A love of beautiful things, an introduction from a friend, and a suggestion from her husband, were behind Marie Li's decision to buy her floristry business. The new owner of Iain Stephens Floral Design tells us why flowers are so important to our emotional wellbeing.
So how did you come to own a flower shop?
I've always loved having fresh flowers at home, so when a florist friend of mine made me aware that this shop was for sale, I took the opportunity and with the support of my husband, I purchased the shop. Now, instead of buying fresh flowers weekly, I'm surrounded by flowers daily!
You've been here about 10 months. Have you made any changes to the shop?
A few small changes - the shop intereior has been redecorated to reflect a more fresh and modern style that goes nicely with our great service, and of course, beautiful fresh flowers.
Are you hands-on in the business?
I'm here every day enjoying the buzz of the shop and supporting my amazing team of florists.
What inspires your creativity?
It comes from within, drawn from my experiences of travelling worldwide and my passion for design and fashion.
What's your favourite part of owning a florist shop?
That I can bring some sunshine into peoples' lives. I want people to enjoy the different emotions that flowers give - love and happiness are so important.
Do you have many regular clients?
We do, both corporate and private customers. We love our regular cusotmers popping in for a chat. Actually, that's one of my favourite things, people just calling in to have a chat.
Is there a downside to floristry?
The hours! I have to be up at 4am in order ot make the flower market auctions that start at 5.30am.
You came to New Zealand from China - is floristry different there?
Yes! China has more flower types than here, hundreds more! But I prefer the New Zealand style of floristry.
What do your future plans for the shop involve?
I would like to expand our wedding and corporate events.
What do you like about working here in Remuera?
Everybody is really friendly and polite, and there's a real sense of elegance to Remuera.
You're surrounded by lovely blooms all day, but what is your personal favourite?
It would have to be the exotic orchid for their beauty and lasting qualities.
Do you see this becoming a family business?
My son, Aaron, is only four, so it's a little early to say! But my dream is to be able to design the flowers for my son's wedding one day.
Photos by Vanita Andrews and words by Fiona Wilson. This story was first published in the September 2017 issue of The Hobson magazine.