I entered a competition the other day with the hopes of winning (not actually expecting it to happen) and I won! What did I win you ask? Thanks to Koch & Co who put the competition up on facebook I won a ticket to see one of the big Floral names in the Industry, Jeff Leatham!
On Thursday morning last week I headed to the Intercontinental Hotel in Double Bay, I’m a Canberra girl so that meant getting up at 3am in the morning (totally worth it!). When I arrived I headed up stairs to where the seminar was being held and handed in my ticket. As we entered the room there were masses of flowers covering the stage area. One side a sea of white, the other beautiful shades of pinks, reds and purples. It was beautiful. We took our seats and waited for the star of the show to arrive.
One of the things that was clear in the first couple of minutes of meeting Jeff, is how humble a person he is. As he stood in front of his captured audience you could see he was just so grateful to be here in Australia and to have such support from the florists, designers and stylists all gathered to see him.
He begun by introducing himself and talking about how he got to where he is today, crazy as it seems flowers were not always something he was interested in, it was only when he entered the Four Seasons Hotel. George V in Paris 20 years ago (where he still works today) that he saw the potential flowers have to create a design that leaves such a lasting impression.
Currently Jeff works between the George V in Paris and New York where he has a team that do installations and big event work, working alongside stars such as Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Tina Turner.
Jeff has produced spectacular displays all over the world, and there was certainly lots to see and be inspired by. You could see how much passion and love he has for what he does, and he really has such a great respect for his team and the people who work in the trade. He is very appreciative of the people that work alongside him saying ‘you are only as good as the people who work for you’.
He was open to questions from the audience and was more than happy to respond to all the questions he was given. When he was asked what inspires him he joked saying ‘the budget, especially if I spent too much last month!’. One of the most inspirational moments was when someone asked what advice he would have given himself when he was just starting out in the industry, his response is one that really applies to all of us ‘live the dream, take the opportunity, take the risk, don’t let anybody tell you no and find a balance in your life.’
As he took us through some of his previous work the anticipation was growing and we were all wondering just how he was going to manage to use all the flowers up in the time he had left.
When it came to starting to work with the flowers he appeared very laid back and fun getting the audience up to assist him with the designs and dancing around to the background music. While he put together the different aspects of his display he talked about his method when it comes to his style of design ‘no more than 3 different types of flowers and no more than 3 variations of colour’. But the flowers are not the only important part to his designs, it was clear that having a great range of vases and pots is important to creating his designs, as he was working he grabbed 3 ordinary black pots and started stacked one on top of another to add height and create a new dynamic to his display, using the vases and pots to really showcase the flowers. With his combination of colours, flowers and beautiful vases he creates a style that is very bold and striking and really showcases the beauty of the blooms.