Well-loved for their beautiful, rustic bouquets, 20-year-old Windflower Florist has completely captured the hearts of the public and earned themselves over 22k followers on Instagram.
Those unaware may be a little surprised that their signature rustic style is the brainchild of a 26-year-old guy. Four years ago, Stanley Tan took over his parents’ business and it marked the start of the brand’s soaring popularity.
Back in 1997, Windflower Florist started as a family business with Stanley’s parents helming the shop at Loyang Point. However, business began declining and on a bad day, they only earned S$6. As his parents were contemplating switching to selling gifts, Stanley decided to step in.
Taking over the reins, he refreshed the brand’s style, ditching traditional bouquets for more rustic touches such as kraft paper.
Now, the team of three has grown to a team of 13. Stanley oversees operations at their head office at Primax while his parents and aunt run the shop at Loyang Point.
While Stanley didn’t mind venturing into a typically female-dominated industry, he’s had some unique experiences.
“At the start [customers] always mistook me as a female,” he shared, explaining that he received greetings of “Hey babe” or “Hey dear” from customers contacting him through WhatsApp. Some guys got a little flirty, he added, with a bemused chuckle.
Upon taking over the business, he made daily trips to the nursery to better understand flowers and sought inspiration from the Instagram posts of pioneer florists like Floral Magic.
Noting that most trends originate from Japan and Korea, he dropped by various florists in Korea to pick up some tips. He also holds a diploma in American floral design from the June Flora Art School.
Besides fresh flower bouquets, Windflower Florist also provides bloom boxes, dried bouquets and DIY kits. They were the first in Singapore to stock their dried bouquets in vending machines.
Excited to learn from one of the most popular local florists, who has partnered with brands like Victoria Secret, Innisfree and Dolce & Gabbana, I headed down to their head office for a Dried Bouquet Workshop.
Upon entering the studio, I was enchanted by the sheer number of flowers everywhere. There were jugs of fresh blooms chilling in the fridge and bundles of dried flowers around every corner. Large floor-to-ceiling windows bathed the spacious studio with light.
There were nine of us attending the workshop that day and we each had ample space at our work stations.
The workshop, led by Stanley and two other florists, began with a run-through of the tools we would be using. We were then introduced to the three main portions of a bouquet – the “skeleton”, “meat” and “skin”.
The skeleton refers to the flowers that would set the rough shape of the bouquet and the meat includes the main blooms and other filler flowers. The skin would be the wrapping paper.
We started by crafting the skeleton of the bouquet before moving on to incorporating the main blooms. The part where we added in the fillers took the most time but was also the most fun as we were free to unleash our creativity and make the bouquets truly personal.
After learning to wrap the bouquet, the workshop ended with a quick photoshoot of our creations.
Some takeaways include learning to contrast and complement different blooms and to arrange them into a bouquet. In addition, we were taught the art of Korean wrapping – the signature style of Windflower Florist’s bouquets. Stanley also shared tips for maximising the use of our raw materials, such as extending a broken-off cotton bud.
The team was meticulous in their step-by-step explanations, with Stanley doing a group demonstration for each new step. As we tried it out ourselves, the team would offer one-on-one guidance to ensure we properly grasped the techniques.
Right off the bat, the programme booklet included a snippet about the team to let us feel like part of an inner circle. They really managed to put all the participants at ease and with their genuine and welcoming demeanour, no one felt self-conscious about requesting for help.
In addition, I was really impressed by the generosity of the team! We were already provided with a huge variety of dried flowers at our work stations but Stanley even gave us unlimited access to the bloom bar where there were even more options.
As we were contemplating over the blooms, he disappeared for a brief moment and returned with more varieties. I ended up with over ten different varieties of blooms in my bouquet!
The team was even happy to share their trade secrets. For instance, we were taught the secret behind their perfect Instagram shots. (I think it’s alright if I share this on the net.)
The answer: a wall right by the window that was specially painted to create a textured effect, complete with a step-stool and a wool rug. Behold: their designated photo wall.
Also, Stanley wasn’t hesitant about divulging trade secrets and told us that we could pick up some blooms from their supplier to work on our skills after the lesson. He even shared that saying we were Windflower Florist’s workshop participants would get us a discount.
After a lot of help from the team, here’s my final creation — a beautiful bouquet which I love to bits!
Did I enjoy the workshop? Absolutely. Would I return in future, or recommend it to a friend? Of course! I really have nothing but praise for the team and after posting the photo of my bouquet onto Instagram, I received so many compliments for it too.
Sadly, there aren’t any more dried flower bouquet workshops in April 2018 but they do have an upcoming session for fresh bouquets so sign up quickly!
Prices: S$33 (Bouquets) – S$120 (Fresh Bouquet Workshop)