They brighten rooms, elevate events and lift moods. And yet, too often, event planners commission intricate floral arrangements – only for them to be on display for a short window of time.
Karin Lee realised that a better solution existed. She launched Florapeutic in 2020 and the business preserves or donates flowers after events, including weddings and corporate launches.
When clients engage Florapeutic, their flowers are packed down and transported to a hospital or aged care facility, where they are repurposed and gifted to residents or used for floral therapy sessions.
Since launching, Florapeutic has repurposed 500kg of flowers, and as Lee explains the business is just getting started.
What was the moment that changed everything?
When my husband were married – many years ago – we literally organised everything. And then afterwards, when we were about to leave the venue, we suddenly thought: what do we do with these flowers? We just hadn’t thought about it.
We knew there were probably other couples who had found themselves in the same situation, and because I have a marketing background, I knew that [anyone organising] corporate events would [have experienced that], too.
So, that’s how I started looking at solutions. Then, during the pandemic I realised that if I didn’t do it then, I wouldn’t do it at all.
Florapeutic offers two main services: flower preservations where we preserve flowers that represent a significant moment in someone’s life, like a wedding or memorial flowers – and flower donation. We basically pack down the flowers and donate them to the local community, for example, nursing homes and hospitals.
What do you wish people knew about floral waste?
There is so much waste, from plastic cable ties to flower foams themselves, which are made of plastic and dissolve into microplastics. The flowers themselves are obviously organic waste but I can guarantee you that often they end going straight into the bin with the wrapping and general waste.
Tell us about a moment that makes everything worthwhile.
Whenever I drop off flowers, particularly at aged care facilities, I can always hear someone in the distance [exclaiming over the beautiful flowers] and that’s music to my ears. The value of fresh flowers is quite underestimated. Studies show that when you have contact with flowers – whether that’s seeing them or smelling them – it boosts your mood instantly.
We donate flowers to people who need them most, whether that’s hospitals or aged care facilities. Particularly during Covid-19, these cohorts were the ones who suffered social isolation the most.
When you’re not running Florapeutic, what do you love doing?
Spending time with my child [who is five]. She is helping me rediscover a lot of things – for example, children really know how to play and have fun.
If you weren’t running Florapeutic, what would you be doing?
Probably running another project. Since I was a teenager, I’ve wanted to run a business or a project.
Whats the best advice you’ve been given?
I’d say trusting my gut feeling, whether being a mother or a Founder. Sometimes I receive advice from different directions and they are all from good intentions. However, I learned to believe in myself and trust my instincts. After all, the decision is on me so I choose what sits well with the situation.
Finish this sentence: nothing feels better than…
To a sleep-deprived mother? A sleep-in without any interruptions.
Find out more about donating flowers from events at Florapeutic.com.au