It's turned into a very good thing that Jo Mann found herself in a floristry job over a Christmas break some 25 year ago.
Originally a time-filler between leaving school and starting university, that holiday job has since seen her train, work and study with some incredibly talented master florists, both here in New Zealand and in Europe.
How long has The Wild Bunch been around?
We turned sweet 16 last Christmas!
Would you say having to get up early to visit the flower market is the hardest part of being a florist?
Although that is a common perception, I'd say here in NZ it is the availability vs demand for fresh product and variety.
Where does your creativity and inspiration come from?
I'm lucky enough to come from an artistic background. My father has always painted, and mum was a florist (who at 80 years old still tends an acre of garden!). I love the excitement of working on something from design stage through to installation, and I get inspiration from everywhere: from the products that come through the store, from flowers and nature, from fashion and design.
What are some more memorable, or unique, projects you have done?
There have been a few! I created a fresh flower monkey for the 2016 "Year of the Monkey" celebrations, I've decorated cars and created hanging gardens, designed a horse with fresh leaves and a floral harness, and just last week decorated a wedding with 20 metres of fresh flower garlands.
Have you seen many changes in floristry over the years?
Absolutely. Floristry is like the fashion industry where trends come and go with the seasons. Currently the loose, just picked look, full of glorious foliage and florals, is huge. Garden flowers are always very popular: roses, floxgloves, delphiniums, hydrangeas... even gypsophila is back.
Does The Wild Bunch have an online presence?
We've just relaunched our website, and we're currently creating an online option to offer our clients simply presented, market-fresh flowers, delivered direct to home or office at fantastic prices. We'll also be posting weekly specials, updates, and keeping our clients in the know with current trends and products. We have an awful lot of fun with social media too - Facebook and Instagram are fabulous for connecting with the public.
Is it just you in the store?
I am lucky to have a fabulous team at The Wild Bunch, full of unrivalled enthusiasm and professionalism. We really enjoy sharing our love of flowers and design ideas with each other and our customers.
What do you like about working in Remuera?
The friendly village vibe - you can't walk down the street without greeting or chatting to someone. When my son was born a few years ago, a few of my lovely customers used to come and walk him in his stroller while I worked, and others brought in home-baked goodies for morning tea. There is definitely a true 'family' feel to Remuera.
What keeps your regulars coming back?
Our attention to detail, pride in design and freshness of our product all contribute to returning customers. And although we are based in Remuera, we service a varied collection of clients Auckland-wide, supplying stylish florals for office and boardrooms, installing reception flowers in elegant venues or simply wrapping single stems or pretty posies.
What do you enjoy most about your typical day?
Each day can be so different! You can one minute be purchasing fresh product on the auction floor, then the next be up a ladder suspending a floral chandelier.
Finally, what's your favourite flower?
Hmm, I could answer this seasonally, or by colour, but I really can't thin it down to just one flower! Perhaps the perfume of a bloom might just be my favourite thing.
The Wild Bunch, 419 Remuera Road
Ph: 09 529 9547 www.thewildbunch.co.nz
Photography by Vanita Andrews and words by Fiona Wilson