Flower-arranging and beauty secrets from one of Sydney’s most stylish florists



Boutierre Girl’s Emily Smith is carrying the most exquisite bouquet of lilac roses. "I knew I wanted to be a florist for as long as I can remember. I have always adored flowers far more than your average person," she says...

Her own mother Julie also encouraged her love of nature. “My mother taught me to appreciate really beautiful gardens from a very young age. She has always worked really hard to maintain a beautiful garden,” says Smith, who is standing in her mother’s perfectly manicured garden. For Smith, her career as a floral artist blossomed organically. She suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome and took to baking cakes to pass the time. She ended up making cakes for friends’ weddings and parties, topping them with masses of artfully arranged flowers. Over time, she stopped baking cakes and began to focus on her real passion: flowers. In 2014, she started her business Boutierre Girls. ‘Bou’ is for bouquet, ‘Tier’ for tier and ‘Re’ simply “because it looks cool”. Smith is now one of Sydney’s most in-demand florists.

A career as a florist was always on the cards. When Smith was just five years old, she claimed a whole corner of her families large backyard garden as her own and named it ‘Flower Park’. “My childhood best friend lived next door. Together we spent every spare minute we had in it. Her mum is also the most incredible gardener I know to this day. I think she really inspired my mum to have a beautiful garden. I grew up surrounded by an abundance of flowers and incredibly well kept gardens. I still go and have a snoop of her garden whenever I am in the area,” she recalls.

Of course for busy florists like Smith, taking care of your hands is essential. Yet many of us are guilty of dedicating time and effort to our faces and neglecting our hands. “Hand cream makes everything better,” says Smith. “As a florist, my hands take a real beating. I get very embarrassed when they don’t look nice so I keep multiple hand creams in my van, handbag, bedside table and work studio. My mum always told me that you can really tell a person’s age by their hands and working with flowers and stripping roses can make your hands and nails look very unappealing. Rose thorns make your hands peel and turn very dry so I try and moisturise my hands throughout the day. After a big job, they take a good few days to recover.”

Whether you’re a florist or not, every woman needs a collection of nourishing hand creams in her beauty cupboard. Need a helping hand? Jurlique have just re-launched their entire hand cream range. The inspiration behind their famous hand creams came from the garden and the brand’s co-founder, Ulrike Klein who has always believed in the nurturing power of nature. Just like Smith, after hours spent working in nature (in Klein’s case, the soil at the Jurlique farm in the Adelaide Hills), she found that her hands were often very dry. So she decided to develop a hand cream that would soften and hydrate them. The result was the brand’s now-iconic Rose Hand Cream, which is rich in rose extracts and their exclusive biodynamic blend of potent farm ingredients. Over time, lavender, jasmine and citrus versions of this luxurious hand cream have been added to the range, each with their own unique and emotionally soothing scent. Every one of their hand creams contains a rich blend of potent herbs such as chamomile, sweet violet and rose, all of which are grown and extracted at the Jurlique farm.

With roses on the mind, we caught up with the gorgeous Smith who was fresh from the flower markets and surrounded by bright blooms and found out more her flower arranging secrets and what the life of a florist is like…

Photography: Julie Adams


When I wake up…

I turn off my 36 alarms, pull on my work clothes and jump in my van at 4am. If it’s not a market morning, I am always up early regardless. I am most productive first thing in the morning!


Before I go to bed....

I like to read for a couple of hours to unwind with a peppermint tea and my cat. I often go for a walk just before bed to help me sleep, even if it’s just a few laps of the block. It’s really hard to unwind and relax after a big job.


Women should always…

Wear perfume. It’s important to always smell delicious. I am really loving perfumes with wooden or leather accents at the moment.


The best thing that's been said to me…

The other day my one of my girlfriend’s gorgeous daughters asked me if I was a princess because I have such beautiful long hair.


The biggest misconception about me is…

That my days are spent arranging gorgeous flowers. This is the best part of my job and the reason why I work so hard, however in reality I spend 90% of my week behind a computer, driving to and from jobs and meetings, accounting, quoting, cleaning and planning. It’s really hard work. It’s not always glamorous, but we do it for the love of flowers.


If I weren't doing what I'm doing today…

I would be at UNSW studying medical science and coaching artistic gymnastics.


I’d describe Boutierre Girls as…

Youthful and vibrant, filled with elegance and romance. I always try and keep things fresh and a bit different. I like to work with palettes and styles that are currently trending. I really try to focus on always buying the most beautiful flowers available and working with colour palettes that compliment the current season.


The ingredients of a great floral arrangement are…

Roses, always. I like to work with a hero flower as my main focal point and then incorporate fillers that compliment them through different colours and textures along with a small amount of foliage. I really love foliage but I tend to go heavier on the flowers if I can!


My favourite blooms are…

It changes on a daily basis. Usually whatever flower I am currently holding in my hand is my favourite. Nude coloured roses are an all time favourite (I call the colour quicksand), and I love black hellebores.


A great idea is…

To really take advantage of flowers that are in season. Not only do they have a much longer vase life, there are so many beautiful locally grown flowers that are only available just 4-6 weeks of the year. I really look forward to the seasons changing for this reason. There is always an upcoming flower to be excited about. The local growers are also such beautiful people that really take pride in their farms also.


My mother taught me…

To appreciate really beautiful gardens from a very young age. She has always worked really hard to maintain a beautiful garden. If you’re a passionate gardener, or have had a crack at it, you’ll know how hard and time consuming it is. It’s a real art to have a beautiful flowering garden all year round. I will always take the time to appreciate a beautiful garden. I will always pull over while driving to admire a really beautiful garden, and regularly drive past beautiful houses and gardens I have found.


The soundtrack of my life is…

Tough Love by Jessie Ware. I am constantly listening to music from Enya to Drake. Anything with a good beat and entertaining lyrics, I’m there. You will more than often find me serenading a flower.


Happiness is…

The adoration of creation. Each and every plant and flower is truly amazing if you take a close look at it. It’s like each and every tiny detail has been very carefully thought out.


In my fashion cupboard you’ll find…

A lot of black, white and grey, boots and jackets. I don’t wear much colour. I don’t like to clash with my flowers! I have always been a huge lover of fashion, I love that my job allows me to work with a lot of my favourite brands and designers, however my job really restricts what I can wear which I find hard. As a lady tradie I still like to look nice. I live in jeans, T-shirt and boots. I like to splurge on designer boots and jackets that I can wear while working to look nice.


Today I’m wearing…

A Bec & Bridge shirt with black J Brand jeans and my Burberry biker boots.


The last meal I ate was…

Rice paper rolls at Miss Chu.


My beauty routine consists of…

Cleansing, toning and moisturising my face every morning and night. I don’t wear any makeup other than mascara most days, or I’ll wear a tinted moisturiser with SPF.


I relax by…

Getting my nails and hair done, going for long walks with beautiful scenery, by water, through parks or often in the Blue Mountains. I love spending time by myself. If I don’t get a good few hours every day I get very exhausted.


I get stressed when…

Preparing wedding flowers. It’s also my favourite part of the job. It’s so rewarding creating beautiful flowers for a bride and her family. I really feel the pressure to make sure everything is perfect on the day and exactly as the bride envisioned. For me it’s everyday work, but for a bride it’s their one big day that they have been planning for months and months. It’s so important for this reason that I only take on weddings that really speak my language and that bring me a lot of pleasure to create.


I procrastinate by…

Taking photos of amazing flowers. We always joke about how much time we spend getting lost in a single flower. I will be mid-arrangement and often stop or ‘have a break’ to try and capture the flower I am currently holding to send a photo to another florist friend, because they get it or are more than likely doing the exact same thing.


After I finish writing this...

I’m going to head back into my studio and work right through the night on tomorrow’s wedding. One of the perks of working with perishables is having everything completed in a very small time frame.


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