The Sydney-based floral institute Grandiflora is the product of dedication, long hours, and owner Saskia Havekes' zeal and passion for her work. After a brief stint in advertising, Saskia turned her talent to the florist industry and Grandiflora has enjoyed immense success as Sydney's go-to destination for anything and everything floral for more than 20 years.
The subject of a previous seasonal Style Focus, Saskia sheds new light for the X-Files in her approach to her personal style and insights on growing her own business internationally. Saskia Havekes outside Grandiflora storefront via @grandiflora_sydney.
What drew your initial interest to floral artistry?
As a little girl, my sisters and I loved to make little posies and sell them by the roadside. The defining moment however would have had to been working in New York. My boss was a real flower lover and every time I would set up dinner parties, there would always be flowers involved, trailing along the tables.
Saskia Havekes for Parlour X Style Focus
What type of experiences did you hone, before establishing Grandiflora?
Before Grandiflora, I had a very brief career in advertising. Upon becoming highly interested in opening my own business, I did a short 6-week introduction course in floristry at TAFE with my sister and started working with Alison Coates who ran her own burgeoning floral business at the time in Sydney. Alison really drove me to appreciate unconventional floral materials, I worked there for several years. Grandiflora is an institution.
What has owning your own business taught you in the last twenty plus years?
This business has taught me a plethora on the human spirit, emotion and flowers. It never ceases to amaze me how people react to different blooms and arrangements. Also, that it is not just about having talent in this industry, you have to have an incredible work ethic. Saskia Havekes for Parlour X Style Focus
The most rewarding projects are...
Always the most challenging.
The most challenging thing about your profession is...
Most probably the hours. Around 4am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I hop into my van and head to the Flemington flower markets. Once back at the shop, the team and I prepare for whatever the day unfolds. We often finish at 6pm or 7pm at night. Saskia Havekes for Parlour X Style Focus
Is being passionate essential? How do you recharge?
The most essential part of floristry is to be passionate, and I am so often reminded at how lucky I am to be doing what I am most passionate about. To recharge, I spend time with my family. One of my daughters rides horses and there is nothing quite like heading out of the city on the weekends and spending time immersed in nature with the animals. Saskia Havekes for Parlour X Style Focus
How would you break-down your own personal fashion aesthetic?
My aesthetic is a playful mix of both form and functionality. Doing what I do requires me to go from the markets, to the store, to important business meetings and then often straight out to dinner.
You’ll frequently find me in a heeled boot or platform shoe that carries me through the day. I never fail to wear my favourite rings and bracelets - mostly sentimental, gifted by friends and family.
Accessories always make it easy to dress up for the occasion when I am on the go.
My daily staple is a straight leg jean with a billowy top or silk shirt. Often with a fitted blazer or jacket over the top. I’ve always loved silks and quality cottons to make me feel ready to take on the day.
On weekends, my style is more relaxed and slightly bohemian. I do love a beautiful print. Saskia Havekes via @grandiflora_sydney.
To see more of Saskia's beautiful floral artistry, visit Grandiflora's Instagram page @grandiflora_sydney.