Alex is the creative director, owner and chief floral designer and owner of Patchouli, a floral events business that is run out of a studio space that's tucked away on Queen East in downtown Toronto. They create floral arrangements that reflect and accentuate the wild beauty of Mother Nature.
Photo by Tamara Lockwood
When did you know you wanted to become a florist and start your own business?
A: I always knew that I wanted to love my job, whatever that may be. After working for big companies in corporate jobs for several years, it became clear to me that I wasn't quite in the right place. I had worked for a florist several years earlier and remembered how hours would pass while I happily worked into the night. It was intoxicating. It was the kind of job that I really was able to lose myself in. I took the leap over three years ago and have no regrets!
What's a typical day like on the job?
Alex: Each day really is so different. If we're doing flowers for a wedding, we make a great playlist, grab some coffees and spend long days at the studio making a big mess! On those days, there's rarely a surface in the studio that's not covered in flowers! Other days are bridal consultations, ordering and planning for weddings, deliveries going out the door, etc. Despite my being a Virgo and loving order and routine, I often quite like the variety of my job.
What are the best parts of your job?
A: The best part of my job is when a bride and groom email me the day after the wedding to tell me that our flowers added beauty and magic to their day. At that point, all the hard work is totally worth it.
What are the biggest challenges?
A: There are many moving parts involved in running a small business from websites to customer service to inventory control, the list goes on. It is sometimes challenging staying on top of everything while also nurturing your creativity; something that requires time to be alone, go out in nature, and get inspired.
Photo by Tamara Lockwood
Tell us something about your profession that may surprise people.
A: With hauling buckets of water, long hours on your feet, boxes of flowers being packed in cars and up narrow stairwells, being a florist is a very physical job. If you're a florist, you need to be a bit tough!
Any advice for budding florists and/or entrepreneurs?
A: Technical skill of course are very useful and necessary. Any good florist needs to know the practical side. It's also important to know the market you are in, and know where to position yourself. Social media presence of course is also very helpful, but what you need more than anything is an eye for design, and the ability and desire to work really, really hard!
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