Rachel's passion for the industry is infectious. Having switched from vineyards, to horticulture, to floristry, she is passionate about all things nature. Her business, The Green Room Flower Company, focuses on beautiful blooms and an abundance of plants.
1.What does it mean to you to be a NZ florist?
To me being a kiwi florist is pretty damn special. It’s incredible how fast the industry is growing here in New Zealand and we are very fortunate to be a part of the ever-changing world of flowers. Because we are such a small country compared to the rest of the world, it means we are constantly catching up with ‘trends’ and ‘styles’ in the flower industry.
It is such an integral part of my job researching and sourcing new ideas, I am consistently building up my skills & knowledge of flowers by trying new things and figuring out what works.
I think all good florists should be aware of future trends that might be coming their way and that they are excited to apply those new styles with an open mind and perhaps by adding a slight twist, they can make it their own.
I think that because there is such a small contingent of florists out there in NZ and we should all be doing our bit to help each other out by sharing knowledge, ideas and handy tips. Experience is an essential part of growing as a creative person and I believe we are all capable of sharing those experiences in a way so others can learn. I am often overwhelmed by how kind & open all the florists and other people involved in the wedding industry are. They selflessly share knowledge and experiences of their own so others, like myself can learn and gain insight into things they may not have been aware of before and turn that into a really useful skill. Following a career that is led by creative passion is pretty extraordinary, and I have a lot of respect for anyone who shares that path and helps me along the way.
2.What do you love about NZ Flowers and foliage?
The fact that it can be grown right here in NZ is key! We have extreme temperatures & growing climates from one end of the country to the other and can just about grow anything.
I have so much respect for our NZ growers who consistently align their growing techniques with their climates & conditions. I have some outstanding local growers producing top quality flowers and foliage exclusively for my little shop, which is really special. I really admire their determination to brave the harsh conditions of Central Otago to grow gorgeous seasonal flowers, some of them are even growing organically and pushing all sorts of boundaries.
The less time & distance our NZ flowers & foliage have to travel the better. I think buying as locally as you can and supporting growers in your community or region is a huge. It’s good for your pocket (saves on big import/shipping costs), it’s great for the customers (you can tell them exactly where the flowers have been grown) and it’s better for the earth, less km’s traveled means a smaller carbon footprint.
3.What sparked your interest to become a florist?
I have always had a love for flowers and plants because my grandparents on both sides had incredible gardens. Some of my best childhood memories are from when I would wander around, exploring it all and taking in every little detail. Nana use to work at a daffodil & bulb farm and I always remember going and playing in the packing house where there was endless supply of brightly coloured flowers.
I stumbled into floristry professionally through a summer job I picked up while studying horticulture. I had been working in the wine industry and wanted to further gain skills & knowledge in growing grapes (Viticulture). The first step was to complete a year of Horticulture, studying & propagating fruit trees, grape vines, all kinds of plants & flowers. I have always had intrinsic love for flowers because of my green fingered grandparents so naturally I was drawn to the flower side of the Horticulture & decided to try my hand at floristry over the summer.
4.Where did you study/practice floristry?
I managed to secure a part time job at The Green Room Flower Company after a trial day making flower crowns and I was instantly hooked. Charlotte was an amazing mentor and incredibly talented florist, she showed me all the techniques I needed to know to create beautiful arrangements. I was very fortunate to have such a great teacher, I picked it up easily and after no time at all arranging flowers fast became very natural to me.Skip forward 10 months later I had ended up buying the business from Charlotte and I haven’t looked back since! It’s been an incredible journey so far and I’m very much looking forward to seeing all my ideas being implemented over the next few years.
5.How long have you been working ‘in the biz’?
Actually, only just over 2 years believe it or not!
6.What has been your biggest challenge as a florist so far?
Running a small business with zero idea how to do it. I was literally thrown this opportunity and grabbed it with both hands without thinking too deeply about how I was going to manage. It has all worked out incredibly well so far and I am humbled it has done so.
My sister has been an exceptional help along the way - knowing and starting small businesses herself, she has encouraged (or discouraged) me in the right direction. I am very fortunate to have such a wide support circle including Haylee, so it's safe to say I really wouldn’t be in the position I am today without her.
7.What has been your biggest highlight as a florist so far?
Opening up my very own flower shop! It was an unbelievable feeling to finally have a space of my own to create in. At the start it was a big blank canvas (or a big empty work shop!), so to look back on it now it's an amazing feeling seeing how far it’s come and in only 12 months too. I certainly couldn’t have done it all without the support of my beautiful family so I am very grateful to them and fortunate that it’s all worked out so perfectly.
8.How would you describe your design style?
I honestly think I am very flexible in this area thus far and haven’t completely put my finger on any exact style I could yet call my own. I believe that comes with time and experience but one thing that resonates highly with me is colour. I feel all of the creations I have made in one way or another have a stand out colour palette, whether I am working to a brief or not there is always a little hint of colourful magic happening somewhere. I have said lately to many brides if you want a stand out wedding bouquet – say YES to colour!
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