Sir Botanical: Georgia’s Floristry Business
We recently sat down with Santa Maria Old Girl Georgia Carlsen (Brennan, Class of 2009), to talk all things flowers, weddings, and business!
Georgia is a co-founder of Sir Botanical, who are Fremantle-based floral artists, offering wedding and event flowers, wall art and lifestyle products.
Here is what she had to say:
What was the inspiration behind starting your business, Sir Botanical?
We wanted to create weddings with a modern look, that was something that wasn’t happening a lot when we started. We loved the idea of blurring the boundary between wedding and editorial and creating concepts that incorporated other materials or paint techniques so that our installations were one of a kind.
Could you walk us through a day in the life of Georgia?
For the last twelve months, life has looked a little different as I am now a mum to a very energetic little boy. Now it’s a balance of working part-time in the business and then focusing on Max with my other time. Day-to-day running as an event florist is a lot of time on emails as the planning behind event flowers can be logistically challenging. We collect our flowers from the flower market on a Wednesday, they require processing which normally takes a full day. We then do a lot of the ‘making’ on Fridays as this is when the flowers have started to open nicely. This is also normally a full day in the studio and then Saturdays are often the big day.
We normally start at around 8.00 am and are on site by mid-morning. We will spend a full day on-site setting up, making hanging installations, placing candles, and triple-checking everything is in place. Sundays are then pack-down days so all of our vases and buckets go back to the studio and get cleaned. We like to keep Monday and Tuesday for our time off and some admin. In between all of that we meet with clients, do quotes, staff rostering, travel, site visits… the list goes on.
What are some of the biggest challenges/obstacles that you’ve faced owning a business?
To start with, the biggest challenge was making money. We jumped into this business without the backup of a second job as we thought that would give us the extra push to make sure it succeeded, and it turns out it worked! Once we were off the ground and had a few weddings under our belt the biggest challenges have come from dealing with flowers increasing in price and knowing how to charge for our time (something we did not do properly for a long time). Don’t get me started on tax time, it’s taken me a good five years to get my head around how the accounting/back end of the business works!
Something that a lot of people don’t know is that the majority of the flowers we use in Perth are flown in from either over east or international (mostly Japan, Holland, and Ecuador) so between flight cancellations and quarantine it can be quite challenging to even get the flowers you order.
What motivates and encourages you to keep on doing what you’re doing?
That feeling we get when we are walking out of a wedding just before the couple is walking in knowing how excited they are going to be to see the space is pretty incredible. Even the excitement we feel once we’ve made a floral installation that was once just an idea in your head. Those feelings are what motivate me to keep booking in clients. It’s quite addictive, to be honest.
What is your favourite flower?
I’m a sucker for a scented rose, they are few and far between these days! Also a big bunch of locally grown hydrangea.
What is one of the most exciting events you’ve ever worked on?
We have worked on some amazing big events like Gourmet Escape with Lexus and Perth Fashion Festival and big corporate events at Crown. Honestly, some of the most exciting are the weddings that the couple has spent time saving their money for or they have dreamed about for years. Bringing that to life for someone is just as exciting as the big-name events.
Were there any subjects, teachers, co-curriculars, or programs at Santa Maria that led you down your chosen career path?
I was far from creative at school. In fact, I wasn’t the best student, it didn’t come naturally to me. I loved PE and Outdoor Ed. Funnily enough, Maths was probably my worst subject, and yet I run all the financials in our business. For me, it’s taken time and learning in a more hands-on approach. That’s something that I would like to express to students who are struggling with their grades or with getting their head around certain subjects, don’t stress, it will eventually click, it might just be once you’ve left school and are in the workforce.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs at Santa Maria, who have hopes and dreams of one day starting their own business?
Go for it, but when I say that I mean actually go for it. Commit fully. If you want your business to work you have to work for it. Introduce yourself to people you normally wouldn’t, and go to networking events that may make you feel uncomfortable. They are the places where you will meet people who will help you in the future.
What do you believe are the three most important skills to have in business?
Being resilient. Things will go wrong but that’s okay.
Be savvy with your money. We always stash away a little extra money for a rainy day (or a global pandemic – this is what got us through covid cancellations).
Work ethic. You must work to succeed, it doesn’t just happen.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’ll be 40. I would like to think I will continue to have flexible working hours to ensure I’m living my best family life. Probably still living in the Fremantle area and spending our summers in Rottnest. The goal for the business is for me to do less hands-on floristry work so I’ll be running the business behind the scenes. Who knows, maybe there will be another business to look after. I’m always open to new ideas!
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Georgia!
On behalf of the College, wish you all the best in your future endeavours.