Wow what a whirlwind these past 3 months have been! This journey as a florist has been full of the most incredible experiences and connections with the most inspiring creatives. I own my own business. It is still the weirdest thing to say. Let me take you back to the beginning of my career as a florist – to the ripe age of fourteen.
I would say one of the most common questions I receive is “how did you become a florist”. Well it all began at a shop called Newmarket Blooms. There was an ad in the paper for a full time experienced designer so of course (being a high school student) I applied for the position (lol). I showed up to the interview with a flower patterned skirt, a flower in my hair and I was hired. I would go in after school and on weekends to work on merchandising and designing small arrangements. Now, I never planned on pursuing a career in the floral industry this was just a ploy to get out of working at Swiss Chalet. I was dead set on becoming a tattoo artist.
I later received an apprenticeship at a tattoo shop in Toronto and left my suburban roots behind, as well as my job at the flower shop. After three years of working in the tattoo shop, I realized it was not for me. I knew I needed to be creative and make somewhat of a living so I decided to give flowers another go. If you know me, you know I am one determined girl, and nothing will stop me when I put my mind to something. I then began freelancing at every possible shop in the city, learning all different techniques, design styles and business approaches. There was truly a time where I had 5 jobs on the go (at the age of 19).
After a ton of perseverance, I finally landed a full time job at East of Eliza. If you are in the floral industry, you may know how hard it is to find full time work being such a seasonal job and most florists work solely with freelancers. I worked at East of Eliza for three years soaking up as much knowledge about colour and dutch design style from the very knowledgable owner (who has now been in the industry for about 30 years). I guess you could say this was truly the seed to my organic garden inspired design style.
Eventually it was time for me to try something new and I ended up at a lovely, brand new shop with the cutest furry friends, Sweetpea’s. I was so lucky to be a part of a shop from ground up and get to flex my florist wings and explore my design style.
Last, but not least I landed a job with Coriander Girl. My dreams finally came true. Alison was a pioneer when it comes to the whimsical garden style. She opened when I was still working at East of Eliza and I probably dropped of my resume four times and came by monthly to give her a hug (even though I am not a hugger lol). Finally it was my time and I quickly became her right hand. With Alison as my cheerleader and full creative freedom, I was able to soar as a designer. I truly wouldn’t be where I am today without her love, support and trust. I can also tell you that she made me the best version of myself. Her humorous, bubbly personality is infectious and all she wants to give is love.
The next big step for my career was to take a workshop from the highly esteemed New York florist, Saipua. This is where my style finally took the shape that it is today. My inspiration shifted from field flower to dutch painting and I finally felt like I found myself as a designer.
Although things came about very quickly, and I certainly was not expecting it, I launched Hunt and Gather on October 10th, 2016 . Being a florist for 10 years, I had all of these plans on how I was going to launch, my branding and website but, sometimes things fall into your lap when you are least expecting it. I think the biggest thing I have learnt while opening this business is that things do not always go to plan, but whatever happens is meant to be.
My baby is now about a month old and I still can’t believe I am here, my own boss at the age of 25, 11 years after my journey as a florist began. I am still learning, I always will. It is absolutely bizarre having a “new” job at your own company. There are so many things I have learnt about myself as a person and business in general.
I truly wouldn’t be where I am today without each and every designer I have met, shop owner I have worked for, family, friends and my General Manager Olive (seen below).
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me on this journey as Hunt & Gather begins.
All photos taken by the most talented TJ Tindale