I have a thing for flowers.
Even though I am not a florist, and definitely do not have a clue on flower types, I just love what they can do to my mood! A bunch of flowers can instantly brighten up my day – if I’m feeling down or uninspired, a little bouquet of colour is sure to brighten me up.
I love placing fresh flowers around my home and up until recently, these flowers would come from my local Coles!
Now, due to the growing popularity of flower bars, I have the ability to select my own bouquet, and form an arrangement that I am truly happy with.
Barton Flower Bar, is a new flower bar in Canberra that is owned and operated by two lovely ladies – Kylie and Rachel. I have known Rachel for many years throughout primary and high school, and have absolutely loved watching her soar through the flower, events and wedding scene in Canberra.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to sit down with Kylie and Rachel to discuss the opening of Barton Flower Bar, their plans for the adjoining Barton Grocer, and what their ideas are for expanding in the future!
Rachel and Kylie talk me through Barton Flower Bar, where did it all begin?
Kylie: Originally we didn’t even think of having a florist here, this was just meant to be a dedicated grocer. Then through travels, we saw a few similar spaces and thought it would be nice to have that lush, unique floral experience- something that was more beautiful and inviting. It then went from an idea of just having a few market bunches that we would outsource from another florist, and then it went to why don’t we do it ourselves?
I actually went and did a four week floristry course and thought, ok I can do this. And then I thought no, I can’t. I was more interested in the branding and marketing of the company, and thats when we decided that we needed to hire a florist. That’s how Rachel came on board.
Rachel: It did start as a pretty simple idea, and now it has exploded, which is awesome. Canberra is definitely ready for the Barton Flower Bar / Grocer concept, especially this area of Canberra. We’ve really only had a presence on social media, but to be in week two of being open and already having the amount of business that we have had, is incredible.
What was it like opening your own business in Canberra?
Kylie: For me, it’s not a first – but it’s been great doing something different.
Rachel: For me it’s been daunting as it would be for anyone. However in saying that, I think Canberra has been a really great place to start. Having grown up here and having so many friends and family in this city, has helped me in building the connections that I have here in Canberra. I think starting a business in Sydney or Melbourne, that already has a lot of florists, and without the connections that I have here; would of been a lot more difficult. So really, Canberra has made it much easier.
Kylie: The networking in Canberra is really good as well, so that always helps!
Rachel: And I think the fact that we love humans, means we can have good connections.
What would be the secret to forming a successful small business in Canberra?
Kylie: I think just being nice people! We deal a lot with small business, and we come across a range of different types of people. Working with others, collaborating, that can be the secret to success.
Rachel: Yes I completely agree. Just working with others. We’re all about connecting with other locals – using local growers, designers, stylists etc.
Kylie: Supporting other small business is key. If we can help other people in small business, then why not?
Rachel: And in turn, they help you – there is a lot of cross promotion. It’s all about loving each other!
Where did you find the inspiration for the interior of Barton Flower Bar?
Kylie: My husband Dom is a builder, and the Barton Flower Bar interior, has a similar look that resembles our own personal style and flair. We love the raw timber, exposed brick look. We took our brief to a family member who is an architect, and they were able to bring our idea to life. Again, we found a small business to do all of our branding. A lot of our home, has a similar sort of style as well, and this style will also run into the grocer, so it will all be a continuous aesthetic.
Rachel: So basically, Kylie and Dom have really good taste…
Kylie: Haha! We just love finding unique things! For example, we sourced the old concrete sink from a farmer in Bega. There is a story behind everything in this store. Dom built the benchtop, actually Dom built everything! We have all been very involved in the process.
Rachel: Everything came together really really well. Even the flower trike cart fits in with the theming. Everything has been sourced from different places, but it has all come together.
What does a typical day look like for you two?
Kylie: We don’t really have a typical day – our days are crazy!
Rachel: Kylie and Dom don’t really have a typical day, it just all rolls through.
I wouldn’t say we have a typical day JUST yet. But for example, Monday started in Sydney at the flower market, and then ended here – that was a big day. Some days are slower than others, some days we are absolutely running off our feet. We are doing a lot of simple market bunches, but we are getting a lot of people who want to experiment with their bunch and have an input into what goes in it – which is awesome.
The idea of the flower bar, really inspires people to hang around and choose what they want. Once the grocer is open the idea is that a customer will come in, put in their order for a bunch, do their groceries and then collect their bunch on their way out.
But back to your question regarding a a typical day – it’s hard to define. Flowers arrive, we unpack and make the store look amazing. At the moment it’s half a building site, but once the grocer opens I think it’s going to be a really bustling space.
What are some flower trends at the moment?
Rachel: I would say not just in retail floristry but in floristry in the larger sense, the trends would be installations. Everyone is all about the installations. Our Poachers Pantry installation, was incredible. People are looking for bigger things than what they used to for weddings.
In regards to retail floristry, I think people are finally moving away from boxed arrangements. We don’t really get any requests for those anymore. In terms of colour I think reds, pinks and rich colours are really popular. But in saying that, we are selling everything at the moment! Flower crowns are still around, but I’m really into the flower cuff!
Kylie: We are even brainstorming some sort of vegetable arrangement – something different. But watch this space.
Where do you see Barton Flower Bar heading in the future? What are your aspirations?
Dom: Other stores, with this same concept – flower bars with a grocer attached. The plan is to have a whole bunch of them!
Kylie: We just have to find a way to duplicate Rachel, to other spaces.
Rachel: We currently do our own deliveries, so we need to get a few more people on board. I think more stores for sure, and more staff. I also love weddings and events, so if I can be doing all that sort of stuff in Canberra, I’d be stoked too! I just want people to know that we’re a flower bar and we’re here and we’re doing retail and everything, but what we do is more than that too.
We are doing free delivery at the moment, in the ACT and Queanbeyan. We also have a cart that we take around the local area. We’ve covered social media, but we haven’t really done any other sort of marketing. Trevor the Trike – he will be out and about in full force very soon!
Thanks so much to Rachel and Kylie for welcoming me into their flower bar, I cannot wait to return.
All images were photographed by A Stylish Moment.
Do you know a fashionable Canberra local that has a story to tell? Contact me to chat! xx