For my Florist Friday blog post series this week, I’m delighted to feature an interview with Yvette Timmins of Bloom College in Australia, who is also a new advertiser on Flowerona! (You can see her logo on the right hand side of the home page.) Yvette has totally embraced technology to help people learn how to arrange flowers. And by reading on, you’ll find out how…
Could you tell us about your background in the world of floristry?
My first direct experience of floristry work was when I was fifteen. I chose to do my school work experience in the local florist because it was close to home and I didn’t have to catch a bus to get to it! I fell in love with floristry right then and there. From then on, I worked on weekends and during holidays until I finished high school. Then I completed an apprenticeship with the same employers, Euan and Pat MacKenzie. They were great mentors. Euan and Pat encouraged me to enter junior competitions and I was awarded the Victorian and Australian Junior Florist of the Year titles for two successive years. When I completed my apprenticeship, I travelled and worked and also visited Amsterdam in 1997 to watch one of Australia’s great florists, Julie Wileman, compete in the World Cup. Julie had also been a wonderful mentor and trainer for me. When I returned to Australia, I established my own floristry business in the inner-Melbourne area. The business included a retail shop and also a focus on corporate, wedding and event work. We were one of the first Melbourne floristry businesses to have a commitment to online selling and e-commerce. I’ve always loved the challenge of opening up new ways of doing both floristry and business. I’ve worked as a trainer in Australia’s formal Vocational Education and Training sector and as a consultant and manager for various floristry businesses. Bloom College brings together lots of the joys and challenges of floristry, business and innovation. I’ve no doubt that my grandmother, great aunt and aunt…all florists and businesswomen…would be as excited about my current ventures as I am.
When did you set up the Bloom College Floristry School?
I set up the Bloom College Floristry School late in 2012 with the aim of being operational for 2013. I wanted to provide people with the opportunity to learn the skills of flower arranging in relaxed circumstances, which would allow them to also feel the positive effects that flowers have on our well-being. I’m convinced that our mental health is improved by being surrounded by flowers, handling them or working with them.
Could you tell us about the courses which you run?
The floristry courses offered in the formal training system that we have in Australia focus on training people to work as retail florists. My experience in that system reinforced to me that many people, especially women, have a different focus when they embark on their journey of learning the art of flower arranging. They want to learn how to care for, maintain and arrange flowers into durable and beautiful arrangements. But they want to be able to do it in relaxed circumstances, where people ‘get it’ about intuitively knowing that working with flowers is a health-promoting thing to do. We run workshops and short courses for children and adults, offering everything from one-off terrarium, pomander balls and remembrance wreath workshops to 2–5 week courses in basic and intermediate floristry skills and arrangements, wedding flowers, Christmas decorations, and even floral hats and headpieces.
What prompted you to create the Bloom College App & DVD?
I developed our App and DVD because I wanted people who can’t come to our workshops to be able to experience what we offer, so they too can more fully enjoy the experience of being able to work with flowers. Obviously most people in the world can’t physically get to our workshops in Victoria in Australia. Others may not be comfortable joining group workshops and or may be in a physical or mental space where the opportunity to learn at home, alone or with chosen companions, is an affirming option.
Which devices can people use the App on?
Could you tell us about the App?
The App provides demonstrations and step-by-step recipes for making some fundamental arrangements including:
- Garden herb and rose posies
- Gift bag arrangements
- Table centrepieces
- Tropical arrangements (for a hall stand)
We also cover such floristry basics as care and maintenance of flower and plant materials, vases, containers, foam, tools, accessories, wiring and taping.
Could you tell us about your DVD?
The DVD covers much the same information, skills and demonstrations as the App. We wanted to make sure that we gave people access to the instructions and demonstrations regardless of their preferred or available way of viewing things. Both the DVD and App offer the opportunity to develop foundation skills and knowledge so that people can then confidently further pursue their love of flower arranging.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2013?
We have our programmed workshops and courses happening. But we’re also working with individuals, industry and community groups providing them with workshops and training specific to their needs and interests. Having furthered our studies with business, marketing and design we have more to share. Continued growth through learning in all aspects is very important to me. We’re also having fun starting off our Hen’s Party workshops. We’ve partnered with some great hospitality venues to offer fun workshops that create something tangible to go with the great memories. As 2013 comes to an end, we’re of course busy planning forward to 2014. We have some new courses and workshops that combine the best of our 2013 program with some new inclusions that have been developed through working on new ways to incorporate great design, innovation and sustainability into everything we do. We’re eagerly planning for our presence and demonstrations at the 2014 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show and hope to meet lots of our blog, Facebook, App and DVD fans in person during the event.
Do you have a favourite flower?
I have to say that it’s only when I have to choose one that I choose the Phalaenopsis Orchid. I’ve really never met a flower I don’t like, but there’s something really special about these orchids…the form, delicate colouring and durability. They’re stunning. Or perhaps it’s also the energetic qualities they carry…‘continuing forward, gathering strength, reaching your goals, aiming for the stars, and not giving up’, as Doreen Virtue and Robert Reeves write in their 2012 publication Flower Therapy.
Thank you so much to Yvette for all her help in compiling today’s blog post. Do pop over to the Bloom College website to find out more about her floristry school.
Social Media Links
To keep up-to-date with Yvette’s news, here’s where you can find her on social media:
P.S. Doesn’t Yvette just have the most perfect name for her floristry school?
(Images : Bloom College)