WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER YOUR LOVE FOR FLOWERS?
It was when my florist bailed out the day before my own wedding! I made it to the wholesaler just before they closed at noon that Saturday (with my wedding taking place on Sunday). I picked out some flowers and literally slapped some bouquets together. I had no idea what I was doing even though and even though it was stressful, I thought it was fun and that feeling of satisfaction making my own bouquets for my very own wedding was next level! I didn’t think much of it after that but a couple of years later, my wedding clients started to ask if I offered fresh floral bouquets and arrangements with my décor rentals. I said sure, why not! That was 12 years ago, and the rest is history!
WHAT IS THE MOST MEANINGFUL ARRANGEMENT YOU HAVE CREATED?
The arrangements for the funeral of my best friend’s father in 2019. I specialize in weddings and it was my first time doing funeral flowers. My wholesaler was surprised at the flowers I ordered - gerberas, premium hydrangeas, premium roses, lisianthus, snapdragons, lilies, and ranunculus - as these weren’t typical funeral flowers. As his funeral was a celebration of his life on earth, I wanted the flowers to reflect a celebration, just like a wedding.
WHAT IS THE MOST UNDERRATED FLOWER IN YOUR OPINION?
Carnations! I used to have my own (not so good) opinions on carnations too, but grew to love them mainly because my supplier gets me big premium ones, the ones that could open almost to the size of my palm (although I think mini carnations can be super cute too)! They’re inexpensive, can be in water for more than a month (around 5 weeks, I tried!), and can also be great without a water source for weddings and events if needed. As I’ve worked with them more, I’ve realized that I really love the texture that they give each floral arrangement. When incorporated well, they can really add to the design. Also, they come in many different colours, for example in the purple family alone, they naturally come in a few shades of purple, lilac and lavender - both dark and light. You can even get them in naturally grown mixed colours!
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT SHOWCASING YOUR WORK AT FLEURS DE VILLES IN MONTREAL?
We specialize in weddings and this was definitely something out of the norm for us, but we were up for the challenge! When everything finally came together, we were able to stand back and admire our masterpiece and think, “Wow, we did that!” What I loved even more was when we went back almost everyday to water and refresh our display, I took the time to step back and watch the visitors experience our labour of love; seeing them smiling and lining up to take photos with our display was very humbling. I also very much enjoyed walking around the show seeing how the other florists had brought their mannequins to life and again, seeing how all the displays brought happiness to all the show visitors!
WHAT TIPS AND TRICKS CAN YOU SHARE WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE KEEN TO ADD FLOWERS TO THEIR HOME DECOR?
I love having fresh flowers at home. It helps being a florist, right? My favourite is always all white flowers. I think that displaying the flowers individually in their own vases exudes elegance and luxury. If you look at interior design magazines, their flower arrangements are always very simple - less is more. Flowers I love to use for home decorating include hydrangeas, roses, tulips, peonies, dendrobium orchids, double stocks, ranunculus and anemones. Choose one variety of flower in a vase of various heights, and to prolong the life of your fresh flowers, cut the stems every one or two days, remove leaves below the water level, and change the water often to avoid the growth of bacteria.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WHEN CREATING A FRESH FLORAL DESIGN FOR FLEURS DE VILLES?
As I’m sure many florists would agree, the biggest challenge was the mechanics of including water sources to ensure the floral display would stay fresh for as long as possible. For the Montreal VOYAGE 2023 show, our design was inspired by China’s Lantern Festival, and as we wanted to include a large Chinese Phoenix in addition to our mannequin, we needed to do lots of research! Our small team of 4 spent many hours brainstorming and planning, then over 50 hours to create this phoenix the same way a Chinese lantern would be made, with a wire frame and light fabric or paper. We were so proud of the final design, and thrilled to win the ‘Most Creative' and 'Florist Favourite’ awards.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF RUNNING A FLORAL BUSINESS?
The most challenging aspect has been learning how to run a business geared to making a profit, rather than “winging it” and doing business based on my emotions. I started in the wedding industry because I loved designing; invitations, stationery, decorations, florals, etc. I had no business background so had many mistakes to make and a lot to learn to get to where I am today. I know many florists who are still not pricing or paying themselves properly, and am passionate about mentoring florists and finding ways their businesses flourish
WHAT IS YOUR TOP FLORAL TIP FOR OUR FLEURS DE VILLES GUESTS?
Go early in the morning when there aren’t a lot of people so you can take your time, enjoy each display and take photos without too many other visitors in the background. Also, when you visit each display, look at it from different angles and appreciate it from up close, from afar and from the sides - the florists have done the same, so you’ll discover something different from every angle. Try to name the flowers you see and enjoy the different varieties the florists have chosen to create their masterpieces. You might also want to download a free flower identification app to make the most out of your visit!
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE YOU SEE PEOPLE MAKING WHEN IT COMES TO CHOOSING FLOWERS?
Choosing too many varieties of flowers for one arrangement, whether it’s for weddings or home decorating. Less is more! I know there are so many beautiful flowers, it’s difficult to choose. Try to focus on one or two blooms for the focal flower and then choose other flowers to complement them. This is the same when it comes to choosing the colours for your floral designs. Instead of using all the pretty colours all in one arrangement, choose complementary colours and play with the different shades, shapes and textures of one colour. You’ll be surprised what you come up with.
CAN YOU SHARE ANY TIPS FOR NOVICE FLORAL DESIGNERS LOOKING TO IMPROVE THEIR SKILLS?
Practice, experiment, practice, experiment, and practice some more. You will never learn all the tips and tricks of floral arranging as there are hundreds of different ways of achieving each look. Practice and experiment to see what you like most and what works best for you. Even now I’m always streaming YouTube videos to see how other florists do things. There’s a lot to learn. Never think you have learned it all. Always have a growth mindset and you’ll be good.
WHAT'S THE MOST UNUSUAL FLORAL OR OTHER ELEMENT YOU'VE EVER USED IN AN ARRANGEMENT?
I once had to incorporate skulls into a centrepiece for a wedding!