Melanie Stapleton started something special 12 years ago with Cecilia Fox which is now one of Melbourne’s most highly regarded florists. Their work is pure class. It’s cutting-edge, inspiring, relevant and sustainability is always part of the story. Enjoy this five minute chat with Melanie.
Was it always flowers for you?
Yeah, it’s always been flowers for me. I was 16 when I started floristry before I knew anything else. Now, 25 years later it’s still really the only thing I know, although I’ve learnt to boss and business along the way.
Your longevity in the game… How do you prevent burn out?
“Being in nature and sharing our response to nature with the world.”Mel Stapleton.
I have an AMAZING team, incredible suppliers and clients that trust us and ‘get it’. Working on our own projects purely for the love of it has been a huge part of keeping the Cecilia Fox magic alive, staying true to our ethos and evolving our style.
Where does the name Cecilia Fox come from?
Cecilia Fox is a nod to my paternal Grandmother Kathleen Cecilia and my maternal Grandmother Beverley Fox. Cecilia is also my middle name, I started my business as Melanie Cecilia Flowers and when I started writing a blog as Cecilia Fox, it just felt right!
How would you describe your style?
I think over the years our style has evolved and grown up. When I started Cecilia Fox I felt like our style was young, a little naive, wild and natural. Now, in our 12th year, I like to think our work still has a wild element to it, but perhaps a nod to something fierce and fearless, always beautiful.
“Perhaps a nod to something fierce and fearless, always beautiful.”Melanie Stapleton, Cecilia Fox
Your approach to creating…
It’s always been a conscious objective in all our work to create an atmosphere or an environment, something that has a palpable emotion to it.
How we approach each brief is from a place of a true love of nature and flowers as well as developing sincere and genuine relationships with our clients. I love working to a brief.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Finding inspiration in nature has always been part of our process and we are lucky enough to be surrounded by all kinds of creatives in our everyday life. From contemporary artists to architects, textile artists to musicians. Mostly I’m inspired by people’s process and seeing how people show up.
I studied textiles when I first moved to Melbourne and that most certainly influenced my style and the way I think about larger scale work.
In a less hectic life I’m an Astanga yoga practitioner and as a child, I studied ballet – that’s another thing that I feel has influenced me – I’m really interested in repetition and discipline.
There’s much enthusiasm in the industry for local, field-grown flowers. Thoughts?
I have endless love for local field-grown flowers and in our infancy we worked a lot will these kind of blooms. Because there is less variety grown on a large scale and available at the flower market we’ve worked hard to support smaller growers so we can have a varied floral ‘palette’ to call on in our designs. However, it has been essential for us to work towards diversifying in terms of product.
Five years ago I would have never even touched an imported rose, now the quality, quantity and price are hard to look past. I guess there is something to be said for scarcity breeding desire and perhaps that is accentuated in the rise of the slow flower movement (of which I am a huge supporter). This model of growing and supplying flowers is absolutely part of our ‘palette’. I am also aware that this style of design (using predominantly field grown flowers) is most certainly in fashion right now but it certainly won’t be in fashion forever.
Other sustainable practices?
We are in constant conversation about how we can create a more sustainable business and industry. We separate ALL our waste right down to rubber bands, we’ve been composting our green waste for over 5 years.
We fill one small wheely bin of landfill each week and the only thing we are still trying to work out is soft plastics! It’s an immense problem industry wide and so hard to recycle large quantities. But, watch this space, we are hoping that in the near future we will be able to use our soft plastics to create new vessels or vases inhouse!!
We are always working towards foam free options. Again, 5 years ago I never used foam but as our business has grown it’s felt like a necessity. Keeping it to an absolute minimum we use the apparently “bio” foam, although no one at Oasis has responded to my emails asking for more information about what it is actually made from. One can only assume it’s still bad.
Most memorable gig, most challenging gig?
I think the work that we have produced off our own steam has been the most rewarding, our video Lifecycle with Alex Badham, as well as our film Fools Rush In.
The challenging jobs are the big ones; managing lots of staff over a long bump in, ordering, making sure we all eat, have coffee and the flowers are ‘perfection’. Logistics, Logistics!!
I secretly get a real kick out of planning, problem solving and logistics.Mel, Cecilia Fox