Floral Magic, a floral design house, is a family-owned business currently managed by its second-generation owners. Known for its dramatic venue transformations from weddings to art exhibitions, Floral Magic honed its expertise in floral and botanical styling over a period of 19 years, focusing on a fresh and organic aesthetic.
Family-owned business combines the tensions of family life with the strains of business life and transitioning from one generation to another is no small feat.
We caught up with one of the core team members, Joanna, in their studio located at King George Avenue to learn more about how they modernised and managed their family-owned business. Joanna has been working under the careful guidance of her mother and aunts at Floral Magic since her teenage days and now fronts the business alongside her cousins.
Floral Magic is a Second Generation business, something rarely seen in today’s time. Can you tell us more about the reasons that spurred you to make the decision of carrying on the family business?
There was a period of time when my mum and aunts (the First Generation) had the thought of winding up the business. After spending much of my childhood helping out at the store after school hours, we (the Second Generation) know the amount of hard work and determination that goes into building the business and to see that all go to waste is a shame. That’s when we made the decision of joining the family business!
How would you describe the working dynamics and styles between team members of the different generations?
Our mums are extremely skilled in the care and handling techniques of the flowers. I still recall vividly the times when we were ingrained with the fundamental techniques of floral care from our mums whenever my cousins and I were helping out at the older store after school. As for my cousins and I, we are much more focused on introducing and coming up with new colours, concepts, and designs.
Floral Magic has grown from a neighbourhood florist into a full-fledged floral design house over the last couple of years, what do you think attributed to this success so far?
We (Anna, Jo, and Linnette) have been under our others’ guidance from young, putting in hours after school, and have been professionally trained in London and New York. Our cumulative experience in fashion public relations, marketing, events, and graphic design, evolved the sensibilities and breadth of Floral Magic’s work. As for Social Media, it serves as a platform for us to showcase our works and from there we found a growing audience of like-minded people.
Just a few months ago, you guys had the opportunity to work with the artist Yanyun Chen on her exhibition “Flower Flights” held at the Art Porters Gallery. How did that collaborative project come to fruition?
For the past 5 years we have been supplying flowers to Yanyun, and every few weeks she came back in search of new flowers and arrangements for her to draw on for her series “Chasing Flowers” and that led to a close relationship between us to grow over the years. When the news of her solo exhibition “Flower Flights” came up, she invited us to create something together and we agreed to take up her invitation! Being advocates of good design and creative freedom, the idea of an exhibition with Yanyun fits our value of being a designer and artist instead of a traditional florist.
There is an increasing trend of independent florists offering similar services within the local industry at the moment. What do you do that sets the competition apart?
We often take inspiration during our trips around the world. We often take cues from nature and observing the flowers’ growth process as well as how natural layers form in its natural habitat. We then translate this experience from our trips into our designs, giving the bouquets an organic aesthetic with colour, form and textural balance.
Over the course of your career, constantly coming back to the same thing day-in and day-out, how do you maintain interest and excitement in what you do?
From time to time, customers do show up with images from their trips overseas and make a special request for procurement. In fact, there was this customer from Australia who left an impression on me after walking into our studio and made a bouquet purchase for her mother after feeling nostalgic when she came across one of the bouquet designs on our web-shop, as the bouquet reminded her of the garden in her childhood home back in Australia. It is little occasions like this that adds a sense of purpose into our job all the time!
With all the ladies in the family constantly surrounded by flowers, it must be tough on your significant others to show up with a bouquet of flowers for Valentine’s Day!
Well if they are attentive enough, they would know of the florist’s work who we all appreciate. If not, they can even be creative and come up with a potted plant which we do love as well!
Your studio here at King George Avenue is so beautiful! Have you been here since the beginning?
We moved into this studio at King George 3 years ago. Previously, we were located within ‘dodgy’ looking malls that mostly housed LAN gaming shops and lacked natural light. The small space of the storefront also imposed restrictions and limitations on our full capabilities. Also for our poor delivery courier, who has been supporting us since our inception had such a tough time transporting the orders in between the flight of stairs especially since his age began to catch up to him. With our new space here, it has been so much easier for him as he can pick up our deliveries directly from the back of our studio!
In other words, when Floral Magic upgraded its own facilities, your delivery courier received an upgrade as well!
Yes, you can put it that way! It has been so much easier for everyone involved in the business and not to mention our flowers get to receive lots of sunlight through our windows now!
“we began to wonder how we could extend this gesture of love not only towards our loved ones but also to people truly in need.”
For a few years now, Floral Magic have been donating 100% of its online sales profit to charity. Can you share more about this dedication?
It has always been a tradition for flowers to be gifted to your partner on Valentine’s Day as part of a symbolic gesture, and it is this gesture that allows Valentine’s Day to be the most profitable period for most floral businesses around the world. With that in mind, we began to wonder how we could extend this gesture of love not only towards our loved ones but also to people truly in need. We decided to pay it forward by donating our online profits to Assisi Hospice back in 2017 and we noticed people stepping forward and donating toward the same cause. This year, we are carrying the tradition by pledging 100% of our online sales to the Infant Jesus Homes & Children’s Centres (IJHCC).
Lastly, what advice would you give to the generations of aspiring florists to come?
It is more than what it seems. Being a florist is more than being surrounded by flowers and making things pretty. There is plenty of nitty-gritty work behind the scenes of running the business, including a lot of heavy labour and preparation that is rarely seen on social media.
We have partnered with Floral Magic to present an array of Valentine’s day gift sets for your loved ones. Stay tuned as we announce more details over here.