We’re going to do something a little different today – and that is to let Josie tell the story of her floral styling brand My Father’s Florist herself. As you read her words, you’ll understand why it wouldn’t have been right for me to try to massage them into the regular descriptive paragraph or two.
Photography above by Robbie Hunter
My name is Josie and I am twenty-five. I live on the wrenching, gritty and graceful west coast of New Zealand, Piha.
I am in a constant love affair between the ocean, floristry and mental health. I started My Father’s Florist in July last year after some really unfair and tragic circumstances caused me to take a step back from my employment at the time. My Father’s Florist is about desperately trying to borrow what the West Coast lends me and gifting that to others through floristry.
My Father’s Florist is built around two things; capturing joy and dealing with grief. My understanding of joy is not happiness. Joy is the deep rooted and grounded understanding that no matter how horrible life gets, life is still unquestionably beautiful. I believe that joy can be present on the bad days, on the days in which you just can’t, when it’s unfair and when you just want acknowledgment that the situation you find yourself in sucks.
A big part of my business and my love for dried florals is grief. But grief interwoven with learning how to step into gratitude and step into joy.
I started collecting flowers when I was significantly shorter and a fair bit more foolish. I have trodden the known and unknown paths of my hometowns for uncounted dusk and dawn soaked hours. Some of these evening walks were the walks of lovers. At other times they were lonely. I started collecting, documenting, foraging and began to gain a deep-rooted understanding of beauty from the ashes.
That’s the beauty of dried florals really, that in every single process of life there is unseen detail. Silent joy.
I don’t want to be a floral designer, I want to be someone who is pursuing joy and just happens to make beautiful products. I believe in unique and whenua grounded design, I believe in creating a product, service and art piece that reminds you of Joy.
I currently split my time between the sand soaked soil here in Piha and the romance of the city. I work part time for a florist in Ponsonby, making whimsical wedding, store and event flowers. The rest of the time I spend foraging and creating in my Tiny house and caravan where I live by myself.
The thing that sets me apart from other florists who offer dried flowers is that all my flowers are foraged, it’s a long tedious process as it’s a massive gamble to see if things will dry in a good enough state to use. I spend two days a week exploring, knocking on doors, meeting strangers, meeting my community, talking, learning and creating a beautiful network of people who let me forage from their gardens. I make up for any lack with roadside finds.
Mental health is my priority, so this business is a slow one in the sense that I am ruthlessly eliminating hurry from the way I run it, which probably isn’t a smart business move, that being said there are some exciting things in sight.
I am currently attempting to bribe a local Piha business owner into letting me have a pop up florist at their store this coming summer, my main motivation being I can surf when the waves are good and make flowers when they waves are average, plus they sell really great tacos… Alongside this I will be running some pretty incredible dried floral workshops, and releasing some beautiful ceramics, dried floral products, dried floral bouquets, my new collection of dried floral rings, wedding packages and figuring out how to press flowers onto the top of a surf board before it’s glassed over.
Oh and I guess I should explain the name. My Father, he champions my creativity, I design it he makes it. He is my business partner and before I could claim the name florist I could claim the name daughter. My Fathers florist yes is about joy and expressing grief but I can only do both of these because he first created an environment in which it was encouraged to do so.
You can buy Josie’s intricate wreaths (in extra-large through to miniature sizes),
sculptural ikebana arrangements and other floral artworks online at My Father’s Florist.
Follow Josie’s creative journey on her Instagram.