Based in London, Maya has been working with flowers for almost the last decade, but only recently decided to venture out with her own business, Blooming Flair. As well as designing own bespoke boquets, she also loves to share her passion for flowers through the relaxing and therapeutic experience of her workshops.
We chatted to Maya all about her floristry journey, starting her own business, and how a chance encounter gave her the opportunity of a lifetime.
(Maya's answers have been edited for length and clarity)Check Out Blooming Flair's Workshops
When was the first time you started flower arranging, and what drew you to it?
I think as a little girl, we all dream of playing with flowers - such as making flower crowns together with friends. My parent's had an allotment growing up so I was always surrounded by nature. Obviously, as you grow up, your preferences change and my first career was actually as an actor! I first started working with flowers by taking on little projects, such as arranging flowers for friends. I was really encouraged by all the positive feedback I got from them as well as how much I was enjoying it, so I started thinking more seriously about getting into floristry.
I started doing a few courses, and gained more confidence from them in my abilities before I decided to do a one-year intensive course at Capel Manor College's Enfield campus. In an unusual and magical turn of events, I ended up getting my work experience in Selfridges with The Real Flower Company, working with scented roses. I was walking past their shop one day and summoned the courage to ask if they offered any work experience placements. They usually don't, but for whatever reason, they said yes to me! It felt like a real kismet moment, like this was exactly where I was meant to be and what I should be doing.
What made you realise that teaching might be for you? And was it difficult for you to make that leap from creating for yourself to teaching others?
For me, I've always been a 'people person'. I love interacting with others, as well as being able to share my knowledge and experience. I love seeing the transition from when a student comes into my workshop looking so lost and uncertain about their capability, versus when they then leave the class with a masterpiece made by themselves - so proud of what they achieved! I actually found that my first career in acting incorporates into my classes, because you're having to make sure you're presenting the best workshop possible to people! I love the combination of teaching and the social aspect of the workshops I run and getting to know the students who come along to my classes.
Having started your own business in Blooming Flair, how do you maintain your inspiration now you're dealing with being a business owner too?
It's always the tricky part of running your own business, having to deal with the non-creative side of things - something I'm still getting to grips with because I've only just started out independently! I'm not very technical, and at the moment, I'm just trying to concentrate on being creative in what I do.
For me, flowers are like fashion. You have new varieties of flowers appearing each year, new styles of arranging becoming popular, the different seasonal availability of flowers - the industry is consonantly changing!
What is your favourite thing to create? And your favourite thing to teach?
I love making bridal bouquets. It's such an important part of the bridal outfit, and you feel lots of pressure to get it right. But the satisfaction you feel when you achieve exactly what the bride wanted is worth all the stress, you feel over the moon knowing you got to play such an important part in someone's big day!
My favourite thing to teach is a difficult thing to choose, as each of the designs have their own character. My Flower Crown Workshops tend to bring women together during hen parties. My Bouquet Workshops are more technical but so lovely to teach and make too. And my Wreath Workshops are just for the special holiday period, where everyone gets together to relax and make something really beautiful.
I've always had the sense that flowers are an important part of our lives. Whether it's through a family or romantic connection, flowers offer not only a connection to eachother but also to the natural world around us. So, it's not about the favourite design for me , it's more about what my flower workshops offer - a combination of discovering your creativity and connecting with the world of nature and the well-being benefits that offers.
What encouraged you to join Obby and how has it helped you?
I was looking for a platform that would help me to grow and help me gain a bigger audience, and then my friend recommended me Obby. I find the integration (of my website with Obby) really helpful, in terms of helping me track the numbers of my students as well as helping me to reach out to new students.
What has been your favourite student interaction since you’ve started teaching?
There have been quite a few! Seeing a student coming along, feeling very unsure about their capability of creative skills, and then leaving with a big smile and pride in themselves - that's a massive success for me. But also there have been some magical moments like, when we chat during the workshops, getting to know students and discovering that we've got something in common - and suddenly we end up making bouquets and listening to our shared favourite music!
What is your favourite part about teaching?
Surprising my students! Like when I show them a skill, technique or share some tips with them, and they tell me they never would have thought of that!
Finally, do you have any tips for aspiring creatives who are looking to start their own business?
I've only just started out independently, so it's hard to give advice, but I would say just go for it! For me, it got to the point where if I didn't try to go out on my own now, it was never going to happen. I heard a quote recently that I really love, "Life is not a dress rehearsal, so live now." You might never have another chance to do it, so why not give it a try? Start from something small and see if you like it, and go from there.
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