NAME Natasha Van De Minkelis
LOCATION London, England
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND Four floristry diplomas
COMPANY The Flower Fashion
Tell me a bit about your company & how you got started. The Flower Fashion is a small but mighty project, at least that’s how I see it, and I truly believe the sky is the limit! I previously owned a floral styling shop back home in 2007, then managed a store in Moscow called Creative House, but it was not me. My creative soul wanted something else, something more personal, more cozy, more “wrapped up in petals” style. I moved to London and it just came naturally. The Flower Fashion – couture floral styling. Name with fashion, action with passion! Every client really gets personal attention, a touch of The Flower Fashion’s family.
We currently have six professionals on our team together with a PR and marketing manager and analyst. If it’s a wedding, we always make a little surprise for our couple. For example, it could be a handmade box with a key inside, wrapped in a love poem written by hand…a key to the heart. It all started with a very tiny flower shop where I came to help out in West London. I was given full creative power and I got stuck there! I was changing window displays every Sunday and by the time I was done people were stoping by to take photos. I truly found that inspiring. By the time I decided to leave, The Flower Fashion was already set in my mind, I just simply informed existing shop clients and was surprised to hear that many desired to follow me. The Flower Fashion started with London Linen as its first customer and things have really been moving forward since then!
Tell me about your design process. Where do you draw inspiration for your arrangements? Most of the time I just have an idea in my head. Here, a bit of a struggle can come since the client usually wants to see an example or a picture and I don’t have one. But we manage to find the right way to perfect, polish and finish the image together. I am inspired by many different types of media, like Instagram, but I would never try to repeat ideas. But I think even if I did, it would still come out as something original because I believe that a true florist puts their soul in their work, and we all have different souls…
How did you get the word out about your company when you first launched? How have you handled marketing since? I do focus on marketing and I take it seriously, particularly social media as it’s a powerful, modern platform for new businesses and clients. Facebook is one big word-of-mouth. I do a lot of research, investigate new social platforms, attend marketing seminars, post to my Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts and of course, Facebook. I try to follow all news and updates in this field, too. But as a mother of a five month old, I do need help from time to time. We do have a PR manager, who helps to keeps everything on track.
You offer floral couture styling classes for young children. What is it like to share your passion with such a young group? It’s one of my favorite parts in floristry! Children are the most dedicated listeners. It’s priceless to see the excitement on their faces when something beautiful appears. They try to repeat every movement I make and they are so true in their work. As you can tell, I really love working with children. It’s a great honor when they accept me in their world. I always prepare master classes for small ones very carefully, as I know they will be waiting and expecting a miracle, and we work together knowing that! A child’s world is special, just like the world of flowers – both are very true and fragile.
What has been the highlight of The Flower Fashion to date? “A flower has no religion and no race; it is a true child of mother earth.” This is our philosophy, our main line and motto. The main goal is to stay focused on the customer and understand their needs. I am not running after huge massive weddings or global orders. I believe less is more and our goal is to keep it that way!
Let’s travel back in time a few years. What advice would you give yourself on the topic of entrepreneurship? I probably wouldn’t change anything! I went through tough times, mistakes and lots of “we will call you back”. It’s called experience and that is priceless. Without these challenges and learning experiences, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
What is one pearl of wisdom you would share with someone considering starting their own business? “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius
Guilty pleasure? Belgian chocolate
Favorite movie? Pretty Woman
Cake or pie? Cake! Chocolate cake!!!
Song that just never gets old? Have You Ever Loved a Woman by Bryan Adams
Favorite corner of the world? Maldives