[Floral Designer & Stylist]
Floral Designer and Stylist - Rachel Bethany
Find Rachel here
Finishing Year 12 I knew I wanted to be in a creative Industry, but I really didn’t know exactly where I wanted to be in that broad, broad industry… so I travelled. On my return I started working as a Travel Agent whilst I studied Event Management. I have always loved weddings and parties and really any excuse to celebrate, but Event Management still didn’t fit what I was searching for. Back then ‘Wedding Styling’ or ‘Event Design’ weren’t really recognised within the Industry, but that unknown area is what I wanted to explore. As a side, to help me get into event design/styling, I thought Floristry would be a good skill to have. Once I started studying it though, I fell in love, and I haven’t looked back.
From studying Floristry in Brisbane, working with some beautiful people up there, working in and managing stores in the ACT, and even setting up a brand-new store before branching out on my own, it’s been quite a journey. I have learnt so much from everyone I’ve worked with, and my own style has continued to evolve.
I’ve always found Canberra to be such a beautiful, supportive place. Growing up here and working in several industries before turning to Floristry I was very lucky to have some wonderful connections and I think that gave me a sense of security when I was starting out. In my experience, Canberra LOVES a new kid on the block, so it was an easy choice to start up here because I just knew I would be given a chance at the very least. I’ve been lucky to meet even more beautiful, supportive people as I’ve grown and have seen the business go from strength to strength which is just amazing.
A day in my life when I am creating looks like a mess! A beautiful mess, but still a mess.
Most people think florists are just lucky to ‘play with flowers’ all day, but I think they’d be surprised to know just how much admin goes into everything! From quotes, to design, recipes to bring those designs to life, ordering through various growers and then the strict time management to bring it all together in a short period of time, there are a lot of processes to follow.
My creative process is usually a love, hate, hate, a then love again kind of thing… As many creatives would probably agree it can be an exciting, infuriating, difficult and infinitely rewarding process.
I do know that when I have a design forming or in mind, that’s the first ‘love' bit, the excitement and the prospect of creating something amazing is a great feeling. Then the ‘hate' creeps in when I start doubting it and wondering if this is the worst idea I’ve ever had, and I’m spending hours seeking out the exact right shade of roses, and the right products to hold everything together. Then the ‘hate' increases when I am putting together an installation in 35 degree heat at midday or -4 degrees at 5am when I am certain it’s the worst idea I’ve ever had. Then if I am lucky, I step back on that same day and fall back in love! Sometimes that’s the next day when I get an email from a bride or I see a picture on social media of what I’ve created but that love is great enough to wipe away the doubts from the day before.
It’s exhausting and oh so rewarding.
At the moment I create anywhere that I won’t get in trouble for leaving greenery and florals all over the floor. I do have a teeny tiny studio that I can often be found in, but it’s really just a workspace, sadly not something that is open to the public.
Some people would probably consider working with flowers to be a form of ‘play’. Whilst I am very grateful that I do get to work with flowers, I also find that down time and stepping away from designs often makes them better, so it is very important for my creativity to balance floral work and down time. To maintain a balance, I am very careful with my bookings. I am lucky that I have the support and flexibility to take on one to two weddings/events a month only. This ensures that, whilst I work myself to the ground on those wedding weekends, I also have weekends off on either side to make sure I am mentally and physically rested.
For the most part, I find inspiration in the flowers themselves. Like our finger prints, no flower is ever the same and sometimes if feels as though they’re telling you what they want to do.
In such a beautiful industry it’s hard not to draw inspiration from the other millions of talented florists out there as well. There is always someone doing something new or making something old feel new again, and certain florists spark so much enthusiasm in me when I see their work.
To overcome creative block, I try to take a break from whatever I am working on and reconnect with nature. I often find if I am struggling with creativity it’s because I’m over worked, or I’ve totally over thought something. I really need to take time out and often going for a walk and appreciating the natural beauty around me helps me to refresh. I have been given a hard time by friends in the past because I get so excited by everyday plants in gardens, but sometimes I see them through fresh eyes and think “Wow! How did I not see how beautiful the colour of the leaves on that tree were before?” And suddenly I have a whole new idea about what I should be doing with my design.
The open spaces, fresh air and blue blue sky in Canberra always inspire me. Don’t we have the bluest sky? I love that in many of our suburbs we can walk for five minutes and feel like we’re in the middle of nowhere. There is so much access to bushland, nature reserves and beautiful walks in this town, I feel very lucky.
As I mentioned earlier, I love that Canberra is also so supportive of new ventures. I love meeting the other people behind small businesses and being inspired and supporting each other.
I don’t know that my two other great loves technically count as hobbies or interests, but I love love love food, so when I get free time I love trying out new cafes or if I am feeling brave, new recipes. My second great love is entertaining or any type of party/function/event. I love planning! Give me a baby shower, hens party, birthday celebration or anything else to help organise and I am all over.
My partner and I recently purchased the most beautiful teepee with the aim to start providing beautiful picnic set-ups for couples or small events but it’s a slow burn because I’ve been run off my feet with weddings!
The long-term plan is to have my own studio that I can welcome brides and grooms into for consultations, dream up and work on designs, teach workshops in and potentially even double as an event space.
I’d also love to make use of that gorgeous teepee! I’m definitely a romantic, so I’d love to see a beautifully decked out tepee being used for proposal set-ups, picnic dates, celebrations of friendships and more in beautiful locations around Canberra.
For the most part I do plan on staying in Canberra, although I’m a very happy traveller and am very lucky that weddings can take me throughout the ACT and NSW. In fact, I’ve even been to Victoria and Queensland to work on weddings. I love Canberra and I think there is plenty more growing to do here, but I also want to continue travelling and learning from industry experts across the globe. Who knows what the future will hold!