Bea and Lilly, owners of Olive&Eve

sustainable florist practice and good insulation
— at
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale ParkLife
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Bea and Lilly are co-owners of the sustainable floristry business Olive&Eve. We visited them in their shop at Nightingale ParkLife, part of The Village

Tell us about Olive&Eve.

BEA: We’re a sustainable florist. We've been in business for about four years now. It was something that I was doing part-time, and then Covid hit and I didn't have any other work, so I started working with flowers from home to keep myself busy and pay the bills. It just grew from there.

Lilly's actually my cousin. As things got busier, I called her one day and said, ‘Do you want to come and help me in the shop?’ She came in and like me, she just fell in love with floristry. Now Lilly and I own the business together.

What were you both doing before that?

BEA: I was a diversity consultant. It was really rewarding work, but my background is in fine art, so I missed doing things with my hands. I went back to school and learned the trade, and then started doing events. The rest is history. 

LILLY: I was doing venue booking at a bar around the corner, and also working at a cocktail bar, between the lockdowns. 

How did you come to occupy a Nightingale commercial space?

BEA: Our previous studio was in Brunswick East. It was a beautiful little studio and we loved it there, but as we started growing, we just needed more space. We were looking for something local because we've developed a loyal customer base. We found the Nightingale listing online, did a bit of research and realised it was a perfect fit. 

What do you think about how the space is designed?

BEA: We're so happy here. We've got this beautiful light coming in. It's an awesome space for us because it's very pared back, very simple, and lets the flowers shine.

One thing I love is the insulation. As a florist, you really need something well insulated, or the flowers won’t cope with the heat, or huge changes in temperature. Here we don't even need an air conditioner. We've got a little fridge for things like roses that need to be kept really cool. 

How are you taking advantage of having more space?

BEA: It's really exciting for us to be able to do things other than the normal flower deliveries. We did some Christmas wreath-making workshops. We want to do more of that kind of thing. We're also thinking about doing events for children during school holidays. We usually post information on Instagram.

Where did the name Olive&Eve come from?

BEA: It's named after my daughter and her friend. That's a picture of them in the window. The artist Frances Cannon did our beautiful window artwork, and we’re so excited that we get to look at that every day.

The name is supposed to symbolise growth and friendship and all those lovely things, but also, that sense of wonder about nature.

Also, it's in keeping with our mission to make sure that whatever we're doing will be sustainable into the future, so that there will still be all these beautiful things around for Olive and Eve when they're all grown up. 

What kind of sustainability practices do you use? 

BEA: I was shocked when I learned about the trade and saw how much waste is involved in the industry, and also the chemicals that are used.

LILLY: Imports are a big issue too.

BEA: Yes, and because of that, we try to buy locally. We've got partnerships with local farmers and we try to source seasonal flowers that are grown locally. Everything that we package our flowers in is biodegradable. We don't use foam or any other nasty products.

LILLY: We found biodegradable sticky tape.

BEA: Part of our sustainable practice is our Daily Blooms Principle, which means that we source our seasonal flowers from local growers and suppliers every 1-2 days. Buying our stock in smaller quantities, and more often, means we have less waste and fresher blooms.

LILLY: Also, instead of giving people a wrapped arrangement, if they're locals, we make an arrangement in their vase and then they take it away with them. Being in a residential community has been good for that, because people sign up for our subscriptions.

BEA: If we hold an event and there are leftover flowers, rather than throwing them away, we put them in a flower bucket in the foyer for people to take if they want.

LILLY: And if they don't go in the free bucket, we also dry a lot of them. 

Tell us more about subscriptions? 

BEA: We do weekly, fortnightly or monthly subscriptions. We deliver flowers - or people pick them up - in a vase, and we then swap them out regularly. It's a bit more special to get something arranged in a vase, and also it saves paper.

How have you found the experience of working within a Nightingale community? 

BEA: Ever since we got here, people have been so beautifully welcoming, dropping in to introduce themselves. There's a lovely community here and we're chuffed to be part of it. 

What else should people know about your shop?

BEA: We stock a lot of local makers. All of our giftware and homewares are made by local artists. There's some beautiful work from Umami who repurpose old found pieces of wood. A Brunswick local makes these beautiful JIWA essential oils and candles. We have Ratio Cocoa. A Coburg baker makes all our cookies: Mumma Maker Baker. We have Le Panier Bags. There are plantable greeting cards from Planet Go Round: you can plant them in soil and grow things. Happily Made designs toys locally, and then works with women in Cambodia to produce them. They're made out of really nice materials.

Find out more about Nightingale commercial spaces.

Find out more about
Nightingale Studios
Nightingale ParkLife
First published in
January 2023