Florist Spotlight: Iona, Moss & Co

Who are you and how did you get into floristry?

I come from a line of very keen gardeners, though I’m the first florist in my family. I’m a proud mama to three boys (well, young men!), and Nan-Nan to a precious granddaughter. 

This month marks 25 years as a florist for me and my association with Interflora. I studied Floristry at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic for a year - 1998 (in the same class as Murray Howell from Te Puke Florist, an Interflora florist). In the end, I was awarded a Certificate in Floristry with Distinction and my Diploma of Interflora Procedures (as well as top student for Fundamentals of Design). I was lucky enough to go straight into work as a junior florist in Te Kuiti. 

In 2016 I won Outstanding Florist at the NZ Wedding Industry Awards, and I hold my Level 3 & 4 NZPF (New Zealand Professional Florists) certificates, as well as Level 2, 3, and 4 Advanced floristry certificates from NZPI (New Zealand Primary Industries).

I own a small flower farm also - Isa’s Orchard - which helps supply fillers and seasonal spring/summer/autumn blooms to Moss & Co. 


What is the story behind Moss & Co?

I've owned my wee business for 4 and a half years, opening Moss & Co in June 2019 in my hometown of Ōtorohanga. One of my Interflora mentors, Heather Hammond, was retiring from The Flower Shoppe - and was instrumental in helping me open my own florist. I'll forever be grateful to her!

All things botanical is my passion - when I'm not creating at the studio, I'm growing flowers, drawing flowers, picking flowers, drying flowers, wearing flowers. I'm unashamedly obsessed with my profession!



What does a typical day look like for you?

I don't think there's such a thing as typical at Moss & Co! I'm an early morning person, so I'll be up picking flowers and foliage before work, and quite often also delivering our rural deliveries. Our flowers arrive via courier on an overnight service via Hamilton or Auckland. We also have some awesome local growers who pop in with their gorgeous flowers too - stock, sunflowers, callas, protea, and waratahs. Being a small rural town, our studio can be quite a social place. We cover quite a large area from Ōtorohanga down to National Park and out to the coastal towns of Kawhia and Marokopa. 


What do you find the most rewarding about your job?

When I think about the most rewarding part of my job, I'd have to say it's bringing smiles, happy surprises, and comfort to people’s lives through flowers. I become a part of their milestones and lend an ear when it's needed. That's the joy of a small town, we’re a tight-knit community.



Why do you love being an Interflora member?

I've always worked in Interflora flower studios and have been inspired by the many awesome designers in Interflora spanning my 25 years in the industry. I always set a high standard of work, which Interflora stands for. Being an Interflora member means we know what we're doing as floral designers.


Favourite flower/flower season?

Gosh, I find it hard to answer the favourite flower/season question when I get asked it!

For me, there are always new treasures to be found with every season. Moss, branches, foliage, bird nests, seed heads. I'm crushing on the return of the lisianthus season right now. I'm a sucker for the simple daisy - though also love the exotic waterlily. I’m always finding ways of making people take a second look at their flower designs; like our signature piece of moss in every design that leaves the studio.