Wallflower is an enchanted florist nestled into a nook in the seaside suburb of Sandgate and most recently – a new space in Deagon. I love entering their boho vibed store; it has a unique ambience, and it fills my heart with joy to see such beauty and creativity. We caught up with Renae from Wallflower to ask a bunch (pun most definitely intended) of questions about what makes Wallflower different, where her inspiration comes from and what the roots (again – I know,) are to floristry.
Most people know that a florist put flowers together in an arrangement that is aesthetically pleasing. The motto on your website says that “Wallflower do flowers differently”. Could you expand on that and let us know how your flowers are done differently than some other florists or for example your regular fast delivery 1800 number florists.
I have always felt that flowers were misrepresented in a way. Their natural beauty was taken away with plastics, balloons and teddy bears. Wallflower like to style our bouquets in an artful way using natural textures, dried florals and sometimes foraged pieces which you can’t find at the flower markets. We try to source all our flowers from local farms to get the freshest blooms and support this small industry! We also believe packaging is important and make sure every gift sent out looks like its been sent from the Queen!
What impact do you think plants and flowers have on people?
Nature has this incredible power to heal us, restore us and make us feel more connected to the earth and each other. Take notice of what happens when you stand in the sunshine, lay on the grass or watch the waves crashing. Plants and flowers teach us that life is beautiful, life is evolving and life doesn’t last forever so we must learn to treasure it.
Do you feel that floristry is a kind of art?
Yes definitely! Floristry is like painting but we use flowers instead of paint brushes. We work with colour, texture, line, movement, space and form. In floristry you have to problem solve, experiment and fulfil briefs just like any other creative industry. Our everyday bunches are mini works of art, but when you get us for a wedding or big event installation we REALLY get creative and play!
How does someone become a florist and what qualities do they need to possess?
There are Tafe courses or private flower school tuition which usually take 6-12mths. These days you don’t need a certificate but I would recommend it as it helps you so much when you get into a job! Most employers are looking for florists who are fast, who take initiative and are hard working. Being a florist ( as lovely as it is) isn’t such a glamorous job! There’s very early mornings, lifting heavy buckets and lots of cleaning. It’s a very physical trade and is hard on the body.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for each piece?
I think people are the biggest inspiration! When designing for a wedding, I love to meet with the couple and spend time getting to know their story and what they love. So that when I’m sourcing flowers for the event it just feels like I’m shopping for a friend! I also spend a bit of time at art galleries and exhibitions to get inspired!
When doing a big event for someone like a wedding, how do you get it right – or is that a trade secret that you cannot share?
I make sure I know my couple very well, know what they like, what they dislike and always get some visuals of flowers they love. A lot of planning and behind the scenes work goes into our big events. We make sure we have our time line, florals and materials organised 2 weeks before the event.
What event are you most proud of being a part of?
Ohhhh that’s a hard one, there’s been too many faves over the years. Weddings, photo shoots, functions and video clips. Actually a stand out would be designing the puzzles for One But Many puzzles native collection. That was a very different project for us and we learnt so much through the experience.
Where do your flowers come from?
We have a sister farm (Wallflower Farm) in Wamuran and my sister and brother inlaw grow flowers for us and flower markets all over Brisbane. We also source from the sunshine coast, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane markets.
Could you tell us about your new space and what made you expand to opening a second store?
In about July last year I started getting itchy feet as we were out growing our store in Sandgate. We were constantly working on top of each other and we didn’t have enough fridge space to keep up with demand so I started looking for new bigger spaces. I remembered The Antique Shop in Deagon and fell in love with the potential of the space. We signed a lease and started our major renovations in February 2021. We removed the asbestos ceiling, knocked down walls then added new ones, painted inside + outside, took out doors, added skylights and aircon and put in a walk in cold room out the back. The renos took 3 months, then we sprinkled the wallflower magic and opened late April. I want this space to feel inspiring. I want people to feel like they have just walked into an underground world where they can explore and discover treasures from some local artists. I want people to feel the gentle buzz that nature gives us.
One of the reasons we started this magazine is that we felt like we could provide a platform where women could draw inspiration or passion from to implement into their own life and feel empowered. Sometimes I think as women we may feel guilty for embarking on our own venture or perhaps lack the confidence. You have set up two beautiful spaces now with such uniqueness and quality in an industry where there are many other competitors. What advice would you have for someone wanting to start their own business?
Oh I really struggle with doubt, I think most artists do! I never worked in a flower shop before I opened one which was a huge risk! I definitely learnt a lot in the first 3 years but I think if you have a vision and passion and you take it one step at a time you can do it! If you let yourself get caught up in the excitement and keep your numbers in check everything will be ok! It always helps having supportive friends and family too!