Meet the incredible woman responsible for the beautiful flower fields as seen in our latest campaign, Wild Flower.
Jess is the owner and operator of Byron based sustainable florist and flower farm, Poppy & Fern - she's also a mum and an amazing human, read her story below...
Has the call of flowers always been strong?
Yes looking back there are so many different moments in my life that have lead me on this journey, Growing up I would create art using bits and pieces I would collect out on the garden, I would pick bunches of flowers to give to friends and I designed, dug up and grew my first flower Garden at my mum and dads place before I was 10. In high school I did work experience in my local florist shop and then never looked back. I’m still completely in love with flowers and I fall in love with them over and over.
What was the catalyst for transform your already successful floristry business to a sustainable model?
Sustainability was something that was always really important to me in my personal and home life yet not something I had ever explored in my business. I was taught a very traditional floristry style and it was not something that was ever talked about or even questioned in the industry at the time, it was just the way it was done. About 6 years ago I got to the point where I just couldn’t turn a blind eye anymore, I was ashamed by the amount waste I was creating and that I was using products (floral foam) that I knew where bad for the environment. So I started asking questions and searching for another way.
What’s been the biggest challenge in owning your own flower farm?
There has been a few, but the biggest thing is planning, being organised and thinking 2 seasons in advance. Also a big thing for me has been coming to terms with the fact that I can’t do every single job myself, I have an amazing team so letting go and handing over some of the jobs to them.
How are you working towards a zero-waste future?
This is something we are very passionate about as a team and something we work really hard on. For us atm our goal is not to be zero waste but to minimise waste by using the simple technique of Reduce, reuse, recycle. We reduce the use of any single use plastics and don’t use products like floral foam when we are designing. We reuse all our vases and vessels and ask customers or our students to bring their own buckets to take flowers home in. We also reuse water from vases to water our plants. We recycle all our cardboard, paper and all our green waste (stem cuttings, old flowers) in our garden beds and creating our own compost to feed the soil. This is an ongoing process for us and we are always looking at ways we can improve.
Having studied and practiced permaculture, what’s been the most beautiful lesson that’s change your life?
How important community is. Years ago I thought I wanted to be completely self-sufficient and not rely on anyone else for anything but what I’ve learnt is I actually want to be part of a community that is working towards a better future as part of a team.
Where does your creative inspiration come from?
I find inspiration in nature, sometimes its going for a walk, it could be at the beach or in our flower field. I love colour and will often start with a colour palette in mind and design everything around that.
You’re a business owner and mum; when you’re not in the shed or field, what’s your favourite way to ground and connect?
The biggest thing for me is I need to disconnect to reconnect so turning off the phone or getting offline (even just a few hours a day if I can’t do a whole weekend) Spending time with my kids, being in the ocean or in our veggie garden anything outside being barefoot with sunshine on our skin. I also try to take 10-15 mins of quiet time for myself every single day. I close my eyes down, breath and recharge.
Describe the power of a flower.
Real Flowers (organically grown in soil with love and care) have an amazing healing energy, they can transport us back to our grandmas garden or remind us of a special time in our life.
If you have to pick, what’s your all-time favourite wildflower?
I get this question all the time and choosing my favourite flower would be like choosing my favourite child. I have different flowers obsessions throughout the seasons. I may be biased by I just love every flower that we grow in our field. You know the feeling mothers have towards their babies after they give birth, I get that every single time I harvest our flowers.
What is happiness to you?
Sunshine, fresh air, flowers, loved ones
Poppy & Fern is a sustainable florist operating at The Farm, Byron Bay.
For your daily dose of floral inspo follow Jess on Insta @poppyandfernflowers