The first thing that strikes you when you meet Daisy for the first time is her bright smile. It instantly lights up the entire room.
We meet her in her ‘shed’, a tall wrought-iron frame on burgeoning creative hub of Geelong, Rutland St. She’s gearing up for a short day: with the temperature expected to tip over 30 degrees, the shed turns into a burning furnace.
“People simply don’t come in when it’s that hot. Not that I’m complaining!”
We could spend hours gawking at all the homewares and gifts options in the shop but I was so curious to know how it all came about.
“I actually used to be a vet nurse.”
How does a vet nurse turn into a florist?
“My friend, who is a florist, needed help one Valentine’s Day so I offered to help and immediately fell in love with it”
That one opportunity of doing something for somebody ended up doing more for Daisy. It triggered an entire new purpose and passion in life, and one day turned into one year. When asked if she learned on the job, an interesting back story relating to her family arose.
“My grandma was actually a florist and I learned all the technical aspects from her growing up.” Without consciously knowing, it seems Daisy was destined to be a florist from a young age.
“My main grandma memories stem from the vegie garden, but when I was little she used to look after me alot and was always pointing flowers out. I didn’t realise that I was absorbing it at the time but now I see things in people’s garden or at the markets and I remember her showing me that particular flower or plant back in the day.”
It appears her father also has the floristry gene and though he may not do floristry himself, he proved a vital part in the beginning of ‘As Daisy Does’. One year into her new career, Daisy happened to be walking past the shed on Rutland St with her father when the urge to take a leap and start her own floristry business hit her hard. Without her father’s encouragement that very morning, Daisy believes she would never have done it.
“I would have let fear win and talked myself out of it if Dad didn’t tell me to give it a go.”
Three months later, Daisy quits her job and launches ‘As Daisy Does’ – an indoor nursery and floristry. The family theme runs in the name with Daisy explaining that it’s a play on the nickname her mum gave her growing up, ‘Daisy Do’. The growth has been organic since – with the shed sparsely stored with plants and various products from friends in her creative circles, with one wedding booking leading to another and another. When conducting this interview, Daisy was preparing for five weddings the upcoming weekend – five! Daisy’s growth has relied largely on word of mouth, with a side helping of social media. Her Instagram Stories are particularly entertaining as she takes you through the behind the scenes of her day in her trademark self-depreciative humour. It’s evident from simply meeting her and watching her on Instagram that she loves what she does. And is gratefully surrounded by a team who shares in her passion.
“I’m not formally trained and I don’t specifically hire people who are formally trained. It’s the creative skill I look for – they either have it or they don’t.”
The more I talk to Daisy, the more evident it appears that her need for creative freedom is a strong driving force in her business. So much so, that she has come up with a very unique way to tie her current business model with this drive.
“We’re looking for unused farm sheds in the region and the idea is to turn these into stylish wedding or event venues. We’ll do the full set up – everything from fitting out the shed to styling the weddings and offering a full package deal that includes photography, a celebrant and all that.”
Inverleigh Pub has already jumped on this offer, reaching out to Daisy to turn their unused shed located behind the pub into a wedding venue. It couldn’t be a better option for Daisy to start this venture – with an already-successful pub, the venue is sure to get a wealth of enquiries before starting.
There are logistical hurdles to overcome of course. Things like planning and building permits will be required, health and safety issues to be addressed, parking and of course, how the landowner actually benefits from having this venue.
“The plan is that each landowner will receive a flat rate ‘hire’ fee per booking. And they won’t have to do any of the work.”
Sounds like a win for the owners, but what about the cost in setting these venues up? Daisy states she will front the cost of the set up and to ensure it is done right, will only focus on one venue at a time. It’s a credit to Daisy’s business acumen that she can foresee the challenges of this new adventure but has the tools in place to limit the risks. When I stated that she was taking a brave risk, she shrugged with her trademark smile.
“I don’t know what the hell I am doing until it is done, I just make it up as I go. There is zero method to my madness. I’m just mad ”