Interview with Alice Shepherd owner of ‘She’s a Wild Flower’
If you haven’t heard of She’s a Wildflower, then it is time to get out from under your rock! This amazing flower artist is pushing the boundaries of the norm and is allowing brides to experience the most breathtaking flower arrangements seen to date! Here is what she has to say;
How long have you had your own business?
I’ve had She’s a Wildflower for almost 2 years now (May will be the 2nd birthday, yippee!)
How did you first get involved in floristry?
I received a beautiful posy of flowers from a friend on my 25th birthday, I already loved flowers but it got me thinking about possibly studying floristry. Mainly so I could recreate what I had received. I already had a business degree and had been working in the events industry, so wondered whether I could merge all three fields.
I researched a few courses and found one in Geelong (I already had a connection to the Geelong region) so I decided to pack my bags and move from Melbourne, all the way down to Barwon Heads which is about 25 minutes from Geelong on the coast.
What do you find most challenging about your type of work?
Victorian weather! I prefer to buy locally grown flowers and foliage that are grown here in Victoria, but with the unpredictable weather we have down here, what is in abundance one week can be completely scarce the next, it makes it so hard to plan and order flowers for weddings and events.
What kind of qualities do you believe a flower designer should have?
Obviously a creative mind, the ability to explore different floral designs, be able to break the rules (only when you know the rules can you break them!), patience – especially when working with brides, confidence, kind and gentle (to both clients and the flowers haha!)
Tell us about some of the amazing people and/or business you have had an opportunity to work with:
I’ve been lucky enough to work on projects with the likes of Pana Chocolate for a fund raising event, Poppies for Grace with a photo shoot, Inside Out Magazine with some online content regarding flower arranging, Party with Lenzo on a photo shoot… I’ve been so lucky to work with so many different businesses, I thought I would be in a little bubble down here on the coast but it’s great that my business is known up in “the big smoke” as well! – that’s all that I can think of off the top of my head but there have been plenty more.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I would have to say becoming a teacher! As well as running my business specialising in weddings and events, I teach floristry classes/a career change course with Bloom College – to be trusted to teach people all there is to know about flowers is an amazing feeling! When students are hanging off my every word it can be daunting but it’s a thrill when you see that they are taking it all in and producing beautiful arrangements!
How would you describe your favourite floral arrangement style?
Organic, nothing too contrived! I love using different textures in arrangements to create interest and using anything unusual where people say “what’s that? I’ve never seen that before!” and lots of different types of foliage, it’s just as important as the flowers!
What is your favourite flower to work with and why?
That really depends on the season! But generally it’s anything big and bold eg. peonies in spring, dahlias in summer, the changing colours of foliage in autumn and double ranunculus in winter.
What styles are really trending right now for brides?
I would say my favourite style, being organic. I see brides are wanting loose arrangements with more foliage, draping flowers and foliage etc.
Should brides be aware of flower seasons when designing their bouquets, what are a few key florals available throughout the four seasons?
Should brides be aware of flower seasons when designing their bouquets, what are a few key florals available throughout the four seasons?They don’t necessarily need to know, unless they are wanting a specific flower in their bouquet, for example if they want peonies they need to plan for a November wedding. Otherwise the florist can let them know what flowers are in season for their wedding, I believe it’s our job to educate them.
What details do you require from the bride to design the perfect arrangement? Eg: dress, wedding theme and so on..
Wedding theme is helpful, I usually base it around what colours they like and are drawn to – that’s where I start in my consultation with brides, I ask what colours they like and then I suggest flowers that are available in those particular colours.
How do you keep coming up with new designs/arrangements? Is there something in particular you do to get inspired?
Social media is a good way to be inspired, most of the florists I follow are based in the U.S.A – I’m envious when I see the beautiful flowers that have to play with over there, I don’t think we have as greater selection.
What has been your most challenging moment whilst creating your own business?
Being a one man band! I don’t have any staff and there have been many times when I have wished I had a team of florists as I am doing it all – the emails, marketing/social media, accounting, consulting, ordering, delivering, setting everything up etc. etc…. it’s tiring but the control freak in me wouldn’t have it any other way.
If someone was interested in getting into floristry, what would be a few key things that you would suggest?
Definitely look into a floristry course, whether it’s a workshop to begin with or a full time course. It shows employers that you’ve had some experience, and you’re committed to the industry. And practice, practice, practice!
Any quotes, tips, advice you would like to add before you sign off?
It’s a bright, fun industry where you can be playful and show your creative side and personality… and get paid for it, so have fun!
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