Did you know the sustainability of flowers in your home matters just as much as any other area? I posted about this a while back on Valentine’s day in a post about how the sustainability of flowers is far reaching and affects the fair trade industry. Today we chat with Bec Williams, who likes to call herself a florist and a creative among many things! Living in Hobart, Tasmania, she prefers to use local in-season flowers and foliage for corporate, weddings and events.
“One of my pet peeves when working within the florist industry for many years, was the unwillingness to separate rubbish – which meant bags and bags of plastic/green waste/rubber bands/cardboard/etc was ending up in landfill. Another aspect that I never understood was the importing of expensive to buy, yet inferior flowers and foliage, to appease customers. It made no sense at all to me” explains Bec.
Bec told me that just like other areas of design, what was “in fashion” fed the marketplace, rather than starting with what is available and letting the best produce shine. You really can’t go wrong when you choose to use such amazing raw materials right on your doorstep.
How did you get started?
I started in floristry by happy accident in 2007 when a friend of a friend needed someone to sweep the floors and operate the cash register. I learned on the job with many different talented local florists who generously shared their know how.
Tell us a little bit about you
I am a married mother of 4 kids. I was a single mother for a long time, until I met my now-husband and he didn’t have any kids at all. I agreed to have more on the condition that if we split up he had to take them all (half joking!) I am not very good at being an employee and I would rather work for myself with all the freedoms and stresses that come with it.
Why are you so passionate about sustainability in the flower industry?
I believe that using local in-season flowers is the only sustainable way forward in food, clothing, furniture and even flowers. Nature knows best and we continually fight it by wanting to bend and shape it for our pleasure. If we could just embrace the CWA mantra of wise use resources for the good of community (or something like that) we would all be far better off.
What made you fall in love with the idea of flowers as a job?
I fell in love with my ideas when I started to understand the concept of ‘be the change’ – I had to stop complaining about everything I disliked and start Doing Something. Far better to light a candle than complain about the dark!
What do you dislike the most about your work?
The thing I most hate is that I have to battle against people’s perceptions of what is and isn’t okay. Most are happy to say they care about the environment, but blindly consume products every single day, and they have no idea what had to occur to bring that product to market for their convenience. Supermarket flowers are mostly grown in chemical laden conditions.
The world’s desire for cheap, means that quality is being sacrificed for easy. I don’t get all of it right and we have a long way to go but we are determined to be more conscious consumers. It’s hard work but will be worth it.
What do you think can make a difference to a more sustainable world?
The Dalai Lama said that the Western Woman would save the world and I have to agree. Many women make most of the consumer decisions, and as we collectively become more informed we are becoming a true force to be listened to. The Information Age is allowing anyone to become truly informed. It’s an excellent time to want to know the truth!
What are your top tips for a more sustainable home?
It’s the only way forward and we do everything on the cheap at our end. I am a massive fan of using what you have to create a space you love. My mantra is “making do beautifully”!
Tips for people wanting to be more sustainable are to get informed! This is a constant of mine and although it felt like taking a drink from a fire hydrant to begin with, I can see that small changes implemented over time are having a big impact long term.
Have a look around you and work with what you have. When I had shop space I loved to pull everything away from the window, clean it all and then put the exact same things back in a different way to attract customers.
What do you love most about your work with flowers?
I love that on your events anniversary, the flowers I used for you will be in-season again. For example I created a giant floral piece for a friend who had a lovely fire lit garden party. It featured wattle, willow and succulents, and every single year I am reminded that her birthday is coming up by the seasonal flowers!
What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge was figuring out it’s okay to say NO to some things if they don’t sit right with you.
What is your biggest joy?
Flowers tend to bring joy! My daughter and I can’t help but make flower crowns in all seasons and fresh flower mandalas are one of our meditations we leave in our backyard and public spaces: I like to think someone sees them and smiles!
What do you do in your down time?
I read or sew. Walk on the beach or the bush. Picnic with family. I love to take our thermos and enjoy a cup of tea in the fresh air.
Would you like to share a favourite upcycle?
Absolute favourite upcycle is our wall to wall bookshelf fashioned from empty wine boxes. My husband made my year by bringing home a ute load and it seriously makes me happy everytime I look at it! Free. Easy. Gorgeous. Achievable.
And a favourite project?
The absolute favourite wedding I worked on was recently when a friend asked if I could use succulents only. I was unsure but was actually surprised at how striking the table centres, buttonholes, cake topper and bouquets turned out. The forward thinking bride wanted to be able to plant everything into her garden afterwards which meant there was absolutely no waste! She took sustainability to a new level for me and has kick started many new projects of which I will be eternally grateful.
Anything you want to add?
Thank you Helen for all the value you bring to the world! You serve your community constantly by sharing yourself so openly and it truly is a gift. You inspire me with your colour combinations and I am very happy I stumbled upon your Instagram account and have the pleasure of getting to know how you think via your blog and the current 30 days to a Healthy Happy Home. Thanks for taking the time to listen. I appreciate your efforts to make the world a better place, you really do shine!
I just adore Bec’s approach to flowers and life.