Tell us a bit about your business. Do you do a mix of corporate and weddings?
As a small Darwin business it is so important to have a diverse client base and Beija Flor does everything from weekly flowers for businesses and private homes, events and parties and of course weddings. The retail side of our business is growing a lot at the moment, our customers order floral gifts via the website or pop in and choose a selection for their own home. I love the idea of anyone being creative with their flowers, so we try not to 'arrange' them as such. Our flower gift wraps are designed to be enjoyed in one vase or several and I love it when we see how people have displayed their flowers. Myself, I love to have flowers in every room of the house, even if it's just a single flower, so I prefer to fill lots of little vases.
What led you to become a florist?
I'm the oldest of four kids and our house was always pretty chaotic, as a teenager I used to babysit for a neighbour who worked in TV. Their house was always immaculate and as the kids were mostly already sleeping, I would just relax in the lounge watching movies. There was always a vase of flowers on the coffee table, often just a single type of flower in the kind of very heavy hand blown glass vases. I loved the fragrance and the sense of calm in the house, it made it very inviting.
If you weren't a florist what would you be?
I like the idea of being a stay at home mum.
Where do you draw your influence from?
I love to travel and this has been a huge influence on me in the past. The changing seasons, in different time zones are a constant source of inspiration for our colour palettes which we change every week in the shop. I treated my sister to a trip to Kakadu on boxing day and this weeks colour palette is inspired by the Yellow Waters cruise. Lush and green and fresh with pink accents of lotus flowers and zesty yellow accents.
We are seeing lots of big floral installations and florists are changing the way they work, floral foam aka oasis is out as it is a not environmentally friendly, we are going back to traditional techniques or finding creative solutions to keep flowers fresher. #nofloralfoam for more on this movement.
Of course, there are some varieties that come up just for a few weeks of the year and these are also depending on the weather conditions. It takes a good few seasons as a florist to know all these different varieties and when they are likely to appear. Being from the Northern Hemisphere, it took me a while to switch, but I think I've got it sorted pretty good now. Nature also throws us a few surprises every now and then.
I like anything when it is absolutely at its best in the peak of its season, blooms are bigger and juicier. I mostly like flowers that you can watch opening or anything with a fragrance, like stocks and lilac. My favourite Australian flower is boronia.
Keep it simple - consider choosing just one type of flower en masse, invest in table centre pieces and create a focal point for your ceremony, as these are things your guests will remember. Our brides tell us their guests are still talking about the flowers months after the wedding. If you have to cut something take out the chair ends, petal scatter and limit buttonholes to groom and groomsmen.
What flowers stand up to the Darwin heat? Or because your flowers are fresh does it even matter?
Our flowers are fresh and our vehicles are refrigerated so we try not to restrict flower selection. I have taken peonies down to Katherine and we would even open our roses for two days before a wedding on the beach. Having said that if you do want to be still enjoying your flowers in the days following I would choose locally grown blooms or natives.
How far in advance should brides and grooms book you?
6 - 9 months is plenty of time for what we do.
Beija Flor is located at shop 1/2 Tang St in Coconut Grove. They are open 9am to 2pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 9am to 5.30pm on Thursday and Friday; and 9am to 2pm on Saturday. You can pop into their store or order online.