Advertising-executive-turned-florist Jane Schofield knows a thing or two about styling beautiful blooms. Her newly launched online flower market Think Flowers Company focuses on the beauty of single variety flowers. Picture a mass of peonies wrapped in chic white paper embossed with the brands classic logo, and tied with elegant black ribbon. From stylish gifts to flowers for your own home, its basically like the Net-A-Porter of flower markets (although far more affordable – delivery is as low as $5). For me, a great arrangement consists of simplicity. I dont like seeing flowers being overwhelmed by too many varieties and colours, says Schofield.
Its this understated elegance that inspired her blossoming new venture: TFC is focussed on providing beautiful single variety bunches of flowers. This enables clients to add their own personal touches to flowers in their home, office or for their occasion. If you love one type of flower, TFC enables easy access of purchasing these flowers for yourself, or as a gift for someone who appreciates this variety. Its less about imposing a florists style and more about enabling people to express themselves with their floral choices, says the Sydney-based mother.
It was a brave move for Schofield who left an established career in magazines, which she’d built up over the last decade. But like a lot of mothers, she craved more flexibility after the birth of her daughter Chloe, now 18 months. She resigned on a Monday with no other job prospects and then had the idea to become a florist on the Thursday morning. “The decision to be an online flower market was made that night. On Friday morning I registered a business name and web domain,” she remembers.
She had a clear vision from the outset: I wanted it to feel like the first page in a novel. I wanted to give people the first page (their single variety flowers) and let them tell their stories by styling in their own individual way. The business has taken three months to get off the ground, but we are officially launched and its been one of the best achievements of my life so far. Schofield has also launched an inspiring TFC Style Book, an editorial style online book which profiles various women and how they have styled her blooms in their own space.
The studio of Think Flowers Company is filled with masses of heavenly blooms from peonies to carnations in a variety of hues. Schofields stylish touch is everywhere, from the ornaments on her desk to the beautifully displayed artwork. We were thrilled to catch up with the talented mother to find out more about her budding business
What has motherhood taught you so far?
Im learning new things all the time, but the biggest lesson Ive learned so far is to value time. Whether its the time I have to work, to play with Chloe or chat with my husband, time always feels so limited. Ive realised that how we spend our time is always our own personal decision. You cant blame someone else for missing out on time with your child, family or friends. Its always your choice.
What advice would you give to your own children when they grow up on finding your career path?
Work hard and be true to yourself.
Whats the best advice youve ever been given about motherhood?
Little people = little problems. Big people = big problems. Puts everything into perspective when youre worried about sleep or teething. Eventually it all gets worked out and youll find the next thing to worry about!
What do you love most about what you do?
I love the flexibility of being my own boss and seeing the results of building my own brand. Ive been asked to work on a variety of projects and have loved each creative challenge.
What makes a great floral arrangement?
When Im pulling together a floral arrangement, I choose the vessels first and then add the flowers. Its all about bringing together colour combinations or a play on proportions much like choosing an outfit to wear. My love of fashion over the years has deeply influenced how I work with flowers.
Can you tell us about your background?
Id been working in advertising for magazines over the last 11 years (including a short stint within the arts) and climbed the career ladder year after year. I had worked on some beautiful fashion brands and met some of the most driven, creative and talented people I can now call friends. Over one weekend, I watched my cousin open a medical practice with her husband (they are both GPs). They had a ribbon cutting ceremony and thanked everyone for coming to the opening and watching them fulfil their dreams. It was in that moment I realised I didnt know what my dream was anymore. I had enjoyed my time in mags, but didnt feel the same passion anymore. Shortly after TFC was born!
Did your career change at all after the birth of your child?
Yes absolutely. I was no longer able to work crazy hours, answer emails at all times or socialise without impact on my home life. I felt so limited all of the time between my magazine job, family and friends and expressed my anger a lot. It was time to change from being frustrated all the time, to someone more in control of the choices I had made in life.
What are your tips for achieving balance?
Despite priding myself on being organised, Ive been known to have moments of extreme stress and crying over the phone to my mother about feeling like a failure at everything. Having a good support network to have a cry or vent helps ease some of the pressure, put things into perspective, pick yourself up and keep going. Its good to be honest when youre not coping, as opposed to upholding yourself to impossible standards of perfection.
How do you juggle your work commitments with being a mother?
We take things day by day. Peter handles the mornings and I do the afternoon routine. We do bath time together most nights. Its definitely not perfect or as simple as that, but we try our very best.
What do you love/dislike about working from home?
I love working at my own pace and being nimble to execute and implement new ideas. I dont like feeling so housebound, which is why I try to spend as much time as possible within the studio so it feels like Im at a workplace. Its hard to distance yourself from house responsibilities. Sometimes the vacuuming encroaches on my workday and I have to stop myself. You need to have clear house/work priorities and boundaries.
What kind of work do you need to do in a day?
Its usually an early trip to the markets, a couple of hours cleaning and prepping blooms for sale, fulfilling orders, coming up with content ideas, liaising with photographers and talent, and sometimes delivering flowers myself.
How do you procrastinate?
Making endless cups of tea and getting lost trawling Instagram.
And how do you focus?
Keep a clear to-do list with daily and weekly goals. During the initial planning stages of the business, I prepared a timeline with monthly goals, and then started breaking this down week to week. It also meant that my husband and creative team were also on the same page with what needed to be done. Having clear goals with projected outcomes meant we were focused on launching the business and website on time.
Whats the most challenging part of running your own business?
Its hard to say no. You want to do every job however, its not always feasible or right for the brand.
What are your tips on how to run a successful business?
Know who you are as a brand or service. Before I launched, a lot of people came to me with ideas on what I could do and opportunities with great intentions, but its important to stick to the plan and execute the business as per your vision. Remember, its your business and your brand. This doesnt mean not to take any advice! Do form a network of people with varying levels of experience in business to help steer you when you need it, or when its absolutely logical. Dont change something just because someone suggests it.
What about your desk essentials?
Mybkr glass water bottles (I have four!), Limoges teacup, Rifle & Co notebooks and Mont Blanc pen. I look up to a couple of framed prints on my wall nice reminders of why I left the magazine world to do what I do.
What makes a great Instagram image?
This is a tough question. Im sure there are formulas for very successful/engaging Instagram posts, however, I find images that are a bit more personal and a view into my processes of launching a brand definitely get the most traction. Readers like to follow a journey and a huge part of the TFC brand is our story telling aspects.
So far whats the hardest and best part of being a mother?
The hardest part is not always being available when Chloe needs me its a knife in the heart. Knowing that time is so limited makes missing any moments really hard. The best part is the sense of purpose, the cuddles, watching her grow, and getting to know her strong-willed personality. I call her a monster out of affection. Ive completely met my match.
Which are your favourite childrenswear brands?
Im a huge fan of Printebebe, Atelier/Child, Country Road, Petit Bateau and Polo Ralph Lauren.
What is your uniform what clothes do you live in day-to-day?
J Crew cashmere jumper or tee, ripped jeans and Nikes.
What are your work fashion essentials?
I love a good jacket, tee and leather pants. I finish the outfit with my signature pair of Kenzo sunnies and an Hermes cuff.
What handbag do you use day-to-day?
Im actually not a handbag person and would be so happy not to carry one, ever. Most of the time I throw my things into Chloes backpack or in my pockets.
Whats your favourite part of the day?
I love my early morning drive back from the markets. Its quiet and my day feels like its beginning for the second time. I start to get really excited about the flowers Ive purchased. Another favourite part is pick up from daycare, when Chloe sees me with the hugest smile and runs over for a cuddle. I also cant forget when Chloe has just gone to bed and I get to enjoy a big glass of red with my husband.
Photography: Grace Alyssa Kyo Words: Georgie Abay