Floral stylist Kelly Karam opens the doors to Blush floristry boutique in Auckland, inspiring brides-to-be, bouquet lovers and home décor fanatics alike.
With a wedding day seemingly “gone in a minute”, says events planner, photographer and stylist Amanda Thomas, the actual planning is the most exciting part. “It’s a huge memory. The planning experience is so important because it’s the bit that actually lasts,” she says, as she sits with her sister, Blush founder and creative director Kelly Karam, at the white marble table in the floral styling company’s chic new studio in Parnell, Auckland.
Sipping on a cheeky afternoon rosé surrounded by lush bouquets and their fresh-cut scent, Douglas and Bec furniture and elegant fittings, the space is a sophisticated setting for brides to choose their blooms and plan the floral styling for their big day.
A photography album boasting Blush-designed bouquets, floral archways, table settings and elaborate cheese boards gives clients a glimpse into what their wedding day could look like. With exquisite arrangements displayed against a white brick backdrop, their natural beauty is brought to life.
Kelly started Blush 10 years ago, creating floral arrangements not only for weddings and events but for luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and big-name hotels, including The Hilton Auckland. Having planned their own weddings, the sisters are well aware of how daunting the process can be, so providing inspiration and styling ideas through their new space is top of mind.
“Most people don’t know where to start,” says Amanda. “So when they come in here it gives them a starting point for a style. And when the wall is full of flowers, that can be referenced, too.”
Amanda shoots the store’s flower wall twice a week for blush.co.nz and Instagram. Not only does it serve as inspiration for customers, it helps them choose the exact flowers for their bouquets when they order online, thus eliminating potential gerbera-related surprises come delivery.
Blush opened its doors on Gladstone Road, Parnell, in April and, as well as a wedding floristry, it’s a walk-in florist for customers to buy ready-made bouquets with take-home vases, choose flowers for arranging, or simply pick a few stems to prepare as they like at home. Flowers are displayed in ombre colour-ways in large troughs on the wall, allowing for easy selection.
“I think that’s how people want to buy their flowers these days,” says Kelly. “They want one variety that’s a beautiful colour, that’s really good quality, that’s presented a little bit differently. So that’s our core product.”
The boutique also stocks collections of soaps, scented candles, sweet treats and coffee-table books that are exclusive to Blush – the luxury selection provides gifts to go with flowers for many different occasions.
It’s this extra offering that Kelly believes will help create repeat business and cement the store’s place within the Parnell and Remuera communities. “I really want people to walk in two weeks later and be like, ‘Oh, a new book, a new candle!’ It’s never stagnant.”
Another point of difference for the brand is the custom-designed cardboard carry cases – a stylish step away from traditional paper or cellophane wrapping.
There’s an exciting sense of theatre at the studio when the team is working on a wedding or major event. The creativity and raw energy of meeting a deadline gives customers real-life insight into the “dirty job” that is floristry, says Kelly.
“When customers come in, they can buy $20 or $100 worth of flowers off the wall, but they can also see the carnage of a mega-wedding being prepared,” she says.
“There are leaves on the floor, buckets full of roses – and that’s neat! There’ll be people at the window just for the fact that there are six chicks in here working on great big weddings, with hydrangeas as far as the eye can see.”