We speak to Islamabad based florist Aimen Tahir about her journey in this field and more.
- Tell us a little about yourself and your journey as a florist.
I completed my bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from LUMS in in 2016. Soon after, I became a mummy and got caught up in responsibilities. However, being a workaholic, I’ve always passionate about starting something of my own, so I decided to take the leap and do exactly that. As a self-taught florist, it’s been an exciting journey, and I’m still learning, experimenting and evolving as my startup grows. Over the passage of time my own unique style has emerged and helped me enjoy life as a florist!
2. How and when did you get started in the floral industry?
I’ve grown up looking at my talented mom work with artificial and fresh flowers. So from childhood, I’ve come to love this art form. Last year, right before my CFA 2 exams, I decided to make a floral arrangement for her on her birthday. That’s when it clicked. My creative juices started flowing and working with flowers became more intriguing. After that, my studies took the back seat and I started practicing and learning. Inspired by the works of International florists like Paula Pryke, Paulina Neiliwocki, I wanted to bring something new to the Florist Industry in Pakistan. I took the leap of faith and started ‘The Florist Pk’ with the aim of bringing something unique and innovative to the table.
3. Explain a day in the life of a florist?
On a working day, I like to start early, check inventory and place an order for fresh flowers if required. I then go pay a visit to my studio and say hello to my flowers, check up on their water solutions and prepping them up for orders (as well as having breakfast while doing all this). Then I prepare customized items for each order, preparing the rest of the arrangements and coordinating their deliveries. After I get done with my orders for the day, I respond to all social media queries, tending to customers and receiving feedback. I make sure to keep posting content and stories. The working day comes to an end with some preps for early orders the for the coming day.
4. What’s your favourite part about the job?
I get to be around gorgeous flowers every day!
5. What is the biggest challenge that one faces in the floral industry?
I would say the biggest challenge I’ve faced is the availability of flowers and lack of variety as well as proper floristry tools. May it be variety in foliage like steel grass or specialty flowers like hydrangeas, everything has to be imported. This has proven to be problematic especially in the current lockdown situation. Apart from flowers, things like specialty oasis cages, wires, midellino sticks, bouquet sheets, are all imported, which significantly increases costs.
6. Where do you look for inspiration?
A lot of my time is spent following the work of international florists on Instagram. Lately I’ve been taking inspiration from Paulina Neiliwocki and Catherine Muller, love their style and I try to incorporate that in my arrangements too. A constant inspiration has been my mom who has always encouraged me to experiment with new ideas and incorporate them into my work.
7. Top three flowers you would choose for an event and why?
- Lillies; because of their luxe look and gorgeous smell.
- Chrysanthemums; because of the wide range of color variety they offer
- Baby breaths; because they give every arrangement a fairytale like look!
8. Tell us about the most challenging occasion/ event you’ve ever had to design for?
It was a home wedding I did recently. Due to COVID lockdown situation for the safety of clients as well as our workers we weren’t taking the whole team for setups. Therefore, the entire setup had to be done by me and one other worker. It is probably one of the toughest things I’ve done because I had to handle everything from scratch; on loading, offloading, doing the floral arrangement, setting up things and giving final touches. I was panicking because I didn’t know if I would be able to finish on time, as the event was an early one. Despite these obstacles I did finish on time and maintained my standard, but when I got home I just crashed from exhaustion.
9. How far in advance should one consider ordering from you?
For flower bouquets and boxes we need about a day to process orders. If people want to include add ons like baked items, chocolates, gifts then at least 2-3 days prior to delivery.
10. What advice can you give to someone who would like to start a career in this field?
The most important skill is having the willingness and patience to learn. Instead of replicating what others are offering, it is important to create your own unique style which will set you apart. When it comes to floristry, one should be ready to work long hours and find good suppliers/vendors before they start. The flowers are the business, so unless you can source top quality flowers it will be very difficult to thrive as a florist.
11. Three tips on how one can keep a flower bouquet fresh and last for a few days?
To make your flowers last longer cut them at an angle (about 45 degrees). For roses cut the stem inside the water to avoid air bubbles. Use lukewarm water in vase (the magic trick: add a little 7up to the water and your flowers will bloom beautifully!) Keep out of fan-air or direct sunlight.