A cup of tea with... creative florist King-Wey Hii: 'Sometimes having someone tell you to stop overthinking and to just get on with it is all you need to hear'
What a beautiful spring we’ve had. Everywhere you look is covered with beautiful blooms – streets, houses, Instagram feeds. Flowers give us such a boost of positive energy, it’s hard to walk by without secretly wanting to take all these flowers home and put them in every single room.
Our guest today does just that. King-Wey is a true floral artist, who is inspired by floral shapes and colours and matches them to people’s personalities. She wakes up at silly hours to go to flower markets wherever she is – London, Kuala Lumpur or Barbados and each trip reveals new and exciting possibilities. ‘I’m spending a lot of time in Japan – that’s where I get a lot of influence from’. Sounds like a florist’s dream, but it came down to a bold decision and following her heart.
We are really excited to share King-Wey’s story with you here over a cup of Nauteas.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR ALRIGHT PETAL FLOWERS AND HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
It all started a few years ago when my partner bought me two hour flower arranging class as a gift. I immediately fell in love with it all – the smells, the textures, the colours, all of it. From that day I spent most of my free time ‘flowering’, firstly for friends and family, and then I landed my first wedding. Flowers slowly but surely took over my life, and it was getting increasingly challenging to balance my full time job with running my own business. I had one of those eureka moments as I realised that life is too short to dedicate so much time to anything that you don’t feel passionate about, so I said goodbye to my career in Advertising and I never looked back! Alright Petal Flowers is inspired by the joy I found in flowers, the courage they gave me to make a positive change and to make the most of those precious moments in life.
WHAT DO YOU DO AND WHERE DO YOU GO TO FIND FRESH NEW IDEAS FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
My preference is to source my flowers from New Covent Garden Flower Market. Nothing beats seeing your materials ‘in the flesh’. I try to keep an open mind when it comes to design, without too much over planning. When I go to the market, I like to feel inspired by the flowers that are available on that day, rather than run around stressing about sourcing a specific variety of a particular colour. At the market, it’s usually love at first sight with a particular flower, and from that point of focus, my imagination will run wild, thinking “that would go with this colour, which will look great with this, and a bit of that” etc.
I also look to nature. I feel that flowers are at their best in their natural state, so I am often inspired by how things grow in the wild. These observations also teach me how to let the flowers ‘just be’ in my designs.
When it comes to weddings, the couple inspires me. I enjoy letting the flowers speak to the personalities of the bride and groom. I always want the wedding party to see the design of the flowers as a true and honest reflection of the couple.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST AND LEAST ABOUT RUNNING ALRIGHT PETAL FLOWERS?
The logistics of the job scare the hell out of me. I’m a control freak and I have had to learn that when it comes to flowers, there’s just some things you can’t plan for. Waiting for stubborn flowers to open the night before a wedding, how to transport oversized arrangements without any breakages, and how I’m going to install that gigantic flower arch in the allocated time are all on the list of things that keep me up at night!
The best thing has got to be seeing the very real happiness that flowers bring to people. Not only to my clients and lovely brides, but just seeing people’s faces light up along the street as I’m carrying a crate full of flowers to or from my car reminds me every time why I do what I do.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED FROM SOMEONE?
‘Just do it”, from my older sister. I’ve always been a worrier, but my sister is the opposite. Sometimes having someone tell you to stop overthinking and to just get on with it is all you need to hear!
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO DO WHAT YOU DO AND TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAM?
I think having had to juggle two jobs for so long has really been a test of my commitment. I’d come home to work on proposals late into the night after a long day at the office, gave up holidays and weekends for flower jobs, and started my days at 3am to go to the flower market and then would have to go into the office for a full day of client meetings! However, I enjoyed every minute of it because, without wanting to sound cheesy, I truly love what I do. I think that passion is key, and it means I really throw everything I have at each and every project I’m part of. The feeling I get when I have exceeded a client’s expectations is beyond rewarding.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE NAUTEAS BLEND?
Don’t Make Me Cycle To India. I like my tea how I like my food – bursting with interesting and unique flavours, but also warming and comforting. I always feel like a cup of this after a heavy meal, whether that’s at home wrapped up in a blanket on my sofa or at my desk working after a long lunch! There’s something about the cardamom, fennel, cinnamon and clove blend that I feel aids digestion and cleanses the palette.
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