French music in the background accompanies the watchful eye that observes flowers of different shapes and colors: delicate roses, lively tulips, elegant irises and much more welcome you in a Parisian atmosphere that transports you to a world of its own, a dive outside the city. In this magical and enveloping place, Carolina, founder and flowers designer of Oui Fleurs, welcomes me. With his radiance and overwhelming enthusiasm he tells me how his passion for nature and especially for flowers has blossomed into a wonderful project.
Where does your passion for flowers come from?
I lived my childhood in Cortina in the mountains. As a child I have always been pretty wild: I climbed trees, I was in the midst of nature, animals and I have always been very creative. So I always imagined myself living in a non-citizen and non-corporate world. I wanted to create a world where I can do the things I love.
When did you decide to open the store?
After school, immediately after high school. Already during the last year with the fact that my sister was not working, we decided to open the first Oui. We were therefore born in 2009 with a very small shop of 13 square meters of objects for the home and flowers in Via XXI Aprile in Bologna. In 2010 we then moved to Andrea Costa always with flowers and home together. Then we also moved the house to a new bigger space, the Oui Workshop. In 2012 we started making wedding setups. Now we are specialized above all in this. From there a warehouse was born where we have all the objects. We have recreated this world. My sister, on the other hand, broke away from us and opened a bistro in 2015 where she prepares breakfasts, lunches and aperitifs. Together with her I organize workshops: I teach flower arrangements and she prepares dinners.
Where does the name Oui Fleurs come from?
If over time it can be linked to the discourse of marriages, in reality it is not so. It was born because I wanted a short name to remember. Abroad they ask me: why a French name if you are Italian? For years we have had a home on the French Riviera. We spent every summer there. Here, however, we only have Italian companies in the store. There is a link with France but in terms of style. We interpreted it in our own way. A quick name that could be remembered. Oui Fleurs and Oui Workshop.
What difficulties did you encounter during these ten years of activity?
I had a lot of financial support from my parents. For me it was very important. Opening a shop at 20 without bases was not easy but you always remember beautiful things in life. The difficulties are easier to forget but yes there have been. At the working level, they emerged especially when it came to making arrangements with the spouses for the preparations. Seeing a very young girl raised doubts about my experience and therefore also about my professionalism. Now, after ten years, from this point of view, everything is easier. I have always put a great deal of effort into what I do and have had to make personal sacrifices as well. While my friends were doing 4 am dancing, I worked. I worked weekends. I did it willingly but I realize that it is not for everyone. Despite the results achieved so far I do not live on income. You always have to do new things, propose innovative things. You must always be on the piece, ride the wave. It takes a lot of time to get on but to get off just a little thing and you’re done.
How has the world of florals designers changed over the years?
If I look at the photos of the first marriages we see the difference compared to now. Now there is an almost maniacal cure. Brides are very attentive to everything. Once they were less careful. Now they inquire first and arrive already prepared.
What are the trends of the moment?
Marriages are now all very wild. Deconstructed, very organic compositions, many types of different flowers. So much green. Imperial and long tables. Even just one. Now there are a thousand types of chairs for marriage. The wooden chair, the chiavarina the American one. They all go different things. Even the wooden table without the very rustic style tablecloth goes a long way. For colors not necessarily white and green but all colored, it is preferred that one. Even the dresses of the brides are more bucolic, very simple, no longer the classic rigid dress.
What are you most passionate about what you do?
The fact of doing things that are always different. For me this is the most important thing. Every marriage is different. I always like to look for new things, new ideas. Design the wedding and then see the final result. What I thought for months and months.
Usually the end result is how you imagined it?
I’m very last minute. I do all my mental journey of setting up but then often the result amazes me because maybe it’s not like I had thought of it but even more beautiful. This often happens. My mom says I’m lucky because I don’t think about things until the last one and everything is fine anyway. I’m not the one who does meetings before the wedding by saying you think about that, you think about it. I think of everything and then I distribute the tasks that day. I don’t breefing, I leave everyone on their toes until the last. One thing I’d really like is that the brides trust me. Those who ask me too many details bring me anxiety. If one says to me: you do it, you are free then even more, I can bring out all the creativity. There was not once they were disappointed. They give me directions, I make mood boards, I make you understand what I have in mind but without going into too much detail. In fact we are artists. It is as if you were telling a painter how you would like a portrait. When you choose it you know how it works and you are not there to give it information on the colors to use or else.
Three adjectives to describe yourself.
Very sunny, always. Creative. Strict at work.
From the point of view of respect for nature, do you have any precautions in your work?
In all the compositions I do I do not use the sponge. Which is already a considerable saving on plastic. For weddings I always make decks that people can then take home or give them to guests. They are never thrown away. And I don’t even throw anything away in the store. All the flowers dry them and use them to make set-ups or the pot-pouirri or for the wedding cones so instead of throwing the rice they throw the petals.
Do you have a flower that you particularly love?
Buttercups are my favorites. They go from November to March.
In addition to the flowers do you have other passion?
I spend a lot of my free time looking around, watching. I am not a botanical expert but I like to create compositions and this is my great passion. I love cut flowers and find new grafts, not made by me, like roses or particular tulips. And then I love traveling. When we are free my boyfriend and I travel the world.
Do you like reading?
Yes I like detective stories. I have little time so I read especially when I’m on vacation. Now I’m reading “The Suggestor” by Donato Carrisi. The first Italian writer of this kind I read. Basically I like more writers from northern Europe.
Do you have plans for the future?
This year I started doing courses for professionals. I realized that there is not much in Italy for curated and dedicated training workshops for florists. What I propose is to convey my style and different types of compositions. But not only. The workshops take place in different locations, places where weddings are possible. We also simulate the whole set-up, from the mise en place to the shooting. In the future, I’d like them to become a Flower School.