One florist's take on creating art with flowers.
What you might not know is that the woman behind this initiative is an artist that uses flowers as a form of artistic expression. Her floral art transforms spaces, homes, and even minds.
We’ve gotten to know all about Sukii’s world and we could not be more inspired by everything she does. What started as a career choice quickly turned into a form of artistic expression. In the last five years, she’s used her skills and artistic vision so well that they have opened up doors and created opportunities to grow both professionally and personally.
Sukii is more than just a florist. Flowers are what she uses to express her emotions and feelings. She has also experimented with other art forms and incorporated flowers into the mix. With COVID-19, many in the industry found ourselves uncertain about the future. Floral design is an art in itself and Sukii sat down with us to talk about how she started in the industry, how she began to view her work as art, and what lies ahead for Say Sukii Flowers!
*Interview answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: What’s your background in the floral industry?
“I landed a job in 2010 in the floral department at Whole Foods, which was my introduction to flowers. I was 19 at the time, needed a job, and they were hiring. At the time, it wasn’t about wanting to be a florist, it was just the opportunity that was there for me.”
“During my time there, I grew a passion for flowers. I learned about care and handling, maintaining flowers, buying, budgeting. That’s where I learned the ins and outs of running a floral shop. That’s where I also realized that I was talented when it came to arranging. It was something that I was excited about but I also realized I was good at it.”
“I did that for a couple of years and moved to Anguilla for a few months, where I worked at a company that did weddings and events. That was my introduction to the industry of what floral and event design was and that lit the match for me. It was a never-ending creative thing. It also opened my eyes as to like how far I could personally go with my love of flowers. At the time I wasn’t in the space where I thought ‘this is my calling’ but it did open up my eyes.”
“Once I came back to the states, I worked a regular 9 to 5 job. I quickly realized that I wasn’t a desk person or fit for the 9 to 5 lifestyle but I was good at it. I was grateful for my situation but at the same time, that type of lifestyle wasn’t for me.”
“That’s when I knew that I wanted to be a business owner. So I started thinking “What can I do?” and quickly came to an answer: “Wait! I love flowers!“. I figured out what I needed to do to save my money. I started Say Sukii Flowers at 25 and quit my job 9 months later.”
“That’s how I became a florist in the industry. And here we are 5 years later. I didn’t have formal training. At my job in Anguilla, I worked right under Lorin Carty, owner of Black Orchid Florists and Events and got the best hands-on experience. I felt very grateful to be working right under him. He left the door open so that I could contact him and ask questions. I would consider that my only mentorship. As I looked into certifications, I realized it was pretty expensive so I would google a lot of things and learned as I went.”
“I always told myself that I wish that I could find time to go to school. There is always something else to learn but I never got around to it.”
Q: How/When did you realize that you could use flowers as a form of art?
“Really and truly, the “art door” that opened was when I started making wearable flowers. I am part of a community of friends that is heavily artistic. There are so many projects left and right and the conversations over dinner would be about collaborating. One time, I made [floral art] for a wall and we were taking it down. I put it around myself like a skirt and we had a whole conversation where we realized that we needed to make wearable flowers. It was exciting because it sparked something in me where I thought that the possibilities in floral design were never-ending, you could turn a corner and something else could come up.”
So my thoughts evolved into “This is me expressing myself and that is art.”
“I appreciated the outlet that working with this media was giving me. It became something very personal. It was no longer just about client work. It started to transform into collaboration conversations or even seeing something that inspired me. That was the breakthrough from client work to art to me expressing myself.”
” I started feeling good about the work and it felt very organic. I also loved hearing feedback from people. The way they felt or interpreted my work was similar to what people do when they look at a painting, read a book, or listen to music. Those are all forms of art.”
“That’s when I said to myself “Ok this is Art.” Now I want to continue putting flowers in places where people can interpret my art. I wanted my flowers to start conversations, to beautify spaces, and to make things different than what they were.”
“As artists, people are just trying to express an idea, a feeling, a something. They want to convey it to someone else to inspire, start a conversation, or even make someone feel something.”
“I realized that flowers, which I naturally loved, have such a powerful impact. This one thing can be used for so many different areas in life and that’s what intrigued me about the work that I was doing.”
Q: What opportunities have been given to you because of your floral background?
“Because of my background, I’ve worked with artists that I personally admire. I’ve gotten to style Aja Monet‘s performance at iii points Music Festival. She was opening up for Erykah Badu, which was exciting for us as friends and fans.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to design stages for other festivals as well. I’ve worked with corporations such as Samsung. I’ve created workshops for kids and families where people engage in a great way. I have designed and styled events for Art Basel and Smoke Signals Studio. I’ve done home, events, and commercial installations. I’ve also worked on fashion photoshoots and therapy events such as meditation and healing circles.”
Q: How has your creativity evolved throughout the years? What role have flowers played in this evolution?
“I have learned over the last five years to trust myself a lot more. [Before] I would second guess what I was doing. Because I knew that I didn’t have that formal education, I would question myself a lot. I would over order, over buy, prolong the process, and I would always try to be safe. “
“Now, I feel a lot more confident in my ability to create something super fly even if I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“That evolution has played a role in my personal life. My relationship with flowers is very spiritual because of the divinity I feel with this calling. I feel like God whispered in my ear “hey, this is what you need to be doing.” And because of that, I try to take what I learn and see and apply that to my life. I realize what I’m experiencing in business mirrors my personal life so when I’m going too hard in business my life is also crashing.”
“I’ve grown as a person because I’ve taught myself to take the lessons from the flower world and apply them to my life.”
Q: Has 2020 taught you anything about yourself, your art, and/or the floral industry?
“2020 has taught me that innovation is underrated (lol). Having the ability to reinvent yourself can take you far.”
“2020 has also taught me how resilient I am because, amid the world changing so quickly and so drastically, I’ve been able to have answers to these changes. I think that is what is separating the people that are succeeding right now from the people that are not. I don’t mean that harshly, just as the reality of the situation. Some people can adapt to the times and reinvent themselves in a way that is sustainable regardless of whether or not they’ve seen this been done before.”
“Given all the adversity that I have experienced throughout my life, one thing I can do is reinvent myself over and over again.”
“2020 can feel like a “nothing” year but I‘ve been coming from nothing since I was born so I can make something out of nothing in any space. 2020 has proven that.“
“I’m turning 30 this year and it’s a big exciting thing to come to terms with who I am. I’ve been so far from my true self for so long. I did not accept my greatness, even my flaws and all the things that make me who I am. Those things are important to my story because, without them, I wouldn’t have learned what I learned or know what I know.”
“2020 has shown me that I am as resilient as I’ve always wanted to be and I’m growing more this year than I ever have, which is mind-blowing. It’s also something to sit on and accept.”
“2020 has taught me that people need art. The world needs it more than they think they do. At the foot of the chaotic times, art is what helps us through. Nobody is surviving without a movie on Netflix or without music right now. Art is now a necessity and not a luxury.”
“For the innovative and genuine [floral industry] members, I think that the industry is here to stay. The people that are similar to me, that are also thriving this year show that the industry is not going anywhere.”
“Flowers are powerful, flowers are art, flowers are “feel good” things. The people in our industry have the responsibility to provide the world with this beauty and to be that vessel that connects the world to this beautiful gift that we have been given by nature. We need to tell ourselves “let’s do something with flowers to make them even more beautiful so they can reach even more people.”
“Most importantly, this industry will thrive with people that have genuine intentions.”
Q: What’s next for Say Sukii Flowers?
“I think what’s next for Say Sukii Flowers is a lot more of what we’ve already been doing on a much larger scale. We’re going to be reaching more individuals in the community. We are setting ourselves up for growth and expansion. Our work right now is going to reach a lot more children. The kids and the community are what I’m focused on because that is where I think the highest need for this art and these flowers are.”
“I think we can make the greatest impact on the world through our community and kids, that’s our biggest focus.”
“We’re still doing events, installations, and art projects because that is where my heart is at but what is next is Say Sukii Flowers on a much larger scale and we’ll be reaching more people around the world.”
A huge thanks to Sukii for her time, her honesty and for sharing her passion with us. Follow her journey here.