Hi Anouk, we know each other from a 1 on 1 photography coaching session with me some time ago. Can you tell the readers who you are and what you do?
Hi Lucie, yes what a great day that was! It was the moment when I decided to continue with my paper flowers and had a coaching session with you for my birthday. It turned out to be a golden start for my company!
I am Anouk, 34 years old and I live in the South of the Netherlands. I have been doing business with my paper flowers for two years now. I make these completely by hand, so that each flower is truly unique. During our coaching session I learned from you that my feed really should be like a business card and I learned all kinds of techniques from you, I am very happy with that to this day!
How did you start with that?
Before this company I already had my own company, but I had to stop because of physical complaints. Really intensely sad I came home and I didn’t know what to do, I was in a lot of pain, but my head wanted to go on.
I happened to read an article about paper flowers and decided to order some paper and get started. Because even though I was in pain, my hands could do this, even when I was lying on the couch. I decided to share my work on Instagram and the response was so great that it gave me more motivation to continue.
The support I felt online gave me confidence in myself again and decided to make it my business.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Of course from nature, wonderfully walk through the forest or an open field and you see so many beautiful things around you. But I also get a lot of inspiration from photos of others. Whether it concerns interior or food photos, I always look at the atmosphere it radiates and at the color combinations, which I use in my flowers.
Would you like to improve your product photography?
When do you get into a flow?
When I completely study a new flower and try to imitate it. Hours of looking at photos and discovering how a flower is built, then I forget the time around me and I make the first drafts for new flowers while researching.
How often do you blog?
Far too little, often I think; what do I actually have to say? But it turns out that people love to see and read how I make a flower, so I really should do this a lot more often
You recently opened a real store in addition to your webshop?
Yes, a super unexpected move! I live in a simple, small house and my flower adventure just got bigger and bigger. So I even had to sleep in the smallest room with my husband, because otherwise the shipping boxes wouldn’t fit into the house.
That was really crazy! Initially I wanted to renovate the attic, but almost every day I cycled past a building in my village that was for rent. I decided to call and I was instantly sold! Actually I only wanted to work there, but when there are two beautiful shop windows, well then it starts to itch. So that’s why we started a physical store, three days a week, and the other days by appointment. So that more people can see my flowers in real life.
You also have an online course through Ariadne at Home; how cool! How did this come about?
Yes, that’s crazy! Actually very spontaneous. My flowers had already been in the Ariadne a number of times and they started with the idea of DIY packages. Coincidentally, I was just launching this idea, so I thought it would be a great time to put this together. And now a package is available exclusively through the Ariadne, with another one to follow in the spring.
What is your revenue model? Do you prefer offline or online sales?
My revenue model is really my flowers. Where at the start I thought I would mainly sell cards, the demand for my flowers turned out to be much greater. So I have already been able to make flowers for the coolest projects and my work is even in a museum in Canada and France. I don’t have a clear preference, for larger projects I do like to actually talk to a customer in real life first. But due to Covid, this became increasingly difficult. But it turns out that it is also possible to discuss this online and the result will be just as beautiful.
Do you take your pictures yourself and if so with what kind of camera?
Yes, I take all my photos myself. I’ve thought about outsourcing that, but I’m having so much fun doing it myself! I take pictures with a basic Canon SLR camera. I have all kinds of lenses for this and I always try to capture my flowers as beautifully as possible. I do hope to purchase a better camera in a while, but then it will take some time to decide whether I will stick with this type of camera or whether I will purchase another type.
What is your goal in 1 year?
My goal is that in one year my shop will have enogh profit in three days per week so I have more freedom with my flowers. In this way I can also schedule more time to study new species and make more free work. I also hope to have finished my idea to publish my own book about paper flowers. And that my stationery line with flower patterns is running very well. Yes, this sounds about perfect to me. I’m going to write it all down in my diary and work hard for this next year! Because I learned this from you Lucie: you have to say what you want so that you will achieve it!