A sustainably focused Wanaka faux flower enterprise, The Flower Merchant, is developing a prominent national profile, delivering flowers across New Zealand.
Co-founders, Steph Cranfield and Michelle Fenton met after moving to Wanaka three years ago and came up with the innovative concept, after discovering a shared enthusiasm for creating their own business.
“We began brainstorming business options and hit on the idea of faux flowers. We did some market research and while we discovered a fabulous retailer in the U.K. we couldn’t find anything similar in New Zealand. There was definitely a gap in the market for a quality faux flower operation and we were looking for a business that would be fun, therapeutic and flexible – and so The Flower Merchant was born,” says Michelle who had previously attended the internationally renowned Jane Packer Flower School in London where she trained in the art of flower arranging.
The Flower Merchant’s diverse range is rented by offices, hotels, restaurants, lodges and private homes creating authentic displays.
“People particularly like our flowers because they are imported once and obviously last forever, so they’re more sustainable than buying fresh, imported flowers which have a short life span. Faux flowers are also a great way to limit the use of sprays and pesticides.”
Steph says arrangements can be changed fortnightly or monthly for a fresh seasonal look.
”Flowers are delivered to a clients’ door complete with vase. The appeal is that they are everlasting , there’s no maintenance, no smelly water and they are allergy free – although one of our clients claims a customer complained they gave him hay fever. That’s how realistic they are.”
The Flower Merchant also offers an event styling service, with a flower wall and superb hanging installations for hire. “They add a wow factor to any occasion,” says Michelle.
The faux flowers are sourced from overseas where different flower types are made in batches and petals and foliage are hand-dyed before cut to shape.
“It’s fascinating and quite amazing how they achieve it. It’s very hands-on and there’s different processes for different flowers,” she says.
Steph and Michelle are proud of what The Flower Merchant has achieved in just two years with more and more customers around New Zealand, and even Australia where they also deliver to, coming on board.
“To manage the increasing interest we have recently launched our online store and clients can choose from a beautiful collection of bouquets or select stems individually to make up their own unique arrangement.”
The Flower Merchant will be present at the Geraldine Summer Fete in November, the Southern Artisan Christmas fete in Winton and Wanaka’s A&P Show in March 2020.