Holly Hipwell is living proof that you make your own career. She hasn't studied floristry. She hadn't worked for a florist prior to becoming one, of sorts. In fact, that was how she started on her journey. Holly wanted to get some work experience with a florist, but no one would take her on. So she decided to start a blog, The Flower Drum, to showcase her work. Soon she gained a following, which morphed into paying jobs, and now she works full-time devising floral creations for events, weddings and all sorts of other special occasions. She is also a contributor to Lveland and hosts workshops.
Which five words best describe you? Messy, funny, happy, excited, tired.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? It just sort of happened. I mean, I made it happen, of course. But I didn't set out to be a florist. I just knew that I was creative but I was never satisfied with the handful of jobs that I had before becoming whatever it is that I call myself today - Florist? Special Event maker? Creator of dreams? Master of Disaster? It all started with my love for flowers and a blog called The Flower Drum. People started to read it all around the world and the more attention it received, the more I put into it. No florist in Sydney would give me work experience, so I just kept on going... playing with flowers in my own unique way and putting it all on the blog for anyone and everyone to see. Soon enough the interest in the blog turned into work and I had clients to juggle along with a full-time job. I would hit the markets early in the morning then work all day in an office then head home and work all night to get flowers ready for whatever installation or event that was happening the following day. Now I work seven days a week running the business by myself - getting up at 4am to hit the markets in the morning, designing concepts for commercial clients, creating dream weddings for brides, delivering flowers around Sydney, Pinteresting, Instagraming, emailing, text messaging, phone answering, Facebooking. Sometimes if I’m exhausted I squeeze in a 30-minute nap around 2pm. My body clock is out of control.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Having the confidence in myself to know that I can achieve my creative visions. Say yes and work it out later!
What’s your proudest career achievement? When my parents stopped asking me if I was going to get a job! Ha! No really, I am really proud of what I do, and I love it. I love that this is what I get to do every day. I have the odd day occasionally when I just wish that I worked at Blockbuster or something but mostly I am stoked.
What’s been your best decision? Instinct. You know straight away when you talk to a client if it’s not a good idea to move forward, whether it be in regards to the timeline, budget or the connection you have with them. It’s hard to turn away work and opportunities, but sometimes you just have to trust your instincts. Not everyone in this world is nice like you and that is something I learnt a long time ago.
Who inspires you? Is it weird if I say Madonna? She's the first person that comes to mind. From the age of three til about 10 I was completely obsessed by her platinum chameleon ways. Think - Blonde Ambition Tour 1990. I was absolutely captivated. The Costumes. The back up dancers! The music! OMG! I have just spent the last hour revisiting the concert on YouTube.
Bill Cunningham pretty much melted my heart in his documentary - seeing his passion and love for what he does was so inspiring. So humble and dedicated.
My friends - they're a pretty clever bunch and each is the master of their own domain. It’s awesome to be able to share ideas and dream together.
Actually, I’m not really inspired or influenced by others so much, but what I do love to see in other people is their passion for what they do. Passion is so powerful, it can make you do anything. I’m so excited when I talk to people about what I do, and when I meet people who are bursting with fire in their bellies about the smallest or craziest ideas, it puts a smile on my face.
What are you passionate about? Discovery. Teaching myself how to create new things, learning about how flowers “work” and stumbling across new varieties of blooms that I haven't used before. Every day is an adventure for me and you have to be ready and raring to go at all times.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Diana Vreeland.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Making it all work. To be able to balance my passion for what I do with my personal life, and having perfect health. Obviously, I just want to keep on creating bigger and better. I’d love to work more overseas. I’d love to be a travelling florist.
What are you reading? Crazy Rich Asians.