What is it about flowers that has us all gushing and smiling? It’s nature’s design at its very best showcasing different shapes, sizes, textures and intricacy in detail that can be truly mind boggling. Today I am excited to be sharing with you news of emerging Melbourne based florist, Anna Loughnan. Trained as an Occupational Therapist, Anna’s passion for floristry may soon become her mainstay as she is increasingly sought after to add vibrancy of colour to everything from weddings, to gallery openings, corporate events and this week madly making up buttonholes and head pieces for clients off to Melbourne Racing Carnival events.
It is evident floristry is truly a labour of love for Anna, from the joy she gets heading to market in the dark pre-dawn hours, to lying on her lounge room floor arranging flowers for an upcoming event, sharing her skills with with the elderly in the aged care floristry classes she conducts, and seeing the joy on people’s faces when she delivers the end result. Anna has honed her floristry skills surrounded by influential family members whilst growing up, in addition to undertaking classes that has added to her skill base.
1. You clearly love flowers and floral arranging. Who/What influenced you to appreciate and pursue your passion?
I think my Mother and my Grandmother… we spent a lot of time in the garden as children and being the oldest I would help by picking flowers for the spare room or table etc. My Grandmother had a beautiful garden and did botanic art, she can always tell you the name of a flower or species… or has been known to make it up if not sure! My mother has been my helper right from the start. She is always the first up and the last to put down the secateurs. I wouldn’t and couldn’t have done any of it with out her.
My whole family have been so excited and supportive of my progress and achievements. My father convinced me that I could survive not working in my trained profession full time!
2. Was there a pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to dive into floral design?
I think from the very first wedding I did, I was sitting up in my living room at the time on the floor arranging through most of the night with a smile on my face. I love the challenge, the creativity and the adrenaline. I feel that I become an intimate part of someones wedding or celebration and that is really special. I love seeing their faces when I make a delivery.
3. You are juggling two jobs! How do you balance the two?
I am juggling Occupational Therapy and Floral design. I actually really enjoy the balance at the moment, being a part of a team and working with patients and then working freelance so having flexibility and using the creative side of my brain for the rest of the week in floral design. Also combining both passions in the floral classes that I run in aged care, have been fabulous. I would really like to do more of this.
I love being outside and working in some of the most incredible spaces. I did an event in the Plaza Ballroom on Collins St the other day at it is incredible – I never even knew it existed.
4. What is the most challenging part of running your own floral business?
Definitely the finance side of things. That is definitely not my forte. Both my brother and my accountant have been very helpful with this. My accountant even made me do role plays to facilitate me charging appropriately!!
It can be hard to charge for something that you love doing, but I must say after a busy weekend you are exhausted and need to be paid!
5. What would be your dream commission?
An arrangement for the Queen. Headpieces for Melbourne or New York Fashion week…
I have always wanted to do a wedding at Werribee Park and at The Stones of Yarra Valley – I have both coming up which is exciting.
I would love to work with Fleurs or Prunella in Victoria, Saskia Hargreaves in Sydney, Clarisse Bernaud in France, Floret in USA, The Flower Appreciation Society in the UK or with Martin Reinicke in Denmark.
6. What is your favourite flower of the moment? Why?
Flower of the moment that is hard – I LOVE Peonies and they are just arriving. They are ‘a promise of good fortune’ from the language of flowers. I love how they open up, their fullness, delicate petals and the shades of pinks are just stunning. A friend once brought me a bucket from her farm and I will never forget it! I was in heaven.
I also love Waterlilies they mean ‘purity of heart’ and I just love their structure and perfection. I wore a stack of them in a headpiece for Derby Day last year.
As we all know, starting up a new business is hard. Anna is well on the way to making her dream of diving full-time into floristry come true, but every little bit of help she can get goes a long way. Anna has been shortlisted in the Bank Of Melbourne Start Up grant program, awarding smart, up and coming local businesses with $10,000 to grow their business. If you love what you see, you can throw your support behind her by voting for her on THIS BANK OF MELBOURNE LINK by November 20, 2015. You can also contact Anna to discuss any of your race-wear requirements, event details, wedding extravaganza or anything else you may have in mind via the links below!