If you can give us a little intro as to who you are to set the picture...
I’m Kai - the founder and CEO of LADYGARDEN, a floral design studio based in East London. It’s been a whirlwind, but LADYGARDEN has been growing slowly since late 2019 (but officially 2020!). I’m an Australian / Latvian and based in London, a pisces who adores the ocean and cooking.
We know you are hugely knowledgeable about floristry and your craft, how did this come to be?
Completely by chance! I moved to London at 18, and did a variety of things from nannying, working as a bartender on party boats (!) and working in hospitality. I decided to study Floral Design on a whim after deferring a course in Graphic Design back in Melbourne where i’m from. One thing lead to another, from interning to working all over the world, LADYGARDEN eventually formed!
Can you share more behind the mission of why you do what you do?
Truth be told, we’re in a complete period of transition and growth. I like to be transparent with my audience and clients, and think it’s important to embrace these changes. From personal, to professional change it’s been a really intense few years. LADY GARDEN has evolved so much, and we’re going into a new chapter which is central to creating and crafting florals with intent. A more sculptural and modern design aesthetic, our mission is to elevate spaces for unique brands and people through the art of floral design: be it weddings, brand activations or installations.
What has been the biggest business 1) success and 2) challenge you’ve had to overcome that you are most proud of?
1) Getting my first studio in the same month that covid hit, keeping the business running that whole year despite all my weddings being canceled. I completely adapted the business model to an online webshop and then a physical shop to sustain myself and slowly grew a team!
2) Balancing personal and business / professional life: I’ve had several small burnouts as well as a bigger one earlier this year, which i’m still recovering from (slowly!). ADHD makes it tricky to recognise my limits with work, especially when I love what i’m doing in my workplace, and am naturally super ambitious and driven. Balance is hard! On top of this, I went through a huge emotional rollercoaster which was the end of a long term relationship (and marriage!) last year - keeping the business going and being passionate whilst going through waves of depression and hurt was really hard but i’m super proud of how i’m getting through all of this and learning the art of balancing work and professional life, as the two are super intertwined. LADYGARDEN is a reflection of me, and i’m so proud of where it’s at now!
What does the creative and development process look like at My Lady Garden?
It changes from job to job - usually starts with a consultation with a client, then crafting a colour palette swatch with mood board, researching inspiration and sourcing flowers. This process may include sketching, drawing and using photoshop to formulate ideas - then when confirmed, it’s ordering, cleaning flowers in the studio, crafting our designs, traveling to our location, installing and reinstalling when the event is complete!
Can you share with us about your relationship with nature/being outside and what the natural world means to you?
The natural world to me mainly is central to the ocean: I feel calm by bodies of water and love to “stretch my eyes” by looking at the horizon. Sinking my feet into the sand and feeling relaxed. Being outside is about breathing, embracing the colours of the natural world and using them as inspiration in my personal and professional life.
What is your favourite scent and why?
Aside from my perfume, Santal 33 by Le Labo - I love the scent of tomato vines. In particular, the LOEWE tomato vine candle is incredible. Ugh, delicious.
What plastic-free initiatives have you gotten behind?
Whilst re launching our webshop we are taking a step back from plastic by creating our deliveries directly into vases. It’s a small step in floral design, which can be quite a wasteful community, but it means that we are cutting out plastic from at least one of our floral practices.
Favourite shop/ place in your neighbourhood? And why?
Jolene for a pastry, Hectors for a wine, Dead Good Coffee for an iced oat latte and Andu Cafe for a £6 ethiopian takeaway. I love my neighbourhood!