This interview with Brisbane florist Anja is part two in a series of two – click for part one: “The Philosopher Florist“
Anja: “We have many men come for their coffee or for a meeting, they love it, which is unusual because usually men feel intimidated in a floristry shop but not here. I think it’s the tranquility, the calm and I think also the organisation. It’s because the shop is designed according to very strict Feng Shui principals…”
“Yes absolutely! The whole shop – if you stand upstairs on the mezzanine, you can see the Feng Shui. The height of the flowers, each part of the shop is a story of its own, but the whole shop continues that story.”
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There’s Still Money In Corporate Flowers
“Everyone says that the corporate world is so limited financially, but we have several weeklies, we have a corporate that spends three to four hundred dollars a week on their reception flowers. They are really not shy of spending BUT you have to come up with a product that is in keeping with a beautifully designed interior. You’ve got have that knowledge of their interior. People are more design conscious these days, and florists need to keep up with that.
“You can’t have a drink fridge with your flowers stuffed in it willy-nilly. I have a display fridge with a full size window. So we have a really beautiful display, people stand there marveling, the non-perishables to the front and the perishables at the back, and then your eye is drawn from the flower window display to the cake fridge where we have all these beautiful organic pastries.
“And the food is done with the same principals as merchandising; you can’t just whack the food in the fridge either. Music and flowers also, these must go together. The music is the intangible and flowers are the first tangible of your spirituality.
“It’s got to be in keeping with that same philosophy. It’s an amazing discipline. That’s what I see floristry as: a discipline and I regret to think that maybe some florists don’t value their own profession enough.”
“We are florists first and foremost. Everything we sell you can put flowers on it, it’s got flowers in it, or it’s made of natural products. All our cards are recycled paper, vegetable inks. All our candles are natural candles, soy-based, without petro-chemicals. All our cleaning agents are natural. I try not to buy imported flowers if I can prevent it, as much as possible is local produce. Our business is all about using sustainable practices.
“I did this because I suffered acute herbicide and pesticide poisoning. That’s where I started to question: Can we reduce the use of chemicals? I think that growers, florists and customers are all starting to realize that some illnesses are due to this degradation of the environment.”
Anja’s Philosphy of Flowers
“It’s about awareness of the Mother of All.
“Flowers are the gift of the Earth because the Earth is all we have and all we need. And if we use more resources than the Earth produces then where are we heading? This connection makes floristry an essential item.
“We then no longer compete with the gift industry and their unsustainable, imported products. If you have a product like this that is a spiritual, soulful gift, well it then stands on its own because it is an essential item that people need – not a trinket.
“If you stop and smell the roses – literally – that means knowing consciously that we are all part of the earth. And that lifts your spirit and makes you happy.
“So that makes flowers an essential, not just a gift item, and not a luxury item.”
Anja runs Flowers of the World in Brisbane’s busy Southbank precinct.
Written by Seamus – Tesselaar’s website manager and marketing nerd
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