Havekes from Grandiflora, Myra Perez from My Violet and Lesley Elsegood, who became my floral mentor. These women inspired me to see floristry from an artistic perspective and in an aethestic sensitive light. I haven’t missed teaching at all!
“Flowers became my therapy and floristry helped me to reinvent myself and find the creative drive I had stored away”
IMAGE / WILLOW AND CO PHOTOGRAPHY
Describe yourself and Floral Ink in 4 words?
Romantic, bespoke, artistic, expressive, wild!
How would you describe your style and has it changed over time?
Floral Ink style is botanical, expressive, sculptural, wild – and its very changeable. We do so many styles and it really ends up being a further expression of the flowers we work with. We look at the flowers and let their beauty do the talking.
What makes you different from others in your field?
Attention to detail! We are a boutique service so the flowers we work with are premium and sometimes a little uncommon. We complement the surroundings with the right flower and arrangement and a lot of thought, planning and discussion goes into the actual creation and design.
Floral Ink style is botanical, expressive, sculptural, wild and its very changeable.
To date, what has been your career highlight?
There are too many to count! But I would probably say it’s between opening the Floral Ink shop and being a part of the Blue Mountains Botanic Exhibition, which is currently at the Cultural Centre. And I have to add it’s also having such an amazing team to work every day with.
The amazing Floral Ink team, from left: Bec, Hannah, Will, Edith, Naomi and Suse
What is your favourite part of the job?
Without a doubt it’s creating and getting to do that with my team. And of course, there is working with flowers every day!
How do you keep your creative drive going?
Coffee! Ha! More importantly it’s my husband and my team that keep me going. I couldn’t do it without them. You have to continually be learning in this industry and you can’t be complacent. You always have to be onto the current trends and movements, what people like, what moves them or interests them. You also have to be passionate otherwise you won’t survive. I often ask my team why did you choose Floral Ink and they say, it’s because we are continually inventing and creating new solutions to what we do.
You always have to be onto the current trends and movements, what people like, what moves them or interests them.
What does a typical working day/wedding look like for you?
A typical day which includes a market run will start at 3 am. I’ll arrive at the markets around 4.30am, select and collect our flower pallets and although I’ll have a vague vision of what I want, I’ll often choose what’s in season and available on the day. I’ll then return to the shop to unload, prepare orders or installations for weddings or events. And whilst I’m doing that I’m on the shop floor. For weddings we have a team of either 2 to 4 staff to prepare. It’s a group effort and I’ve leant over time that you must have a creative team, with dedicated roles. Once that’s all done it’s reordering and restocking in the shop. A lot of the actual design work happens with the clients and often my most creative designs will happen when I’m driving to the markets. It’s all systems go until I go to sleep!
What is your most important tool to work with? Is there something you can’t work without?
It’s a toss up between my phone and my Felco 5 secateurs!
Do you have a favourite flower and why? Are fresh flowers a part of your home?
My favourite flower is the Cymbidium Orchid – it was my wedding flower. Every single stem has its own pattern and colour configuration. They are truly amazing! I mainly have plants and dried branches at home, such as Monstera Deliciosa. When you have dogs and a child you need something hardy.
You can find Southern Wild Co instore at Floral Ink.