Your Business name: KOKO Floral Design
Your Location: New Haven, Connecticut
How did you start your business?
I’ve always loved and been fascinated by flowers. In Japan (I’m Japanese) I received a degree in Biotechnology and personal colour coordination, and then I worked in a local flower shop. But really my genuine training began abroad. First I went to England and Holland to receive formal advanced degrees at two European design schools: the Constance Spry Flower School in London, England and the Boerma Institute of Floral Design School in Amsterdam, Holland. Then I went briefly to Taiwan to intern with a renown floral designer Ely Lin. Next I went to New York City to work with Miho Kosuda – a top NYC florist who has many celebrities as clients.
This was a 5 year journey and I was extremely blessed to work with great designers, especially Miho, whom really taught me so much about the care in choosing, maintaining and preparing flowers and top-level service. More recently, I was married and moved to New Haven, Connecticut. My dream has always been to start my own floral design business and now I’ve started it….
How many years have you been in business?
I’ve officially started my business in early 2011.
What is your design aesthetic?
My designs are contemporary and strongly influenced by my experiences. Being Japanese, I like the natural beauty of the flower and I don’t want to hide it, rather show it in it’s beauty, which extends past the head of the flower down to the end of the stem. I really try to bring out the natural lines and structure of different flowers. I inspire to make really unique designs and while I enjoy mixed arrangements I find it very exciting and challenging to make original designs with only a single type of flower, such as a square arrangement with tulips or a knotted bouquet of calla lilies.
What inspires you?
I’m really lucky to have been inspired by the people with whom I’ve trained. First and foremost, the president of the Constance Spry Flower School, Fred Wilkinson, really amazed me for I could feel love and emotion through his arrangements which were precise yet airy and magical. But to see him work was even more impressive for he had a special aura and was incredibly meticulous and precise with his movements. In fact he is a Royal floral arranger and recently, he designed the arrangements for the reception of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Next I was inspired by Ely Lin whom is a famous Asian floral designer and like her mentor Daniel Ost, is highly innovative in her techniques. Lastly, I’ve been most inspired by Miho Kosuda with whom I’ve trained the longest. She inspired me with her incredible care of selecting, handling and love of flowers. I have also been inspired by her beautiful and elegant arrangements such as her signature spiral rainbow rose bouquet.
What are the trends, flowers & colors that are unique to your region?
There are many wonderful flowers here, and Connecticut has been famous for it’s roses (unfortunately many former rose farms closed as most now are in Central America). But recently I’ve been amazed at locally grown Dahlias – which can vary incredibly in color, shape and texture. I’m looking at designing new arrangements with Dahlias so stay tuned…
Are you a retail shop, studio/warehouse or home based?
We are a home based studio.
Do you offer any services in addition to floral designs?
Not really, but we’ve recently been requested to prepare arrangement for art photography.
What does your toolbox look like?
It’s not really a box, rather is a compact red bag filled with scissors, wire, tape, and snips.
What tool in your toolbox can’t you live without?
Definitely it’s my Swiss Army folding floral knife; it has a single very sharp 3 inch straight blade.
What’s your favorite flower?
Anything else you’d like to share with Flirty Fleurs followers?
Please have a look at my work (www.kokofloraldesign.com) and give me your comments. I’d love to hear from you.