Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Are you giving or receiving flowers? Anna, who owns Flower Land, at Tin Yiu Plaza in Tin Shui Wai, hopes that her flowers can both bring joy to people and also be a way for them to stay in touch with loved ones.
Prior to starting Flower Land, Anna, who was born in the 80s, had worked at a marketing firm. By chance, she became intrigued by floriculture after attending a flower arrangement workshop organised by a client. To improve her flower arranging skills and knowledge, she took a part-time job at a flower shop on weekends despite her busy schedule. “Flowers bring happiness to people,” she said with a smile. “The customers are always in a good mood when they buy flowers.” It was the moment that Anna realised she wanted to turn this joy into a part of her work, so she quitted her full-time job to start a flower business.
Anna decided to begin her business in Tin Shui Wai because she grew up and has been living there ever since. She also enjoys the neighbourhood. “Tin Yiu Plaza used to be a fresh market. It is now even more comfortable and vibrant after the renovation.”
Tin Yiu Plaza underwent asset enhancement, which was completed in 2017, transforming the lower ground floor market into an air-conditioned bazaar. Flower Land was among the first batch of merchants to move in. The newly-set up atrium at the mall’s centre was designed to provide natural ventilation and light. Apart from running a physical store, Anna also receives inquiries and orders through various social media platforms. “Online shopping is becoming more popular and online payment services are much more convenient than before, which is a general trend,” said Anna. “That said, the older generation still prefers in-store shopping, since it gives them the reassurances.” And because of that, physical stores will be hard to be completely replaced for the time being.
Anna’s work starts from 10am to 8pm every day. In the morning she has to change water and trim the flower stems for better nutrient absorption. Then she removes all packaging for the new arrivals and completes her cleaning routine checklist.
Running a flower shop day after day may seem repetitive, but Anna genuinely enjoys taking care of plants and chatting with customers. “Some customers have become my friends, and they have gradually developed the habit of planting and arranging flowers. When they visit, I would ask about their plants, which also helps me better understand the quality of my products. These kinds of relationships can only be established in a neighbourhood shop like mine, and in a place like Tin Yiu Plaza. I enjoy these sorts of close and personal connection with my customers very much.”
Flower Land’s business focuses on selling imported flowers and organising floriculture courses. In addition to teaching at her store, Anna is also invited by enterprises to organise activities from time to time. She is also an avid environmentalist. For example, she uses wastepaper for wrapping flowers to avoid using non-reusable plastic flower sleeves and encourages customers to reuse their pots and decorations.
Flowers can embellish our homes and light up our souls. But they are often considered to be a luxury, as even the prettiest flowers wither one day, which creates the impression that buying flowers is wasteful. Being well-aware of this, Anna would often take the initiative to share tricks about keeping flowers fresh to help extend their life while customers are browsing. Although all flowers eventually die, Anna feels content that at least she has prolonged the brief moments of beauty that flowers bring for her customers.
Valentine’s Day is traditionally one of the busiest days on the calendar for florists, and Anna noted that roses have always been the most popular pick on that day. Hydrangeas, dried flowers and preserved flowers are especially picking up steam among young women these days, although their colour preferences vary. “Colour trends are ever changing,” said Anna. “These days, cool colours such as nude and earth tones are in demand, while in years past it would be hard to find buyers for them.”
For the almost five years since she became a full-time florist, Anna has dedicated herself to helping customers spread their love with flowers. One of her long-time male customers who once asked for her help to pick flowers for someone he is courting. And thereafter, whenever this customer needed flowers for any special occasion, Anna has always been there to help – all the way from courtship to marriage! “We are just like friends,” she said, again with a smile. “It’s like witnessing ‘my friend’ going through different stages of life, and for that I have tailor-made a number of bouquets so that he won’t repeat flower types and can keep surprising his other-half.”
Petals that are wrinkled, yellowed or have black edges are signs that flowers have been around for some time.
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