Alexandra Doherty - Haus of Botanica

When taking a group of students to the Sydney Flower markets, I bumped into a recent graduate Alexandra Doherty  out sourcing materials for her first Corporate Client. We got chatting about the project and her floristry plans. Alexandra has recently launched her new brand Haus of Botanica to focus on the current trend of Dried Florals and Plants.

Here is Alexandra's story ..... so far!

What initially attracted you to studying floristry?

I’ve worked as a fashion designer for 15 years, but I knew I wanted to slow down the pace and have a career that worked with my family. I have a young daughter and wanted to create more of a balance. I wanted to channel my creativity within floristry, many design principles are the same as fashion but the end result is more instant which appealed to me.

What was it about Pearsons School that made you want to study with us?

Studying on Saturday’s meant I could keep working in my job during the week until I was ready to make the change of career. I also loved the creativity and passion I saw when I came to visit the school. Doing a Saturday class also meant I was likely to be with other people looking to change careers, and I was so happy to meet such an inspiring group of students in my classes.

What did you love about studying the ‘SFL30115 Certificate III in Floristry’ with Pearsons School?

I love how supported I felt and still do, there. Also you are part of a big community of alumni who have a great Facebook group where you can ask questions, share info, it’s been invaluable.

You have just done a very exciting commission for a big name brand, this was your first 'big' client, can you tell us a little about this?

I was commissioned to create various installations for the launch of the fashion brand, David Lawrence’s new ‘Weekend’ collection. They wanted floral installations in nine Myer and David Jones stores across Sydney where the collection was being launched.

Can you share with us anything you learnt from this experience that being in the class at PSF helped with?

Where to start, so much!! The most useful being the costing, quoting and invoicing. I wouldn’t have known where to start if I hadn’t had this info from the school. It’s such an important part to get right so was nice to feel confident in this area. 

What did you enjoy most about doing this recent work?

I loved the problem solving, and there was a lot to think about. Everything from the logistics of fitting it in the car and getting it back from the market to storing it in my house and delivering to the client. It’s the best way to learn! It was great receiving a mood board and brief and interpreting it in my own way. I poured so much love and care into the project and enjoyed working on it so much that I didn’t even consider it work! I realised then that I’d found my area of floristry I enjoyed most. I enjoy the variety and scope corporate events offer, each project is different with unique outcomes.

What surprised you and was there anything that maybe next time you would do differently?

It would have been nice to have more time to plan and design but also that taught me what I am able to achieve within a tight deadline. It’s definitely given me more confidence, I was surprised I achieved what I did on my own. I’m still learning where to source certain items such as vases, I would have liked to use more interesting ones but sourcing such a large quantity was difficult.

What range of flowers/colours  did you use and were there any challenges sourcing them?

The brief was neutral tones, with soft pink to keep feminine. They wanted all dried material including cotton to go with the feel of the collection And that would last a few weeks on display. This was challenging to source a good variety of dried material in such a short time.

What advice would you give to someone about to do their first commission/job for a client?

Believe in yourself, ask for advice from teachers/florists as there’s such a supportive community out there. Go to the markets and see what’s available and confirm prices before you quote. Make sure you can physically carry and transport from the market!! Nothing worse than not fitting in your car! It’s also great to have an extra pair of hands if you can! 

What does the floral future hold for you?

Working with dried flowers has been really rewarding and creative in a different way to fresh. I’ve started an online shop specialising in dried flowers and other handmade local products. I really like that you can create something that will last a long time and it becomes a really meaningful gift for yourself or someone else.
I’m also really passionate about building a creative community and workspace for designers, a place where you can create and shop- an overall experience. 
My husband is an architect and we’re always dreaming up ideas! 

Instagram: haus_of_botanica