Florist Spotlight is a segment on Rose Stories dedicated to highlighting floral designers and artists who outdo themselves every day creating works of art with Rosaprima roses. Alexandra Thanopoulos is a 27-year-old florist from Montreal, Quebec. The first florist from Canada featured in our spotlight, Alex shines a light on her inspiration and love of flowers.
What was your inspiration for becoming a florist?
It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to become a florist. Some of my earliest fun memories are going on walks with my Yia-yia (Greek for grandmother). I remember always being impressed and fascinated with her vast knowledge and skill when it came to plants. Our home had a beautiful garden, and as children, we would pick wildflowers to press and forage berries on my great grandma’s property for fun. In school, I excelled in creative classes, so I always knew whatever I ended up doing in life would be something creative, beautiful, and just something that would make people happy.
What is the origin of your boutique’s name?
Fleur Sauvage, or wildflower in English, comes from one of my favorite songs called “Wildflowers” by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harrys, and Linda Ronstadt. The meaning of the song resonates with me. The way I interpret it is to remain true to myself as someone who constantly seeks stimulation, change, and excitement. I often feel I don’t fit in, and the lyrics remind me to have faith that I would inevitably end up wherever it is that I’m meant to be.
How do flowers shape your perspective on the world around you?
Flowers are captivating. You could buy a hundred stems of the same flower, but when you look at them closely, we learn that they are all individually unique, just like people. And nothing excites me more as a florist than a crazy colored guard petal on a rose or one rose in the pack with variegated leaves. I’ll never forget the one time I came across a Carnation, and each half was a completely different color, it was so exciting!
Flowers remind us that although uniformity is beautiful, so is individuality. It shows us that there’s beauty in everything.
Why is it important for you to innovate in floral design and make arrangements that stand out?
My motivation is driven by the need to become a more sustainable industry. A lot is already changing, but there still is a long way to go, from floral foam, farming ethics, the cleaners we use, and how we chose to handle our waste management. Those are the things that drive me to be more innovative to make positive changes.
When it comes to design work, my main focus is not to stand out necessarily, I’m most concerned with being my authentic self. Floristry is, for me, an art medium and being true to my vision is what gets me to excel as a designer.
Why do you choose to work with Rosaprima roses?
Aside from Rosaprima’s high standard for excellence, detail, and passion for beauty, I think it’s important to support businesses you agree with morally and respect. I appreciate Rosaprima’s consistency. Through 1995, you have always trusted the importance of maintaining a sustainable land, being community-oriented and having gender equality initiatives; all things I feel strongly about myself. Not to mention, your certifications like Rainforest Alliance and the FloraEcuador.
If any, which variety is your favorite?
It’s a hard question! So much to choose from. At the moment I would go with Effie because it’s the dreamiest rose. If I close my eyes and imagine the perfect rose, from color to scent to texture, for me, it’s Effie. I have looked forward to working with RP Copper Kiss because I’m a big fan of yellows. I also love Wasabi and Free Spirit. All your roses are stunning!
What makes the perfect floral arrangement?
Greens! All these years I’ve been told to minimize greens when designing and I don’t agree with that. It’s easy to overlook the foliage in a design, but they offer so many textures. I feel they play a large role in the aesthetic of an abundant arrangement.
How does a social media presence affect your business as a florist?
My presence on social media has helped me grow my brand and opened many opportunities, such as this one. I have received contract work and also awesome contacts. The majority of my Fleur Sauvage orders come from Instagram. It works almost as a public portfolio for me. Self-promoting can be extremely difficult, and through social media, I aspire to continue to be well respected and admired in the floral community on a global scale.
What impact do you feel roses (and flowers in general) have on your mental health?
Mental health is an important topic to me, as someone with their own struggles with anxiety and depression. We give flowers when someone is ill or grieving, but we also give those same flowers for newborn babies, birthdays, weddings, and to say I’m thinking of you. The reason we give flowers in such a wide way is that giving flowers is just spreading love. Being a floral designer is rewarding to no end. I feel blessed with my talents, and I’m very grateful for what I do.
Alex also hosted our very first Instagram Stories Florist Spotlight, for a deeper insight into her work and mind as a floral designer! We are absolutely grateful for this unique collaboration.