Jessica Hartigan sums up her sought-after floral style as 'organic and unstructured with a touch of whimsy', but after chatting with the Kindred Floral founder about her blooming business passions and relaxing into new motherhood, we're thinking it's also an apt description of the woman herself...
Welcome to motherhood & congratulations on little Isabel. Are you still in the blissed-out space of cooing each time you lay eyes on her?
Yes, totally and I am not sure that will ever stop. Becoming a mother is such an amazing experience, watching her grow and change every day. I feel very lucky.
How would you sum up your transition into motherhood so far?
I would say in the grand scheme of things, pretty easy... I had a really fast, natural labour and, apart from a horrible case of mastitis at the start, I've been pretty blessed. Isabel is a really calm and happy baby and has slept through the night from around six weeks. We have the odd tough day, but then have to remind ourselves that that is every day for some parents.
The days seem so much faster in the company of new bubs, what’s the best part about your daily routine as a mum?
Yes, the days used to seem so long when I had an office job and now they fly! I would have to say my favourite time of the day is the morning when I roll over and see Isabel’s smiling face looking at me from her bassinet. I also just love hanging out with her, I feel so lucky to be able to spend this precious time with my girl.
How would you describe your childhood and how do you feel it will influence your parenting style with Isabel?
My parents were quite relaxed, so I think this has influenced me. I spent a lot of time at my parents' and their friends' parties, which was really fun, so I hope to still keep that life-baby balance as a parent.
As children, we'd always sit at the dining table for dinner and I definitely want to introduce this when Isabel is old enough as I think it is a really important way to learn communication.
You were a fashion accessories designer before branching-out into floristry. Since launching in 2014, Kindred Floral has quickly become one of the most loved bespoke floral destinations amongst Sydney-based brides. Looking back, were you nervous about a career change and starting your own business?
I look back now and don’t know what I was thinking! At the time, I didn’t give it much thought, it was just a natural progression. I lost the love of working in the fashion industry so I knew it was time for a change. I had always loved flowers so it made sense for to me to do a floristry course and pursue something I had a genuine love for. After my course, I booked a couple of wedding jobs through friends and from there – with the help of word of mouth and social media (thank goodness for Instagram) – it has just grown. I feel so lucky to be able to work in a field that I love and also have the flexibility of working for myself.
What was the defining moment that lead you to make the switch?
I worked for a fashion company that basically wanted 'blood'! During a time when my mum was in the hospital in ICU, I went into the office every day but one but I was still called into the boss's office and told I needed to work harder and wasn’t committed enough to the job. For me, that was it – it showed me that nothing was ever going to be enough for them so I resigned. Since changing career, I am also blessed to only surround myself with kind, genuine, lovely people.
With a successful business and a new bub, are you finding time for self-care? Do you have any rituals for keeping it all in check?
What self-care? Haha! It's tough, and I am lucky if I can get my nails done these days. Thankfully my partner is an amazing dad so he takes Isabel in the evening or on weekends if I need to pop out and take care of myself... but I have to say all of that is much less frequent than it used to be. I really want to start getting back into the gym, so that’s my focus at the moment.
Spending your days surrounded by fragrant blooms sounds so serene. Put us straight – glamorous or crazy chaotic?
Wedding floristry is tough, more for the long hours and short production timeframes! The 4am starts to get to the markets by 5am, then prepping and working on the flowers, which often takes you to 8pm that night. On the day of a wedding, I am generally up at dawn ribboning bouquets and working on flower crowns and corsages and any other styles that need to be made on the day. Once complete, it's a race to get all delivered to the bride and groom on time. Once that’s done, it’s the ceremony and reception setups. Depending on the venue, this can be super stressful as many have quite tight timeframes for this. After it's all done I’m so exhausted – it’s like running a marathon – but I'm so proud of the beauty that we create. After some rest, it’s either back at midnight or the next morning for the 'bump out'.
What’s been the best advice you’ve received since starting your own business?
Don’t be afraid to say no. Sometimes people come to you with no knowledge or respect of the work that goes into doing wedding flowers and they have unrealistic expectations versus their budget. Sometimes it’s best to just say no!
We imagine your home to be full of new fantastical arrangements week after week, is it true?
Sadly, no! After I finish a job, the last thing I want to see is a flower! I do love my garden, so I guess that’s how I get my floral fix at home.
We have to ask, what are your favourite blooms?
Favourite flowers for:
Bridal Bouquets: Roses, David Austin's, Peonies, Sweet Peas, Jasmine, Mock Orange, Lilac
Centrepieces: Roses, Smokebush Flower, Orchids, Hydrangea, Dahlias, Mock Orange, Jasmine
Pick-me-up posies: Roses, Gardenia, Sweet Peas, Lily-of-the-valley
Around the home: Roses, Gardenia, Tuberose. Oh and I have Phalaenopsis Orchids everywhere!
Image by Lillikad PhotographyHumour us, friends dropping by last minute, what’s your go-to quick meal?
I am not a natural cook at the best of times so I would recommend no one pops around without notice, but if they do, takeaway lol!Fortunate to spend your days in the tree-lined-terraced suburb of Paddington, tell us your favourite spots for:
Breakfast: Flat White Cafe, Jackies, Four Six Eight Cafe
Dinner dates with Neil: Tequila Mockingbird, Maeda, The Paddington, Chubby Cheeks
Lunch with the girls: Jackies, The Centennial, Chiswick
Me-time: Endota Spa
Image by Trent Daft Photography
Finally, before you return to your little pussycat as you affectionately call baby Isabel, can you share some tips with us amateurs? What blooms are the best around the home to create beautiful lasting floral displays!
Orchids are great as you can generally get a few weeks out of them, plus Roses, Hydrangea (spray petals with water regularly), Tulips. The key to longevity in flowers is keeping the water clean and trimming the stems every couple of days.
Follow Jess's gorgeous creations via @kindredfloral
Image by Thomas Stewart