In Conversation | Grandiflora Founder Saskia Havekes On Motherhood, the Power of Flowers and Personal Style

Florist, creator, mother and founder of the globally renowned Grandiflora: Saskia Havekes is an inspiration in every sense of the word.  

 

A longtime friend of the brand with over 25 years as a businesswoman and mother under her belt, the Aje Report caught up with the elegant Sydney-based creative to talk life as a florist, defining moments in motherhood and how working with nature inspires her personal style.


Captured alongside her two daughters Ginger and Sunday wearing pieces from the Mother’s Day 23 Dressing Edit, keep reading for our exclusive conversation with the inimitable, Saskia Havekes.

Left to right: Ginger wears the Florence Pearl Trim Midi Dress; Sunday wears the Adelie Puff Sleeve Mini Dress and Saskia wears the Constellation Pearl Trim Coat.  

Walk us through a typical day in your life as a mother, florist, author and perfume creator. What goes on behind the scenes?

 

My days are always very full and active. I rarely sit down and am surrounded by beauty most of my days. I visit the flower markets three times a week at 4.30 am, as I have for the last 30 years (never missed one, touch wood).

 

I also work in tandem on our fragrance brand throughout my days. Thankfully, my daughter, Sunday, is now working towards managing this more closely for our team. Ginger is integral in keeping me in touch with clients and all correspondence in our flower studio.

 

Working with both my daughters has become essential during these changing times, and I have always felt excited by all the opportunities offered through what has already been built. There is a small team who I work alongside preparing the flowers and creating for all events including launches, parties, weddings, gifts, tributes and house installations.

 

You and your daughters Ginger and Sunday feature as part of Aje’s campaign for Mother’s Day, wearing pieces from Pre-Fall 23 ’Nowness of Then’. What was it like to work together on set? What was your favourite memory of the day?

 

I felt so much love in the room and a deep connection with both my daughters. We have never been photographed together in a studio like this, and the team was impeccable and made us feel very relaxed and welcome. I wished it lasted forever!

 

Staring into the eyes of your children is one of the most profound and powerful moments of reflection and understanding. A deep emotional bond was felt and captured. The collection built our confidence and gave us immediate solidarity. There was nothing disjointed.

 

Left to right: Saskia wears the Mastermind Blazer, Interlace Midi Skirt and Mirage Leather Strappy Heel; Sunday wears the Florence Pearl Trim Blouse and Skirt.

"Staring into the eyes of your children is one of the most profound and powerful moments of reflection and understanding. A deep emotional bond was felt and captured."

Left to right: Ginger wears the Valentina Bow Midi Dress; Saskia wears the Jessica Frill Midi Dress and Sunday wears the Sylvia Knit Midi Dress. All wear the Mirage Leather Strappy Heel.

Which pieces from the campaign do you envision yourself wearing, and where would you wear them?

 

The piece I felt moved by was the suit jacket and skirt in black with the modern flower buttons. I rarely wear a skirt and I felt I was channelling my inner Edwina Forest, especially with those elegant shoes—Edwina always rocks a heel in an enviable way! I would wear this to a VIP work event or lunch or dinner with friends for a special occasion.

 

To what extent do you think working with nature in a creative way has influenced your personal style?

 

Essentially and to a great extent. Every day, I am inspired by nature in colour, shape, texture, line, personality and environment, which have depicted my choices in making decisions when choosing elements of my style. The colours and fragrances in flowers, leaves, stems, pods, bark, soil, rock, sky, ocean, desert, forest, heath and river constantly hold inspiration for me.

 

"Every day, I am inspired by nature in colour, shape, texture, line, personality and environment, which have depicted my choices in making decisions when choosing elements of my style. The colours and fragrances in flowers, leaves, stems, pods, bark, soil, rock, sky, ocean, desert, forest, heath and river constantly hold inspiration for me."

The Pre-Fall 23 collection, ‘Nowness of Then’, is partly inspired by the notion of nostalgia. What comes to mind when we evoke…

 

… your first childhood memory of flowers?

 

My two older sisters and I collecting buttercup flowers under the huge towering hand-carved and hand-glazed ceramic fountain my father created. There was a lotus pond and water iris that also grew here. We used to put the buttercups under our chins to see if they reflected yellow, which apparently meant you liked eating butter.

 

… a defining moment in your motherhood journey?

 

Taking on the challenge of working with both my daughters. Stretching out from ‘parent/mother’ to ‘boss/mother’ was chaotic and unfamiliar at first, but patience, love and perseverance pulled us through along with help from our supportive team.

 

… the day you created your first fragrance?

 

Magnolia grandiflora has always been my muse, and creating her fragrance took two years. We launched in an exquisite apartment in Paris, and this is the time I connected with Edwina and Felix [photographer and Edwina's husband], who helped bring the vision and experience to light. We travelled to Grasse and found our path forward at this time in 2013.

 

Left to right: Saskia wears the Mastermind Blazer and Interlace Midi Skirt; Sunday wears the Freya Diamond Pearl Top and Skirt.

 

 

Saskia wears the Mastermind Blazer and Interlace Midi Skirt.

 As a mother and a woman with over 25 years running your own business, what is something you know now that you wish you could tell your 16-year-old self then?

 

Take the time to learn from older, more experienced people who can advise you on alternative ways of doing things.

 

On a similar note, what is something you have learnt from your daughters since becoming a mother?

 

It's not a one-way highway. Listen a lot.

 

Lastly, what is one piece of advice that you received from your own mother that stays with you to this day?

 

"Truth is often an excuse for cruelty", "Man is not an island" and "Always be kind".

 

 

Shop the Mother's Day Edit online and in stores now.