We grabbed some time (over chai teas at Cafe Inu, of course!) with our driven, dynamic and super talented boss lady, Jade.
How and when did you get into the flower biz?
I got into flowers quite young. My grandmother had a beautiful, huge garden in the Blue Mountains - a few acres of every flower and tree imaginable! I used to love wondering through it with my aunt and making colourful posies to give to friends and family. My grandmother was also heavily into the church at the time and I remember participating in their floral display competitions and going to garden club. She was a big influence on me and my career.
In terms of specifically events floristry, I had a couple of weddings on the books back in 2006 when I sold my retail flower shopfront. I think just being able to give more time to a bride and not having the pressures of a customer-facing environment made me see that floristry can be so much more than just a finished product - I was building a connection with someone and talking about something really positive in one of the peak moments of their life. Having their gratitude was also pretty awesome. I grew to love being involved in weddings very quickly!
What keeps you motivated?
Over the years, the business side of things has really kept me motivated. Learning and implementing new skills, and watching Jade McIntosh Flowers & Styling grow has been great. The changing trends are interesting and inspiring too. Even just this morning, I was looking at the baby's breath that we dyed chocolate brown for a photoshoot earlier this week. So it's funny, we've gone from hating the resurgence of that particular flower to finding new ways of working with it, and now I actually like and appreciate its versatility.
How did you develop your signature style?
It's definitely not intentional - it comes from within I think. I find it hard to label and describe but everybody says to me 'Oh, that's a JMFS work.' I feel that our style is quite adaptable and has evolved, which I've also been told is a sign of a true artist. We're not necessarily locked into anything aesthetic-wise. It's important to be timeless but also go with the changing trends and times as well.
Where do you look for inspiration?
This is a little difficult to answer too, because what inspires me changes all the time. I love travelling and seeing how different countries use flowers in different ways. Obviously, our couples are inspiring as well! They're often more heavily in the research process and so what they bring also triggers lots of new ideas.
What excites you most about wedding culture in the Hunter Valley?
I love the Hunter Valley. There's something about that drive up from Newcastle that is so relaxing. It's a beautiful place with so many gorgeous venues that offer different styles.
What is the hardest part of running a business in this industry?
It's staying fresh and inspired, particularly when you're looking at trends. Travel between venues can also be long and quite tricky. Floristry isn't necessarily as glamorous as people think - we own toolboxes, pack heavy and fragile things into vans and use drills regularly!
Best tips for couples planning their big day?
Maybe this counts as my life tip as well, but not overcomplicating and adding extra stress. I think engaging the right suppliers makes a huge difference too, especially when they're experienced in the industry.
Where do you see the future of wedding floristry?
I think we'll continue to see the inclusion of more styling elements and less reliance on just what venues offer. We're definitely seeing this within our business.