ROAR: We never knew plants could be used to create art!? After following you and Octopus Garden it's clear plant art exists! Tell us how your creativity took you to where you are today?
OG: Even before Elythea and I met, we always loved plants and flowers. Both creatively driven, it was so nice to pair up and motivate one another. We are both so different in our art/technique, we are constantly sharing, inspiring and pushing one another. Elythea loves the BIG projects, she is never intimidated by a large scale. I have learnt to take on bigger pieces and be excited about them. From me, Elythea may have learnt a bit more of the finer techniques and between the two of us, it makes sense. So I believe where we are today has been a collaboration of two passionate people whiling to share and learn from each other.
ROAR: We love Octopus garden and when ever we are at Long Jetty we always drop in to say hi and see what you legends are up too. Who is involved and how did the brand come to life?
OG: Elythea and I (Lauren) are both owners/creative directors, started the Octopus’ Garden as a pop up and market stall. With an overwhelming response for events and weddings, Elythea invited me to partner up with her (I have never looked back).
The little A frame we get creative in now, came up for lease and I literally took the biggest risk of my life with Elythea. We worked so hard, together to create a beautiful space that would welcome, encourage and inspire people. I feel like Elythea and I have grown together as a team and the Octopus has rapidly grown with us.
ROAR: Who would be the main people or groups that purchase your goods and what other programs do you have going on that people can be a part of?
OG: The Octopus really does seem to attract all types of people off all ages, plants are welcoming. We do a lot of weddings, events, deliveries from the shop and workshops/private parties. The space is a really encouraging place to learn and enjoy creating. Elythea and I really enjoy running workshops and showing people what they are capable of making in a really fun and relaxed environment.
ROAR: We loved it when you told us about heading to the markets in Sydney and exploring all things flora! Take us through a day at the markets!
OG: We wake up at around 4am, on an ideal morning, Elyhtea and I will drive together. We have a few favourite suppliers that we go to as soon as we arrive. We get our greenery, natives and seasonal flowers, pick up any pre orders, go to the wholesaler for any vases, wires or wrapping that we need. After that if we have time, we do love a little leisure lap where we can just slowly walk through and take a little extra time to notice anything weird or things that we haven’t seen before. There are some smaller growers that can be easily looked over in a rush while we carry big boxes or piles of flowers, so it is nice if we get the time to by those little extra bunches that give our shop and bunches that something different. There is also comic value to appreciate while taking laps through the market, growers bargaining and yelling at each other, cheeky remarks from people probably trying to pass time (or they are going slightly crazy from being there since 1am!!) The place can be absolute manic during peak hour and it is honestly one of our favourite times of the week.
Whether we have time or not, we never leave without grabbing a tea or coffee for the drive home, where we debrief and plan for the day and/or week ahead. I personally feel that these trips have been some of the nicest bonding times for Elythea and I, on both a professional and friendship level.
ROAR: What are some challenges of running a business such as Octopus Garden and what are some highlights and achievements you guys are stoked on?
OG: Challenges are the same as any small business I guess, everything falls back on Elythea and I, sometimes waking up and feeling like you have had 3 hours sleep for the whole week. Sometimes making designs that aren’t usually our style, things like that. However, the good is all so much more than just worth it. Our work has been on the cover of two big bridal magazines, more weddings and workshops than we could have ever imagined. We get to fill our space with new amazing florals all the time, people trust us with their wedding florals, we get to be a part of some of the most emotionally charged occasions that people will experience, we are there to help people celebrate life and love, we can help people say "thank you" or "sorry". We get to work with some of the finest materials that Mother Nature has to offer.
ROAR: In one sentence give us your best advice for life!?
OG: Do what you love, do it well and share it with the world.