McQueens is, and always has been, an international brand collaborating with clients, teaching students and working with creative florists from all over the globe. Among our happy band of 50, we are proud to boast an impressive representative of many nations from all over the globe, and this is the secret to the success of our story. Like most great businesses, we have the long-serving stalwarts, with humped-backs and claw-like hands due to decades of dedicated service to flowers, but we have also been fortunate to have wonderful, charming and creative characters that have passed through our doors for a shorter time as they set off for their own adventures in the wonderful world of flowers. Social media allows us to keep up to date with many of our florist friends from around the world, and our dear friend Larissa Hrstic, based in Canberra Australia, is a brilliant florist who dazzles on Instagram with her fabulous brand, personality and passion for flowers. We caught up with Larissa recently whilst she was in London to find out about life and her work with flowers.
How did your passion for flowers start?
I never knew what I wanted to be, but always had a passion for creative crafts and nature. I fell into working with flowers when I was 15 after doing some work experience, and over the years built my way up to some of the biggest florist shops in Canberra, the capital of Australia. I was fortunate enough to freelance in London for 2 years, gathering inspiring friends and a variety of knowledge and ideas. Once I moved back home to Australia, Lady Larissa grew organically from my Instagram name. I deleted personal photos and turned the focus to florals. My bachelor of arts in Graphic Design allowed me to manage the brand (designing the website, advertisements, business cards, social media) and Lady Larissa is now a fully operational floristry-based studio in Canberra, Australia and I am loving the challenge that each day brings.
How do you remember your time with McQueens?
My time at McQueens was priceless. I got to experience everything, from creating high-end retail floristry within the shop, to assisting on large-scale events and weddings all over London. Although the floristry style is more refined and structured than my own, I learned certain techniques and floral base mechanics to hold such incredible structures and installations. The late nights working away like Christmas elves, seeing the students from McQueens school beam when you show them something new, lighting up Christmas for some of the biggest, most prestigious hotels in the world, to seeing the abundant varieties of blooms that would often be delivered straight to their doorstep from Holland – it was the experience of a lifetime. The people along the way really made the place what it is today; everyone plays an important role in making the wheels spin, 24 hours a day (and often through the night) creating the most gorgeous florals.
What is your personal style with flowers?
I like my flowers to look wild and free, which I also believe reflects my true personality. I work with nature and am often inspired by what’s in season, including fruits and foraged foliage. I would describe my style of floristry as rambling and romantic, with an Australian and English influence.
I always seek to create new and beautiful published photographed works because flowers are a perishable product. But I suppose that’s what makes them more beautiful because flowers don’t last forever.
How was the experience of establishing your own business in Canberra?
Its been very exciting. I have been fortunate to work with and collaborate with lots of creative people. Lady Larissa was driven by the love of florals and the work has just followed us. I started small and the business has grown and continues to evolve. We seek to create unique floral experiences through events, weddings or workshops and I love the variety that this brings. We also like to collaborate with other small businesses whose brands align with our own, from fashion, foodies and photographers.
What are your plans for the future?
I am really enjoying developing my business and I love the organic growth, so I hope to continue to explore new opportunities. Things move and change with the tides, I have an idea it comes and goes, but business is constantly on the up. It’s my baby and I am so passionate about flowers and I’m so excited to share the journey.
Find out more about Lady Larissa: