Giving flowers has always been a significant part of culture, and their significance and meaning have only continued to increase society evolves. Flowers possessed different meanings depending on the culture, yet no matter the meaning, flowers remain a powerful vehicle to bolster human bonding. The reason florists such as Katya Melnikava of Brooklyn, New York.
Hailing from Belarus, the floral designer has spawned her own fantastical floral company Lavka Flowers. She established the brand with the singular goal of revisioning and reviving the sentiment and enjoyment of the giving and accepting of flowers. As the lead designer, Melnikava contrives her intricate arrangements using the elements of design as her guide. For Melnikava, it’s all about the texture. This contributes to the added lushness and contrast that exists in each Lavka Flowers arrangement. Melnikava’s design philosophy prioritizes the natural beauty of flowers that emanates in each and every design at Lavka Flowers.
The floral entrepreneur dishes about her beginnings in the floral industry, life as an owner, and why flowers are e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
How and when did you get started in the floral industry? And what attracted you to?
I’ve been in a floral industry since 2009 – almost 10 years. Originally, I’m from Belarus and my first job in a floral field was a wedding decorator/florist. I saw the movie The Wedding Planner and that was the moment I realized this is a dream job. Every day you are surrounded by beautiful stuff and you are the main figure there. I thought “I’d love to do that.” 2009 was a very beginning for the whole wedding industry in my country, and it was just one agency I could apply. I went there and asked if I can work for them. I was waiting for 3 months until they invited me. That was the moment I realized my dream came true. I remember my first day, I was walking towards the office and I kept telling myself - now I’m a wedding decorator. I was excited. I was working in the company for over 3 years. Then I changed the company and became a wedding planner for a wedding agency for 3 years. I ended up as a founder of the floral studio in Belarus by my name. For the time being my life has changed and I decided to challenge myself and to move to New York and start everything from scratch.
Tell us about Lavka Flowers. What makes the experience and service especially noteworthy?
We are a floral studio located in Brooklyn since 2016, specializing in weddings and custom floral designs. The name of the company came up from my background in Belarus and my American life now. There are two words - Lavka - it’s an old Russian word, in Belarus we speak Russian, and it means a small shop. What makes the service special is the experience we offer. When people are coming, they receive a full understanding of what they need. And to be honest, I know how to fill the needs of customers. I really love to work with flowers and I love the process of making something from the idea to reality. I’m passionate and caring about the work that I’m doing.
Describe a typical day in your working life.
I wake up around 5 am, to be able to get to the floral market at 6 am, because of the floral world you have to be an early bird. I like to choose flowers myself to I see their quality and color range. Then I go back to the studio and process flowers and give them a few hours to drink water. At this time, I have to review emails and calls and have breakfast. When the flowers are ready, I carry out orders for the day and in the late afternoon, I make a delivery. Even after that my working day work still continues, it involves some computer work or creating a presentation for a wedding.
What’s the best part about working with flowers – for either a career or hobby?
It’s always creativity. The best part for me is the beauty of flowers – the uniqueness and brittleness of every single flower. I love to look at flowers, I like to touch them, and take pictures. I never feel bored. It’s always new.
Describe your signature style? How did you develop it?
I try something new every day. I don’t like to be tied up with one style. I’m diversified florist. I would say my style depends on my mood; I’m trying to share part of myself through the flowers.
As a floral designer, what has been your biggest career highlight?
I think my biggest career highlight is my development. I came in the floral business knowing nothing, just with a dream to become a florist. And today, I'm a New Yorker and happy owner of the small floral studio Lavka Flowers with ambitions be more than just a small studio.
What is one of the biggest challenges of working in your industry?
The biggest challenge is an understanding of the fact that working with flowers it’s not always a pleasure. It’s hard work and it’s a lot of lifting, it’s long-standing on your feet. There are many early mornings and late nights of working.
What type of atmosphere drives your best work?
The best atmosphere for me is when I do not need to hurry. I prefer to have time to create, and I like listening to music while I’m creating something.
What types of music are you listening to as you create?
Yes, I am. Usually, it’s instrumental music. For example The Durutti Column or Paul Cardall. Or it can be dance music – it keeps me smiling.
Any flowers or plants trending this summer?
I can say plants are always in trend. The most trending tendencies are different foliage and grasses that give an arrangement a uniqueness. Dried flowers, for sure, add texture and movement to an arrangement. And of course, Pantone has chosen “living coral” as their 2019 Color of the Year, don’t forget that. As for me, it’s still Pampas grass and Anthurium.
What are some of your personal favorite flowers or plants? Explain their significance.
Ranunculus one of my favorite flowers, they have so many colors and variety, they are long-lasting. These flowers are beautiful both in color and form, they resemble a garden rose or a peony but easy to get and to work with. They have such delicate petals and it’s always additional texture and focal point in a bouquet. Anthurium are another favorite they have such an elegant and smooth. I like to use it for arrangements, it gives movement. And I guess this is the most flirting flower. Pampas grass - its chic, bohemian, fluffy and expressive. It's hardy, versatile and budget-friendly, it adds instant texture and is available all year round.
Why is it important to invest in buying flowers for others and for yourself?
Flowers are the best way to convey the feelings or love of your heart. I truly believe flowers make you feel and think better, they cheer up your mood, they will help to be productive. Flowers can complement your design. Keep blooms in your office for inspiration, and you’ll get creative. Flowers are beautiful and cheerful. The beauty of flowers needs no explanation.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to a woman just getting her start in the floral industry?
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, it’s a part of the journey. Take a picture of your work even if you don’t like what you’ve done. Through the picture, you will see the improvement.