The “Day in the Life” series gives us a glimpse into the working lives of the people we don’t often see or think about, but who play an important role in keeping our community running.
Surrounded by a sea of beautiful blooms and shrouded in heady floral fragrance, Meredy Bates-Lacey is hard at work stripping stems, designing bouquets and creating artful arrangements.
The 1st April marks five years since Meredy became the owner of Glasshouse Flowers by Design and forged a flourishing floristry business well known for its earthy, textural and organic style.
Meredy trained as a florist following a career in Interior Design in Canberra. She honed her eye for design while studying a Bachelor of Interior Design, a Diploma in Interior Decoration and Certificates in Floristry. “It was a very natural step for me,” Meredy said.
Working from a new studio space in Lake Cathie, Meredy takes great delight in unpacking the flowers each morning, and being able to see, smell and touch the new blooms, berries, bark and seed pods.
The days are long and can be monotonous and stressful. Meredy said florists are by necessity creative, enterprising and resourceful. “When those exact flowers for the most important event of the year aren’t available because they’ve been smashed by heavy rains, you need to think of a solution fast.”
Managing such a seasonal business has its challenges. “I’ve learnt that if you want to make lots of money, you don’t become a florist. The days that we have several weddings or big celebrations like Mother’s Day, it’s not uncommon for me to work all through the night to make sure everything gets done properly,” Meredy said.
Meredy and her team spend most days taking phone, email and internet orders, unpacking flowers, making arrangements, cleaning up, and consulting with clients. As the business owner, Meredy also looks after quality control, coordinating with suppliers and freight companies, rostering staff, and accounting.
“It’s important that I stay on top of the trends and customers’ preferences – that’s why we’ve moved out of the old shopfront and built up our website based business. At the moment I’m heavily involved in the expansion of our Local Hampers range.
“Being a florist is a surprisingly tough job. But, working with petals and posies all day, the creative outlet, the lifestyle and seeing the delight on customers’ faces makes it all worthwhile,” Meredy said.
Meredy recalls the smiles on the street one Valentine’s Day as she helped a customer pack a huge bouquet into the top of his backpack, so he could drive off on his motorbike to surprise his sweetheart.
Flowers may well be the antidote for our stressed modern lives. They enable us to convey messages in a truly meaningful way that social media can’t; they bring the beauty of nature inside our air-conditioned spaces; and, when we’re rushing from one appointment to the next, they remind us to slow down and smell the roses.
8:00am – Drop my daughter to daycare and get ready to start work.
8:30am – Complete any early deliveries and pick up any sundries that are needed for the day.
9:00am – Start the day in the studio, unpack flower deliveries and answer the many phone calls.
11:00am – Some days I’ll collect flowers from the airport and do a mid-morning delivery run. Back to clean up all the mess.
1:30pm – Lunch (if I’m lucky).
2:30pm – Time for admin – bridal quotes, invoicing and ordering.
3:30pm – Make afternoon orders, a last run into town for deliveries and a meeting with a bride or corporate client.
5:00pm – Close the studio. When we had the shopfront, it would have been 7 or 8pm. Now that we’ve streamlined our business, I can finish on time and get back to my family.
Interview by Michelle Newman from www.newmancommunications.com.au