Meet the Florist: Tennille and Rebekah from Devonport Flowers

Who are you and how did you get into floristry? 

Rebekah: I grew up involved in creative arts and have always loved flowers. My first ever 'job' was gardening in my Grandma's massive garden- so big you could almost get lost in it. Somehow though, it wasn't until I finished my university studies that I really realized that floristry was a career I could do. 

I started volunteering at Devonport Flowers to try it out and was pleasantly surprised to be hired as a junior florist. I then went on to gain my floristry certificate and now happily have a job that combines so many of my passions and brings me endless joy.

Tennille: I purchased the Devonport Flowers 18 months ago and come from a property background. I sold my property management businesses which looked after 250 properties across Auckland and I ran a team of 5 employees, so it's all been very new! I absolutely intend to get a bit more on the tools and love it! 

Aside from running all the admin and accounting, I've been busy refitting the shop, building the new website, getting our liquor license, redesigning our giftware lines (expanding into corporate giftwares), and trying to get a few large weddings under our belt.

Growing our online presence is a primary focus, when I purchased the business only 20% of our revenue came from online sales - I intend to double this over the next 12 months and we're definitely well on track to do this.

 While continuing to work part-time in our mortgage business, I also run a weekly shift on the floor at the shop. I'm definitely not yet at the stage where I personally would be making bouquets, but I can do everything else.

Favourite part of being a florist? 

Rebekah: My favorite thing about being a florist is that I am always learning new things and time flys by because the days are always busy. I love working with my hands and being on my feet- It is hard work but it is good work. And being surrounded by beautiful flowers all day isn't too bad either!

Tell us about your floristry journey, where do you see it going? 

Rebekah: Devonport Flowers has provided an excellent platform for my growth as a florist. I am privileged to have received training and guidance from many knowledgeable women, especially our amazing senior florist, Gretchen. 

In the next 12 months, I am excited to continue working with Devonport Flowers and expanding my skills. Recently, I have taken up the challenge of purchasing the beautiful flowers for our shop at the Auckland Flower Markets. After being sent on a flower photography workshop, I have found joy in utilizing my new skill of flower photography for social media.

 I am always eager to develop further as a florist and am set to attend a couple of incredible floristry workshops in London and explore the flower markets of London, Paris, and Amsterdam later this year.

 As a member of Interflora, Devonport Flowers can provide me with opportunities to attend workshops, receive tutorials, and access industry experts, which is beneficial for my growth as a florist. It is great for our customers to see us associated with a reputable brand known for quality and customer service.

Favourite flower/flower season? 

Rebekah: Asking a florist what their favorite flower is, is like asking a parent who their favorite child is! I love all flowers, but I do have a soft spot for beared Irises and I love creating a lush autumnal bouquet with lots of interesting greenery.

What does your favourite florist future look like in 10 years time? 

Rebekah: The future of floristry excites me, but in an industry so closely connected to nature we also have a strong responsibility to continue to think of ways we can be more sustainable. My perfect floristry future would be full of efficient and effective sustainable methods, an openness to try new things, and a supportive and loyal customer base who enjoy seeing us create arrangements just as beautiful as ever. I am eager to develop in my own floral identity, and to never stop learning. Lastly, in a "perfect" future I'd like to own one of every houseplant imaginable.