Flowers aren’t just pretty things to look at that smell nice – but most people know that. Still, there’s quite a few stereotypes about the industry, at least as Blush co-owner Kelly Karam tells it.
“It’s really hard work,” she says. “It’s really taxing physically. There’s a lot of heavy lifting, a lot of dirty, stinky water. It’s deceiving to a lot of people that don’t know a lot about the industry.”
Knowing about the industry, however, is certainly something Karam has – after all, she ran the business out of her home for eight years before opening a retail shop six months ago in Auckland’s Parnell neighbourhood. “I never dreamt of opening a retail space,” she says.
All that changed, however, one day when she was grabbing a coffee at local hotspot Rosie and noticed a retail space was available next door. “It just spoke to us,” she says of opening the shop with her husband, Richard (who also runs a company called Skippy that provides innovative mobile dumpsters). “We’re feeling like part of the community. It’s been so well received.”
Putting its flowers in innovative handbag-like paper baskets that use far less paper than traditional wrapping has been one point-of-difference, Karam explains. “A lot of flowers are wrapped in a lot of paper. It’s not as environmentally friendly.”
Aside from retail flowers and gifts, Blush also does bespoke floral arrangements for weddings and other events. “The one thing I have to say about florists is we are problem solvers,” explains Karam. “There’s never a dull moment.”
That certainly seems to be true, as Blush will be doing floral arrangements set into ice at Moët & Chandon’s prestigious “The Now” party in Auckland on Thursday. For the event alone, about 500 foxgloves had to be delivered from Marlborough, along with peonies and more. “Flexibility is key,” Karam explains. “It’s all about good relationships [with suppliers and customers].”
Karam will also be honoured at the event, along with four others who represent some of New Zealand’s top fashion leaders and entrepreneurs who are seizing the moment and making the most of life. Those other honourees are fashion stylist and blogger Jaime Ridge, CleanPaleo director Art Green, owner of Love & Object Constance Cummings and designer Georgia Alice Currie, of label Georgia Alice.
“We are thrilled to be able to recognise the five Moët ‘The Now’ honourees who had a fantastic 2016 across different industries here in New Zealand and have some exciting plans for summer,” says Moët & Chandon senior brand manager Ali Campbell.
Exciting plans are also something Karam says she has – with an emphasis on plans. “I think the biggest advice I can have is to plan, plan and keep planning,” she says of tips she has for aspiring entrepreneurs, be they women or men. “You really need to know what it is you’re providing.”
Having a plan has helped Karam’s company grow to now also having a part-time general manager, four full-time staff, a casual crew for events, and a event coordinator. “Surround yourself with people who can complement your skills,” Karam also advises. “And knowing how to manage your time is key.”
Good advice from the owner of a company whose business seems to be blooming… er, booming.