Laura Leong - The UK's InterFlora World Cup Wonder
As many of you may know, Laura Leong is a brilliantly talented florist. In fact so brilliant that she is to represent the United Kingdom at the InterFlora World Cup, held this year in the USA. We are happy to help Laura by sponsoring product for the preparation and execution of her design. We are so excited to see what she creates and wish her all the luck in the world. Laura is due to fly to the USA at the end of February so before she went we got the chance to ask her some questions. Read on to learn more about how Laura feels about the competition and floristy as a whole.
- Just for anyone that may not know you, could you please give us a brief introduction as to how you became a florist and how long you have been one now?
Ages! I started early on in a flower shop full time and went to college one day a week . At the age of eighteen when I started so nearly thirty years ago . I went on to study more as time passed and I worked in diverse shops in my local area. Each with their own specialism. I also went on to be a teacher of both fine art and floristry after university.
- In 2015 you told us Tage Anderson is someone you would love to work with, has this opportunity ever happened?
Sadly not but to be honest it would be the equivalent of finding a rainbow coloured unicorn in terms of how likely it would be! I have been in his shop and seen him working but he is a mysterious person who seems to belong to another era. Most intriguing and fascinating!
- If you could work with anybody, who would it be?
I think maybe Juonni Seppanen , because I have never met him and I would have liked to have studied with him. He is very much a master of bridal floristry.
- How does being part of the most prestigious floral event feel?
It’s quite a lot of sleepless nights! But good. It’s an honour of course to be there.
- What made you decide to compete? Has it been a dream for a while?
I have competed for many years so to do this is a logical conclusion to that journey.
- How hard has the process been?
It is of course a very big challenge. The competition being in America throws up some unique challenges though as import restrictions are stringent with many items not allowed in.
- Have your ideas/designs run smoothly so far?
Rarely are these things plain sailing, the design process does mean that the designs evolve and change a little over time and of course the materials restrictions have to be considered. It’s been a lot to do in a short space of time!
[caption id="attachment_12063" align="alignnone" width="512"] Laura Leong with her qualifying design for the InterFlora World Cup.[/caption]
- Now I know you can’t give much away about the design, but do you feel you have tried new techniques?
I certainly have learned a lot, within the making processes. I have taught myself two new skills and processes, but I can’t say much about it.
- Who do you feel is your biggest competition at the InterFlora World Cup Final?
I respect all the designers represented,we are diverse but each with their own strengths.
- What is it about competing you are so drawn towards?
I think it is the creative process as it allows for a much greater range of expression than in retail floristry so it fulfills that need for me.
- What is your current main source of inspiration?
I think in this case it is be conceptual, in each case relating the specific schedule.
- What do you think is your signature design or style is?
I am fairly eclectic but I tend toward details and craftsmanship is important.
- Can you tell me a funny story from working a job?
I once made a bouquet so huge I jokingly asked the man ordering it to pay for a session with an osteopath as it was so heavy I turned it on my shoulder. He left a big tip and I bought us all a round of pizzas and wine instead.
- With you being an entrant for the InterFlora World Cup proving as such a huge achievement, what would be your next big adventure?
It would have to be a completely different type of challenge. Probably something outside of floristry. I don’t know yet!
- Do you think you could ever retire from floristry like others may retire from their job?
Not really, I think I will always be involved in some way.
- Some people do floristry as a side job/hobby, with it being your main one, do you have time for a side job/hobby, or is there something you would really wish to try out?
I don’t have much time for hobbies. I like learning allied crafts. So I think my next manoeuvre is to tackle getting better at welding, I just bought a new one.
- Is there anything you would of done differently through your career?
I was pretty lucky to meet the people I have. I would probably have done nothing very much differently.
- What is your biggest hope for the florist industry?
I would wish for florists to be appreciated as skilled craftspeople and designers who often have to be an expert at every aspect of running a small business plus they are subject specialists . The florists value and knowledge is far above that of the flower seller or multiple retailer. I hope that the public can appreciate the differences and support their local florists. The high street would be poorer without them.
To read more about the InterFlora World Cup, how many times the UK has won and about Laura herself, click HERE!
Follow Laura or contact her via her business Facebook page HERE!
Thank you Laura for speaking with us and wish you all the best within the competition. Good Luck Laura!