When we started Miei just over four years ago, we wanted to do things differently. We wanted to be both socially and environmentally responsible and to turn the floristry model on its head. This is why, when we launched what now seems like many, many moons ago, we committed to being 100% waste free.
So, how exactly do we achieve this ambitious goal?
A retail space without the retail store mentality
The floristry industry has for so long been based on a retail model and reliant on last-minute purchases and orders. With this model, a business generally purchases stock for an unknown demand and procures based on historic patterns, which are no guarantee for tomorrow’s buying trends. At Miei, we operate very differently. Our space is used for consulting and as a work space, under an ‘open kitchen’ concept, where the public can participate by either watching and learning or by playing with repurposed flowers under our team’s guidance. We consult and only accept orders that are placed at least 24 hours in advance, to allow for our team to purchase exactly what we need to meet every brief. This means that there are no unused flowers sitting around waiting to be sold.
Just what we need
In our visits to growers, farmers and the market each week, we only ever purchase what we need. Buying the flowers that exactly fit our requirements ensures there are no leftovers at the end of the week. Unlike retail florists, who are buying for an unknown market, we know exactly what we need, how much we need, when we need them and who gets what from each of our three (or sometimes more) trips to our suppliers.
Each week the previous week’s flowers that we collect from our corporate clients’ offices or hotel clients’ spaces don’t go to waste. We reuse and repurpose them in our workshops, teaching others how to make beautiful arrangements. We also give them away for a donation to the ARK Project. We welcome everyone and anyone to drop into the Undercroft and help themselves to some of the returned flowers and greenery. By the way, the best days to visit us are Mondays and Tuesdays when the returned flowers come in.
Trimming to ensure that each posy, bunch, bouquet and arrangement has only the very best quality flowers does mean that there are some offcuts that can’t be used. These items are put into green waste to be repurposed as compost or disposed of in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Flower packaging such as cardboard boxes, plastic wrapping and plastic water vials are sorted and appropriately recycled or reused.
These are the many ways we manage to be more environmentally conscious while servicing all our clients. The model we developed took a little time for us to work out and we’re still learning and improving each day, to ensure that what we are doing is both environmentally friendly and economically viable. We’re incredibly proud to have created a new way of doing business as a florist and hope to inspire others.