Located on the Kingston Foreshore, Eight Stems is one of Canberras newest Flower Shops. Owned by sisters, Jo and Julie – the shop features flowers, plants, terrariums and curated gift hampers filled with locally made goodies.
Inspired by the different angle and structure of this business, we just had to find out more…
Thanks for chatting with us Julie. Have you always been in the floral industry?
Yes! I have been in the industry for eleven years now 😊 I love what I do !!!!
When did you first start dreaming about opening your own florist?
It started when I was at University of Canberra studying my Bachelor of Graphic Design back in 2003. Towards the end of my degree I had realised that I no longer wanted to be a graphic designer as I felt so unmotivated and got really bored of it…. and also accepted the fact that I wasn’t good at it lol! I freaked out knowing I was going to graduate hating on my degree and I knew I needed a Plan B! Then it came to me like a light bulb above my head! Ding… Flowers were always my inspiration when it came to projects, majority of my designs were botanically based and from that moment I decided to become a florist! Just like that….
Tell us a little about Eight Stems and how you are different.
Where do I begin…… Lets just say that here at Eight Stems we are not just your average florist. We wanted our shop to be a place where customers could come in -feel welcomed and inspired. We love what we do, and we love to have a good chat about flowers, plants, dogs, babies and anything random. As we are small business owners we are in favour in supporting our local businesses. We have a wide selection of local handmade gift items in store but what really sets Eight Stems apart from all florist in Canberra is our dedicated section just for mums and bubs – we have sourced out great quality products such as Franjos Kitchen Lactaction Biscuits, Mama Body Tea Range, Basik Organic Mum and Bub skin care, Aster and Oak Organic cotton clothing and of course local handmade products. Jo and I both had our second child recently and we understand the need and demand for natural and organic products.
How do you best balance motherhood and business?
My sister and I opened the business both being pregnant with our second child. I was 30 weeks and Joanne was 10 weeks gestation- crazy right!!!! We actually had it all planned out that it when I had mine she was able to cover me and when she had hers I was already back from maternity leave. Let’s just say motherhood and business is definitely the biggest challenge yet but a challenge that we both take on with strength and determination. We are just so blessed to have supporting parents and partners! We also made sure that we weren’t working crazy long hours, our kids will always be our number priority.
What kind of boss are you?
I would like to think that we are awesome bosses!!! We are the kind of bosses who treat staff with great respect and reward them for their hard work. Maybe a question that my staff should answer 😊 I wonder what they will say …..
Who has been your business mentor or someone you’ve called upon for guidance?
Jo and I decided to go into business not knowing what to expect! We both knew that it was going to be a big challenge, a big risk, a lot of hard work and the possibility of failure. Our parents were our biggest guidance and mentors. They came to Australia with absolutely nothing and managed to put a roof over our heads and made sure we had the best of everything. They raised us to be strong and independent, they made sure we went to University and taught us the value of money.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to start their own business what would it be?
Take your time!!! Don’t rush into a business until your 100% ready and committed!
I’ve had 10 years of retail management and worked for other successful florist for me to feel confident in starting my own business. Jo has been working for the government for many years and has studied business management and accounting.
Together we are the A Team!! I have the experience and creativity where as Jo is the brains and smarty pants that deals with all the boring administration stuff Ha 😊
Describe your typical life in a day
Kids, work, kids, work, kids, work repeat hahaha
JULIE in a flash:
Coffee or tea?: Hot Chocolate is definitely my go to Hot Drink!!!!
On your bedside table we’ll find: A big pile of mess lol a bedside table that you don’t put on instagram
Favourite flowers: Lotus Flower!! Love it so much that I designed my own lotus flower and got it tattooed
Book your currently reading: I’m more of a picture reader lol
Signature scent: Marc Jacob Daisy
5 can’t-live-without handbag contents: I have 2 kids and run a business but if I must I got to say Iphone, Diary, Glasses, car keys, and a big bag filled with baby stuff 😊
JO in a flash:
Coffee or tea?: Coffee
On your bedside table we’ll find: The Little Flame Co Candle in Pink Peony, pile of books
Favourite flowers: Peonies and anything big and fluffly
Book your currently reading: Bird Box…. It’s a thriller novel
Signature scent: Daisy by Marc Jacob
5 can’t-live-without handbag contents: Besides the obvious phone, keys, wallet…. Lip balm, pen and paper, hair brush and my diary/to do list