A Mother / Daughter Dream Team in celebration of Mother’s Day!

 

When it comes to creative duos in the Byron Shire, mother/daughter team Kelley and Jaala of Bower Botanicals are a clear favourite of ours. If you’ve visited our Rowie boutiques, we proudly display their creations in store (and no word of a lie, customers and passers-by are forever praising and taking photos of the beautiful florals). We absolutely get it. They really do bring the WOW factor into our space each and every time they deliver a fresh display. 

 

Not only do they provide businesses and storefronts with these special bunches, they also put together THE most incredible floral scenes at weddings. And we think it is fair to say that they absolutely can turn what is someone’s special day, into a day filled with pure love and emotion… the beauty of it all forever etched into each and every persons’ memory. 

We thought as Mother’s Day is just around the corner, it would be perfect to hang out with the fun loving pair Kelley and Jaala (and to suss out their brand new Ballina workshop). After a few glasses of bubbly, some cheese and many a giggle – their brains were well and truly picked. If you want to know just how they manage to maintain a sustainable relationship whilst running an extremely busy, creativity fuelled, successful mother/daughter business venture, read on! 

 

Wow. Where to start… we are so in awe of what you have created with BB and are wondering, how did it all begin? 

K: BB (Bower Botanicals) started while I was working for other floral studio’s in the area. Jaala (who was living in Sydney encouraged me to register as a freelance floral business & we brainstormed the business name as it is today. I always had the desire to create my own way in the area (I’ve had multiple floral retail businesses in the past in Sydney & Bellingen),  to offer a personal service so that people see/feel the brilliance of nature. Mother Nature is life, I’m so grateful to work, hold & lay my eyes on the beauty she offers. 

How many years has BB been running for now? 

J: 3 years in November as a partnership and about 5 years with Kelley on her own, when she operated out of the cute little studio in Station St, Bangalow (prior to Jaala moving up from Sydney).

How did you come up with the name of your business? We love it! 

J: Well, we brainstormed obviously wanting the business to be recognised as a flower-based business, so that’s where ‘Botanicals’ came from, which married nicely (I’m a sucker for an alliteration!) with the fact that Kelley is a real collector, a true forager and creator, just like a beautiful Bower Bird…

We feel so lucky to hang out with you both in your incredible work space! How did you come about this little spot?

J: We completely outgrew the little home studio at Mum’s place so were on the hunt for something larger (we have lots of large things: ladders, palms, fridges) when our current space came up… it’s in the Ballina industrial area and was just completed so we snapped it up. It’s actually perfect, providing us with ample space, concrete floors & great backdrops for photographing (I use that term lightly, ahem, iPhone snapping) work. It’s just really great for us and our lovely staff not to be literally tripping over each other. Personal space IS a thing, we’ve recently realised! 😉

Your style is incredible; have you guys always shared a similar vision when it comes to creating? 

K: Pretty much so; we share a similar style love in design, fashion (our likes & dislikes) and so on. Bower is growing organically in itself, with both of us constantly checking if our direction feels right to us… always endeavouring to offer a personal expression through our work with the blooms. 

We hear you manage to forage a lot of the botancials yourselves.. is this a team effort or is one of you more adventurous than the other?!

J: Haha, Mum! She is defo the Yoda forager, I’m merely a humble snipper-wielding servant when I accompany her. I’d good at foraging from my garden though. Ha.

In all seriousness though, this does take a lot of time and we are always conscious of where we are taking from and have maximum respect of the environment we work and forage in.

Do you each have set roles within your business or do you tend to work on everything together?

J: We do work on a LOT together but have separate roles too. For example, being the master floral designer, Mum is the creative director & the boss onsite. She also writes the flower recipes & places orders usually while I’m doing marketing, quoting, correspondence, scheduling etc – y’know, pushing buttons!
We work on vision & style directions together and mostly everything else!

K: My role is predominantly floral-based, creating, hands-on, market runs, design processes with quoting, floral recipes, always onsite for set ups, installs etc. But we work on lots together. 

What is your favourite aspect of owning and running BB?

K: Flexibility of time / no set work routine… I can work my own hours. I don’t like the sometimes-mundane nature of 9-5 jobs, they aren’t for me. Even though our jobs can be very long, I can break my hours up… the later hours suit me. I’m a night owl, I like working late in the studio with music playing, suits my creative flow – just being in the zone with beautiful blooms and music.

J: There really are so many aspects, many of which are also the most frightening haha! I suppose the ownership element is a big one, setting the challenge of having a vision & working to bring it to life… with the realisation that it might not ‘end up’ exactly how you expected but to be proud of what you’ve achieved, if you stay true to yourself. I feel so strongly that your business should reflect your personality, it’s an extension of you, after all.

I also love the flexibility, creativity & seeing the joy on people’s faces when their floral dreams are tangible works of art in front of them.

Oh, and of course, working with Mum. I know how special it is to be able to have this time with her and create alongside her, pretty unique and time we will always remember.

Do you have to set boundaries between business and personal life in order to maintain your relationship?

J: Not really, we just take it as it comes. There are days when I work from home/from a cafe to pump out admin etc or that we have different meetings etc. Obviously there are days when we have our own family time which is important – more than two days though & it feels like months haha.. .we’re like, “OMGGGGG how ARE you?!?!”

How often do you hang out after work hours?

J: A fair bit! My son loves his grandma to DEATH & my brothers also live in the area so we do tend to hang out socially a fair bit… we have family get-togethers regularly at mum’s.

How do you manage to keep your relationship fun, and at a mother/daughter level?

K: By not taking things too seriously! Prioritising ‘to-do’ lists… Wine, social time, humour, mother-daughter chats always and 90’s music. 

J: I just crack dry jokes, sometimes funny, sometimes not haha. We have little lunches, a champagne after work, listen to 90’s tunes… go shopping (in between meetings, usually). We need to go shopping with a purpose more often, Mum!

What’s the one thing you always agree on?

K: Being the best version of yourself, margaritas & 90’s music.
J: Champagne / margaritas. Perfectionism… maybe that’s just me haha (working on that). 

And… the one thing you can never seem to agree on?!

K: Oh, hard. We agree on so much. Jaala loves oysters, I don’t. I like cucumber, Jaala doesn’t ☺ 

J: Hahah, what Mum said! I honestly can’t think of anything else that we completely draw a line in the sand over… she’s crazy with the oyster thing though.

Kelley, what’s your favourite thing about working with your daughter Jaala?

K: She’s articulate, kinds & clever. I get to spend my days with my best friend/teacher in life! Can’t imagine living afar from her. I know I can trust her totally & she is funny. 

And Jaala, you with your Mum Kelley?

Oh, well she is just the cutest. Really. She is so incredibly talented, like that kind of talent that one just has within them… not something you can teach (although she teaches me so much!), like a superpower, that just gets better and better.

But personally, she’s the kindest person who is the best kind of quirky. She has taught me so much about flowers and design but also about being a strong woman & believing in yourself, and that to me is so bloody important.

She also lets me rave on about crap and just listens. Ha.

For the aspiring mother/daughter teams out there, what is your biggest piece of advice?

J: Be honest with each other. there are always things that will come up, and it really is worth saying the THING (with respect) rather than, well, not.

Last but not least, how do you plan to celebrate Mother’s Day?!

J: We will be cooking lunch at hanging at Mum’s house on the Ballina river with our families, my brothers and all of the kids! Activities are sure to include a lot of eating (we all love cooking), drinking of Prosecco, chatting & child wrangling while I would say a fair bit of fishing takes place from the private jetty. All to a curated soundtrack of quality tunes and lots of laughter.

K: A loved-filled day relaxing at home, kids playing, kayaking & fishing on the river. Sunshine and music. Sharing food, wine & laughs on the grass… lots of noise and chatter. End of day sunset always on the river and an open fire inside to end – bliss. 

Oh, well she is just the cutest. Really. She is so incredibly talented, like that kind of talent that one just has within them… not something you can teach (although she teaches me so much!), like a superpower, that just gets better and better.

But personally, she’s the kindest person who is the best kind of quirky. She has taught me so much about flowers and design but also about being a strong woman & believing in yourself, and that to me is so bloody important.

She also lets me rave on about crap and just listens. Ha.

We just think what Jaala and Kelley have created between them is just so special. It’s not often that you get to call your mother or daughter your business partner and your daily motivation, as well as your shoulder to lean on – and all the while – manage to absolutely rock everybody’s sock off every time you create something for them.

Thank you ladies! 

Xx

You can find Bower Botanicals website here and Instagram here. 

Kelley wears our Theo Mini Olive
Interview and pics by our girl Kirsty Cane