Navigating lockdown and running your own business? 🙃 We hear you!
For those that are new around here, we love to turn the spotlight on fellow female founders and in May's edition, we explore building a biz from the roots up, seeking inspiration from Aperol Spritz (haven't we all) and pivoting to work with the unexpected: *a global pandemic*. So, mix yourself a glass of something suitably fresh and let’s get it ne-on with the floral artist you *need* to be following on IG: swoon-worthy content creator, Kaiva of My Lady Garden!
MYLADYGARDEN... BEST NAME EVER! CAN YOU TELL US HOW IT ALL BEGAN?
It all began with a bottle of wine, and two pals on a Friday night. I needed a business name as I was just starting out, and wanted something botanical and very memorable - the ideas were flowing and we somehow got onto the idea of “Sir/Lady”. One of us blurted it out, and MLG was born!
FROM INITIAL IDEAS TO MAKING MY LADY GARDEN A REALITY: WHAT WERE THE MOST CHALLENGING AND REWARDING ASPECTS OF STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I began operating out of my home in the early days, to keep my overhead cost down! This was super testing but kept me motivated to work towards a bigger space in the long run. To keep myself afloat, I still freelanced and worked part-time (at one point, I was working at Chick’n’Sours!) - so days would often start very early, and finish really late. We also moved to New York for 2 years in the middle of it all, which felt like having to uproot and start again...then again when I came back to London. I’ve been back for just over a year now, and WHAT a year it has been! Despite the challenges of starting up in multiple countries, it’s been incredibly rewarding with the people I've met, and the broad networks I now have! So it’s been equally challenging, and rewarding!
REAL TALK: YOUR PLAYLISTS ARE UNPARALLELED... WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE SONGS FOR GETTING US OUT OF A WFH SLUMP?
Estrelar - Marcus Valle (I genuinely think if MLG had a theme tune, it would be this)
Nomalizo - Letta Mbulu
Cola Bottle Baby - Edwin Birdsong
BLINK AND YOU’LL MISS IT! YOU’RE STILL BRINGING THE SUNSHINE VIA HOME DELIVERY EVERY THURSDAY - HOW EASY WAS IT TO PIVOT YOUR BUSINESS MODEL IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19?
It honestly happened overnight! When COVID-19 first started affecting businesses, it was right around Mother’s Day (UK). I decided that, due to all my events and weddings for the month being postponed/cancelled I would try out fresh flower deliveries - and what an overwhelmingly supportive response! There was clearly a demand so I continued every week...cut to six weeks later, and I’m selling out each week!
It was mainly about looking at new ways to adapt in order to survive as a business - I didn’t really have any other option! As well as deliveries, I have created virtual workshops which I host via ZOOM each week, and now have a merchandise range with new items dropping every few weeks - including an adult colouring book, MLG candle, bucket hat and other apparel!
ONE FOR ALL US LONG DISTANCE LOVERS: WHICH MLG BUNCH SHOULD WE BE SENDING TO OUR CRUSH?
FROM YOUR HOMEPAGE TO THE FLORALS ON YOUR DREAMY FEED, WE’RE A LITTLE OBSESSED WITH MLG AND YOUR COLOUR PALETTE. WHERE DO YOU DRAW CREATIVE INSPIRATION?
Currently, I'm drawing inspiration from citrus fruits (SO zingy!), Aperol Spritz, and a LOT of 90s cult classics films. I try to find images that I’m really drawn to with their mood/colours, and interpret them through my flowers!
FROM CLASSICAL COMPARISONS OF FLOWERS AND VIRGINITY TO ARTIST GEORGIA O’KEEFFE’S MODERNIST ODES TO THE VULVA: DO YOU THINK THERE’S AN INHERENT EROTICISM TO FLORALS?
I really do, and this is probably why I love the “innuendo” of My Lady Garden. Flowers are super sensual, from the textures and colours to how they’ve been represented in art over the years. If you’re looking from a literal perspective, some even have shapes which often are associated as being phallic/yonic - often these are anthuriums or phalaenopsis orchids! I adore this element of working with flowers!
OKAY, QUICKFIRE ROUND:
WISTERIA OR PEONIES? Wisteria
LOVE LETTER OR VOICE NOTE? Voice note
SWEETPEAS OR RANUNCULUS? Sweet peas
DINNER DATE OR DRINKS? Dinner date (with drinks!)
FIRE NEONS OR SOFT PASTELS? Both, clashing!
TIM TAMS OR BOURBON BISCUITS? Tim Tams - obviously!
WHERE DO YOU SEE MLG IN FIVE YEARS TIME?
Oh goodness, I could go on...I envision a large studio, with retail space at the front which is open to the public, and space at the back for all wedding and event work. Super sleek, a nice tiled workbench with all the flowers available in the front, as well as a workspace for all the delivery/orders. Super large windows, bright light - disco blaring! Maybe even on a monthly transforming the space and hosting disco/music nights. Or a MLG deli at the front with seasonal produce, I’d love to combine my love for food with flowers somehow!