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Female founder series

Meet London's most colourful and creative florist

Kaiva Kaimins is a force of nature. Founder of Dalston-based florist My Lady Garden, the 25-year old entrepreneur has drummed up a cult following thanks to her sculptural and super colourful bouquets. With the advent of Lockdown, Londoners have been flocking to the brand's website to send loved ones a vibrant dose of joy, and just this week the florist launched nationwide deliveries. The best bit? Kaiva collaborates with fellow creatives to offer limited-edition gift kits - think cocktails, candles and more. Here’s how she gets it done.

Why My Lady Garden?

The name came about when I was at Flower School – I went to the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers, which doesn’t exist anymore. The teachers at the school were quite prim and proper, and asked me if I knew what a 'lady garden' was. A lot of people thought the name was too risqué, but I thought it was funny!

Why did you launch the company?

I moved back from New York, where I was freelancing as a wedding florist, to London for a job that eventually fell through. So technically My Lady Garden started by accident. I thought "OK, I should probably try to make something of myself. I’m pretty sure I could do it". I worked part-time at the florist at Liberty's, and the other half of the week I just hustled, freelanced, and tried to network with anyone I could.

When did you open your studio?

I did everything out of my single bedroom in 2019. I don't know if you've ever made a Christmas wreath before… but having the whole room filled with flowers, and carrying them up and down three flights of stairs, was really impractical! So I got this place in early 2020. I wasn't intending it to be a shop, I didn't do deliveries. I basically needed a storage space that wasn’t my bedroom!

And then 2020 happened?

I had 20 weddings booked in last year, all of them got cancelled, and all of the press events that I’d penciled in got cancelled, too. I thought.. "F*ck! I need to do something!" It was Mother's Day, almost exactly a year ago, and I said "I'm just going to do deliveries and see how it goes".

Being adaptable as an entrepreneur – essential?

150 million per cent. If I could summarise my year last year as any scene, I was Ross and Rachel getting a couch up the stairs, and just yelling "PIVOT!" every 5 minutes. Now we've adapted and we're doing nationwide deliveries as well as local, and dried flowers as well as fresh.

How important is self-confidence?

I'm not falsely confident. I know I'm good at flowers. The other stuff? I'm trialing it out as I go along. The first round of T-Shirts we ever made didn’t sell enough on Everpress to even go to production. I think we sold three. Then, eight months later, we did a different T-shirt and a different design, and they sold out in five minutes. It's literally just adapting, learning from your mistakes and trying something new.

How do you bounce back?

I don't like being boring, I'm very impulsive. If I have an idea, I'll just do it. And if it doesn’t work, whatever, I'll try again. Or I'll just change it. It keeps you on your toes!

On having a positive mindset:

Your mindset ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. I really find it a struggle when people don't think that they can. My dad's a life coach, which is probably why it’s been drilled into my head. He's been like "Yeah, you can do whatever you want. Why wouldn’t you be able to?"

On manifesting:

Every six months I'll write a goal check-in list, and I do the same at New Year's. I check in on it every few months to see how I’m doing. If I need to feel particularly like a boss, I listen to 'Bossy' by Kelis, and tell myself I can do it!

On networking:

Don't be shy to talk to people. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Send an email, make a media kit, be proactive, approachable… and reply to your emails on time!

On collaborating:

I love collaborating with different people. For me, that’s why My Lady Garden has grown so much in the past year. It’s like dominoes, once you start, the network keeps rolling. I love that as a brand, we’re able to come up with new things all the time. Why does it have to be the same thing forever? In the floristry world there’s the new generation and the older generation of florists. We’re more of the mindset: 'Why can’t we collaborate with a cocktail bar?'

Want to hear more?

Listen to Kaiva's brand new podcast, 'Flowers After Hours', where the founder chats to likeminded creatives about business, lifestyle and music.