Expert Advice – Sue Cameron of Floral Stylist Co

The world that we are living in today is almost entirely different to that of two years ago and during that time, weddings and celebrations have adapted and evolved to suit, although not without it’s challenges. So we thought it was about time that we sat down with some of our leading wedding brands to get their perspectives as well as a few pieces of advice for couples currently planning their weddings.

Today we speak with Sue Cameron of Floral Stylist Co, known for pushing floral and creative boundaries with their often bright, captivating and downright gorgeous florals and styling. We hear some great advice on booking florals at this time as well as advice on focusing on the present and being kind to yourself.

Tell us a little about your brand for those who may not yet know you…

From the time we launched Floral Stylist Co. 10 years ago, we have been continuously morphing with fashion and elevated looks in mind. We started with curating weddings but now have expanded to events, styling, artful floral sculptures and set design. We have become known for our eclectic, bold vibe and unexpected, fashion forward looks. We are deeply passionate about florals and design and take great joy in pushing creative boundaries wherever we can. It is so exciting that florals have become the major decor feature of weddings and events now with so many more creative options available to explore.

What is your number one piece of advice for couples in this climate when booking florals?

Flexibility, kindness, patience, and understanding is required more than ever before. As much as it is very stressful for our lovely clients, so it is for the vendors and suppliers who are trying very hard to provide the best service possible in sometimes impossible situations. It needs to be a two-way street while we all navigate this new territory. We are here to help in any way we can . 

How are you handling COVID affected couples within your own business? 

We are taking things on a case-by-case basis with some practical terms and conditions in place. We have had some poor couples enduring lock down within 3 days before their wedding… we have done our very best for them by selling on or cancelling what we can of their florals (if the supplier allows). Not all suppliers will let you cancel flowers within certain time frames, so clients need to be aware of that.

Thoughts on the future and how your business and sector may change or evolve?

As with every other sector people are learning to adapt and change their normal working routine. Covid has impacted floral shipments and local floral supply immensely so I find myself working with preserved or dried flowers more than I thought I would. My preference is fresh flowers and to support local growers with a view to becoming a 100% sustainable. I have also noticed that a lot of people have started working from home rather than trying to operate a business site with all the costs involved. In any case, people will always love flowers and there will always be a demand for them whatever happens, and I will be here for it!

Please read the below from Christy of Nourish Gardens on Waiheke Island about the impact COVID is having on flower growers,

Our local cut flower growing industry is sinking fast! From small family farms to larger operations, all have been forced to destroy a heartbreaking amount of their beautiful blooms. Level 4 has left the cut flower farming community at a breaking point – financially, physically and emotionally – even though there are many ways to distribute their flowers safely.

If you believe flower farmers deserve fairer consideration and protection, and that flowers are as meaningful as some of the other goods still being traded under level 4, please write to your local MP and the following: PM Jacinda Ardern: , Damien O’Connor (Minister of Agriculture): Damien.O’, Chris Hipkins (Minister for Covid-19 Response):, Stuart Nash (Minister for Economic and Regional Development):, and Opposition Minister David Bennett:

Let them know that firstly, cut flower growers need dispensation to be allowed to provide contactless delivery to existing essential businesses e.g. supermarkets, dairies, greengrocers & petrol stations, and ideally to provide safe contactless delivery to customers, with contactless pick-up options where appropriate. We need your help to share this, to make sure we still have flowers and flower growers once we’re through this challenging time! ⁠

Flower growers are facing some unique challenges in Level 4. Did you know…

Flowers are the one perishable product that have been dismissed as non-essential, even though many would argue that flowers are just as beneficial for mental health as for example wine. But while wine can be sold in supermarkets or home-delivered, flower farmers have their hands tied by current rules. They are forced to throw thousands of their freshly harvested flowers straight onto the compost.

What do you do personally to cope with the stress of COVID and Lockdown? Any rituals or actions that help get you through? 

My top tip for coping is not to be too hard on yourself. Try and enjoy the present and keep your focus on achieving future goals in a realistic way. I have a morning ritual of getting up before anyone else and just giving myself half an hour to process my thoughts while I have a coffee, it really helps me. Getting some sunshine everyday with your feet on the grass is like a reset for your body. Some kind of exercise for even 10 minutes is really good for your mental health , yoga is my weapon of choice. There is always something in the background we are prepping for the business so I always am up to something other than flower making. I have an addiction to green food ,everytime I feel like I need a boost I go straight for the spinach and celery. But most of all just be kind to yourself and to others!!