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The Life of a Fabulous Florist

9th July 2014

The Sunshine Coast wedding industry revolves around an event in peoples’ lives that is a longtime dream, then a beautiful crescendo of a reality for but a single day, then a memory that lasts a lifetime. As business owners in this industry, we feel incredibly fortunate to be inspired by what we do every single day, working alongside professionals that never cease to amaze us. We are faced with the most inspiring people we call our colleagues, who are making dreams into reality daily, and I have to say, they are a darn impressive bunch! 

None more so than Terrianne Foale, who runs one of the Sunshine Coast’s most successful wedding businesses, Mondo Floral Designs. Working each day with such delicacy, it’s no surprise to us that Terrianne has also navigated the delicate balance of busniess with finesse to create a name for herself that commands respect, and has done so for more than 20 years. 

We were so blown away when we learned of Terrianne’s journey to success, we asked this formidable woman all about it, so we could share her story with you today. 

Above image by First Class Wedding Photography

Terrianne, how did you get started in floristry?

After completing year 12, I started studying and needed to get a part-time job, I applied for a job as a junior florist at 17 years of age and was lucky enough to get the position in a busy Brisbane city florist. Six months after starting my job, ( much to my parents concern and may I say disgust!), I fell in love, not with a handsome potential partner, but with floristry, and I decided to stop studying and put my focus and passion into learning floral design.

Eighteen months later, at the tender age of eighteen,  I was given the opportunity to buy the business, which I committed to, and, as they say, the rest is history! It was the beginning of my career as not only a floral designer, but as a business owner, and I continued with a drive and crazy enthusiasm that seemed to just inspire me to grow and I know has now given me the skills and experience in not only floral design but business.

By the age of 25, I had three shops, two inner city florists and one suburban floral studio. While all of my friends were venturing overseas on exciting holidays, having romantic relationships and exploring the world, I was living and breathing flowers and learning how to manage a successful business.

What did you learn from your first year of being a business owner?

Like all 18 year olds who start something new, I found this new journey quite the learning curve, not only was I learning a trade, but I was learning business management the hard way… through the university of life, (as I like to call it), and my goodness it was a consuming world I decided to delve into, but I absolutely loved it.

I think my naivety certainly assisted me, as I didn’t get overwhelmed with the pressure – quite the opposite actually, I thrived on it! I loved meeting with corporate managers and business CEOs, I didn’t overthink it too much, and being surrounded by the corporate world I had the wonderful opportunity to approach these entities for their floral business. It gave me the confidence to grow as a person and as a business owner, and of course it was all about the balance, to make sure that being a creative designer was supported by a confident business plan and that this all combined in a wonderful way to ensure the longevity of my goal, which was supporting myself in business by doing something I truly loved.

Why did you choose Maleny to be your home base for your business?

After 14 years in business in the Brisbane city, I decided that I had really tired of retail and corporate floristry. And while I was always doing weddings during this time, it could never be my sole focus, due to the continual requirements for the multiple facets of a retail florist. Weddings were just part of what we did, as we did so much, which of course is wonderful way to build experience, however I wanted weddings to be my everything.

I really yearned to get away from Brisbane and I had spent some time in Maleny on rare days off and decided it was a wonderful place to live, but I was also acutely aware of the appeal of weddings not only in the hinterland, but all over the coast. I decided to sell my businesses in Brisbane, and started planning my next venture – Mondo Floral Designs, where I was able to concentrate solely on what I truly loved, creating wedding floral designs in an area that was just so inspiring.

I wanted to bring my experience and background to an area that I felt was about to flourish and as a designer I knew that the amazing locations here on the Sunshine Coast would only attract more and more brides wanting to celebrate their wedding day in this beautiful region. So while it was a personal choice to make a life change, my major life decisions are often based around business, (that’s what happens I guess when you start out at 18!), and I could see a new exciting journey with a new business, and one I hoped would be successful.

What do you love most about working in the wedding industry on the Sunshine Coast?

When I first moved here, I dived straight into Mondo Floral Designs, and began setting forth in hope of developing new relationships with other wedding suppliers. Personally, the most amazing experience for me was meeting these incredibly talented creative suppliers who were working here. It was so refreshing to build not only business relationships but personal friendships, and I am proud and often humbled to have these amazing people as friends.

The Sunshine Coast just seems to attract savvy wonderful and inspiring wedding suppliers and in combination we all make this amazing area shine. From a business perspective, I have had the wonderful opportunity to create wedding floral designs for over 20 years, and I have never been so inspired creatively than I have since working here on the Sunshine Coast.

The beautiful diversity of this amazing region provides wonderful opportunities to create uber amazing wedding concepts, and it just brings out the best in me as a wedding floral designer, how could it not really… with the wonderful venues and the amazing locations, it’s heaven really.

What sets your style of floral design apart from others?

I find many photographers always comment that they know a Mondo Floral Designs when they see it, and the main reason is they say each bloom is ‘perfect’, which is a wonderful compliment, and certainly we are VERY particular with our work. I guess like any designer, we all have our own personal style. I think my style is a combination of vintage opulence with a modern twist, if that makes any sense, but really like any good floral designer I can create anything that the client is looking for, so I like to diversify and be open to design concepts that fits well with the clients vision.

So whether it be an eclectic unstructured design, or a formal vintage concept, I just get inspired by everything. I think that is part of why I love my job so much, every wedding is different and each of clients have their own specific wedding style that we encapsulate and build into the designs for their unique floral concept.

Above images by Calli B Photography

What excites you most about the work that you do?

Certainly the opportunity to be a part of the bride’s day. Having the opportunity to work so closely with each client is wonderful, I have always been a real “people person” and love the fact that we get to go on this journey with each of them, but probably the creative aspect of my job is just to me so amazing.

Sometimes I am on a beach doing a floral ceremony set-up near the sea, other times I am on a rural property under a fairy lit magical marquee placing table designs and hanging floral structures. What’s not to love!

As much as it can be very consuming and often challenging especially when you are answerable to mother nature not only for floral bloom availability, but the weather gods as well, it is incredible and I still jump out of bed each day and can’t wait to get to work!

What is the most rewarding part of running your own business?

Having my own business is actually all I know, apart from working part-time while I was at school, I have always been in business with flowers, and certainly working with these beautiful blooms can really pick you up when you have tough times or you are feeling a little low. I feel very lucky to be able to be in my position, to support myself as a business woman and as a floral designer, and to be completely in control of my own destiny. I think I have the best of both worlds.

I also love the fact that I get to have this amazing team of staff that walk with me in this world of weddings we live in. I am very blessed to have amazing staff that not only love their job, but seem to love me also. That’s really humbling and very rewarding and I never forget for one day their loyalty and passion to my business, and how special that is.

Above images by Karen Buckle Photography

Tell us a little bit more about Terrianne… what’s something we may not know about you as a person?

I love reading and writing, I think reading is an opportunity to get taken away to another land and forget about things for a while, and writing it is just an extension of my creativity, and just another side of that.

What is one thing in your personal life that brings you joy?

I am a big food and wine lover and love nothing better than cooking for friends at home. I love plating up the food, (I think this is also a bit of my creative juices pouring out), and just adore entertaining at my home. I also love the opportunity to eat out at restaurants and explore different cuisine, and when I do get the opportunity, my partner and I love trying out new restaurants.

Do you have an all-time absolute favourite kind of flower, or would that be like choosing a favourite child?

Oh dear that’s a very tricky one! I would have to give you my top three… Phalaenopsis orchids, Gardenia blooms and Hydrangea.

Mondo Floral Designs is undeniably super successful. Would you say you have fulfilled your ultimate dream as a successful florist?

I don’t think you can ever say that you are ultimately fulfilled, regardless of current success. Being creative, I am always wanting more. My dream would be to spend some time with an international floral designer, such as Preston Bailey or Karen Tran; they inspire me. But ultimately, I just love seeing the growth of my business and each day I wake up with new ideas and concepts for the business, so I guess it’s a train that hasn’t stopped and I don’t see it pulling into a station anytime soon!

Above image by First Class Wedding Photography

See more beautiful work from Mondo Floral Designs