Tell me, how did you get into floristry?
Floristry was the perfect way to combine my creative and visual mind with my passion for sustainability, in an industry with lots of room for change. Long story short: I studied Environmental Science and Applied Conservation at uni, and while that shiny BSc got me a ‘proper adult job’, when I had the chance to quit working in an office I just bloody went for it.
I’m self-taught, combining an eye for colour, texture and balance, with technical skills learnt from YouTube. The floristry world has a huge scope of skills and techniques you can learn, but at the end of the day the flowers are the stars of the show and still look incredible just plonked in a vase. I like to think that without the traditional ideas and methods restricting me, my mind is free to go wild and design from a more creative place than a practical one.
My favourite things about working in floristry are using my hands every day, connecting to the most amazing local growers so I can use lush seasonal produce, and being my own boss. Delivering bouquets of floral sunshine to people all over Auckland is the best part of my week, and being a part of peoples’ ‘best day of their lives’ is the best part of my year. Absolute dream job right here!!
How long have you been in the floristry for?
Coming up 8 months in business! I’ve learnt so much from starting this lil biz, and I am bloody loving it.
I LOVE that you’re eco-conscious! What drove you to feel this way and then adapt it to your business?
As I said above, I have a BSc and a HUGE passion for the environment. I believe caring for our earth is #1 issue because our actions here in NZ not only affect those around us, but can have lasting and severe impacts on people all over the globe. I could go on and on about this!! But while I could make lots of sustainability-driven changes in my own life, like switching to solid shampoo or buying package free food, I wanted my work to be something that makes a difference too.
So bringing sustainability into my business was a no-brainer for me. The floristry industry has a big range of choices that can lead to a huge waste, or huge joy. From imported flowers, pesticides, plastic wrapping, and landfill-bound add-ons, to local growers, organic blooms, compostable wrapping and responsible gifting, the shift is easy. I aim to be leading the change, and transparently working on every single facet of my work.
How do your suppliers react if you have to ask them to change packaging to be more eco friendly? Do you ever have to ask?
There’s change slowly creeping through the industry, but definitely still very much a need to ask for change. One of the big waste-makers in the floristry industry is plastic wrapping around flowers. Growers put it on to protect the flowers during transit, but there are a few who use paper instead! So with the knowledge that alternatives are out there and work perfectly well, I think most growers have it in the back of their minds to one day make the switch to. If you ask politely, you more often than not get a polite reaction, and if not – don’t take it personally.
I also like to think of it like this: “where you spend your money is a vote for the kind of world you want to live in.” I can support the growers who are using paper wrapping. I can use organic twine that supports the growers of the jute and their communities, rather than synthetic ribbon. I can find pre-loved vases and pots at charity op shops, rather than importing them from overseas. The eco-friendly suppliers are already out there, and I’ll be their #1 cheerleader.
How have clients reacted to your methods?
It seems to be pretty evenly split: people either froth over my sustainability efforts and are totally there for it, or they don’t even notice and just like the flowers! Which is kind of the magic behind it too – those swaps to move to more eco-friendly practices are actually so easy and barely noticeable.
Though having said that, I am always absolutely over the moon to connect with couples who are seeking out an eco-friendly wedding. Working with people who share my values is the best feeling – definitely the dream clients.
Our world is definitely changing, personally I think there are a lot more businesses heading in the same direction you are. Is there something in your industry that really needs to change to keep up?
There are definitely more and more businesses and individuals thinking about this stuff, which is amazing! There is huge room for change in the floristry industry. One of the big things that really grinds my gears is that so many florists use imported flowers. New Zealand has so many amazing flower farms, and it just makes no sense to me that we export flowers and then import other flowers. Not only does it add immensely to the carbon footprint of the flowers, they have to be sprayed with pesticides on entry to the country. This means they don’t last as long or smell as good! Plus don’t get me started on the protective packaging that goes into these long haul flights….
So my #1 tip for more eco-friendly flowers is to ask your florist for only locally grown produce. Better in every single way, and supporting our local economy.
A Truly passionate woman, we can only hope to aspire too. Thanks so much Marayke for your knowledge