Tami Hansen started her business Flowers by Tami from home nine years ago. Based in Otumoetai, Tami creates flower arrangements and bouquets for her online store, specialising in funeral/bereavement flowers, wedding flowers, large dried floral installations and dried bouquets/arrangements and style events.
“I was drawn to start my own business purely for the love of flowers,” she says. “The joy of seeing the smiles on peoples faces when receiving flowers and the freedom to create a life that I love.”
Like many businesses, Tami was closed during the Level 4 lockdown and found the process “quite traumatic”.
“It definitely affected my business directly in the short term, however I am super grateful the Government has helped small businesses to get through – that has been a godsend!”
It’s not just Tami who has been affected, with the whole global floral industry taking a hit.
“Many growers around the world are having to compost flowers every week, many have gone into receivership but there are still many staying afloat, our industry is going to look very different for quite some time.
“I don’t think people quite understand the many wheels in motion to get that flower into your vase at home, or even to get to the florist,” she explains. “It is a massive industry and the farmers all over the world will be losing their livelihoods. The American government actually props up the Columbian farmers to make it financially viable for them to grow roses instead of cocaine – will that relationship continue post COVID-19?”
“In New Zealand around 50% of the flowers we use are imported, so we are looking at not having these available to us for maybe at least a year! Weddings are going to look very different and we are going to have to get creative with what we can get from our NZ growers, and hopefully the supply will be able to service the demand.
“On the flip side we may have available to us the beautiful quality flowers that get exported overseas that we don’t normally get here in New Zealand – and I will be looking forward to an abundant peony season.”
The lockdown period hasn’t been all doom and gloom for Tami though, who saw it as an opportunity to reset, recalibrate and rest – “like really rest!”
“I had to distance myself from social media for some time in an attempt to feel the feelings. It was delightfully unearthing, there were many tears and ALL the emotions…..anger, irritation, guilt, sadness, grief, frustration and also taking on the collective feelings, the heaviness in my heart, the anxiety, whether we are aware of the feelings or not, trust me they are there!”
Now at Level 3, Tami looks forward to spreading joy with flowers again, through compliance with sanitisation and contactless deliveries.
“To diversify I have been creating dried flower arrangements and bouquets as a longer-lasting option and have them available on my website now. I also sell beautiful luxurious Turkish towels and terrarium gardens as other options outside of fresh flowers.”
Tami acknowledges getting back to business will be a process, and encourages everyone to support local – “Our small businesses are going to need the support of our community to get back up on our feet. Remember Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday May 10 and sending flowers has traditionally been a beautiful way to show your Mumma some love – let’s keep this one going!”
Tami would also like to say “thank you” to all the essential workers out there.
“While we’ve been in the comfort of our homes, some of us having a break, they will be needing some much needed rest once we are through this. We must remember to support these people too.
“If anything through the whole COVID-19 process, I hope that we have learnt that unity is our best way forward.”