Creator's Corner: Tremella Botanicals
Five years ago Rebekah resigned from her job and took a year off to travel and get re-inspired. She ended up falling in love with floristry and has since launched her own floral and botanical styling business.
Here she talks about why she adheres to the “grown not flown” concept and the misconception about pursuing a creative career that she wants to rectify.
Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you and what’s your creative background?
Hello, I’m Rebekah, a floral and botanical designer who loves travel, nature and adventure, dreaming (and getting to know other people’s dreams) and I love having a boogie. I can't decide whether I love the mountains, forests or sea more.
I run my own floristry business called Tremella Botanicals based in Melbourne which specialises in weddings and events. I studied Psychology in uni and went on to work in social and community services while running a photography street style blog with my sister back in 2011, while doing lots of market stalls.
Where did the idea for Tremella come from?
5 years ago I took a year off to travel through Central & S.E Asia, North & South America and Europe. I had resigned from my previous job in community health and was feeling quite creatively unfulfilled. It was a very transformative time in my life where I knew I wanted to work with nature, people, and be creative with my hands. So I decided that being a florist would tick all those boxes!
After a year in London of learning the ropes of floristry in a very fast-paced events industry, I came back to Melbourne and worked another year in a wedding venue out in the Yarra Valley. I soon craved freedom and flexibility and hence decided to launch Tremella (which is the botanical name of the snow fungus) to focus on wedding and event flowers while working on creative projects on the side!
Why was it important for Tremella to focus on only using locally sourced seasonal flowers and foliage?
In the same way that looking at where our food and clothes come from, I wanted to be more conscious in where I was buying my flowers from - adhering to the concept of “grown not flown” - especially after looking into the damaging environmental and social impacts of the flower industry overseas (such as South America and Africa). I’ve been lucky to source flowers directly from Monbulk, where a lot of the flowers are grown - it takes me longer to drive out there from the inner north of Melbourne but it’s so worth it! The flowers tend to last much longer too as they haven't travelled for thousands of miles in a plane.
What are your personal guiding values, and how are they reflected in your floral designs?
I believe in diversity and inclusivity, being environmentally and socially conscious, balanced, intentional yet intuitive.
I think my floral designs tend to be quite balanced (but definitely not symmetrical!) I love combining soft, feminine florals with some odd, sculptural elements like mushrooms (can you tell I love mushrooms?) I don’t follow any traditional rules as I never went to floristry school and spend a lot of time thinking about the concepts and design of my arrangements prior to starting an arrangement. I tend to just follow my intuition. I’ve never used floral foam in any of my work and try not to say no to any flowers!
Tell us about your recent trip to Bali! Was it for work or play?
Work AND play! Flowers, botanicals and nature is work, play and life for me. I launched Tremella at the end of last year in the middle of wedding season and came out of it (in May!) completely exhausted and feeling a little lost with my direction. My partner Serge had recently moved over from London and we both needed some time away to fine-tune our life purpose, immerse ourselves in nature and reload our creative tanks. And we sure did! Apart from having the time and space to create using local, tropical flowers, I met some incredible florists and creatives over there and ran a collaborative botanical workshop, inspired by the Balinese landscape.
What tropical flower did you fall in love with while you were there?
Can I name more than one? Tropical flowers are “exotic” and expensive in Melbourne so it was mind-blowing to see them growing in the wild and in gardens everywhere! I was obsessed with anthuriums, the banana flower and heliconia.
What does your day to day schedule look like running your own business?
Every day, week and month is so incredibly varied, which is exactly why I love running my own business!
My day could be anything from client or vendor meetings/consultations, site visits, designing a visual flower proposal and moodboard, answering enquiries, preparing quotes and invoices, ordering flowers (hello spreadsheets!), picking up flowers from my suppliers out in Monbulk, sourcing props and supplies, foraging, prepping and arranging the flowers, installing and bumping in and out of an event/wedding, lots of cleaning and sweeping and washing! And in between that I try to find the time to photograph and edit my arrangements to create content for social media which I definitely struggle to keep up with! And I haven't even mentioned the bookkeeping…
What’s one misconception about pursuing a creative career that you want to rectify?
People often think that working with flowers means that florists are frolicking in the fields and playing with flowers all day. From the outside and on social media it always looks curated, beautiful and fun, but there’s a fair bit of stress and anxiety that comes with the pressures of weddings and the uncertainty of business! In reality there is so much more administrative work that is involved. And physical work too from running around and lifting buckets. I reckon I almost got a six-pack just from working!
How do you see Tremella evolving over the next 5 years?
I would like to see a lot more overseas travel and working abroad, connecting with more local and global creatives, start a social botanical enterprise, run more workshops, incorporate a lot more mushrooms in my work, and perhaps dabble in more editorial and photography work.
What is the proudest moment in your journey so far?
To have taken the leap and actually get started with Tremella as starting a business in a craft that was fairly new to me was complete foreign territory (which made me equally excited and terrified). I’ve had zero business experience and had spent most of my working life working in non-profits so the concept of working to make a profit took some adjustment.
How do you unwind after a long week of work?
Time with my partner. Family and friends are really important to me. I love having long yarns with my people! Otherwise it would be going for a yoga or African dance class. (*for any non-Aussies reading this- “having a yarn” means having a chat)
What do you look forward to each day?
I love the routine of making my morning coffee, from hand-grinding the coffee beans, then brewing it in an Aeropress, followed by frothing hot milk and sitting out in the garden to enjoy it! It gets me out of bed early (and I’m not particularly a morning person…)
Finish these sentences
My favorite flower of all time is the Icelandic poppy.
My favorite place to travel is Mongolia.
I lose track of time when I create floral arrangements for myself.
I can read Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami over and over again.
These 3 adjectives describe my life right now: Balanced, inspired, excited.