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We still say it with flowers

By MONIQUE TODA, The Philippine STAR Published Feb 06, 2021 5:00 am

I equate flowers with joy. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing or being around these awesome creations. Flowers bring happiness to any occasion and, in my opinion, is the perfect gift.

This is why I love Valentine’s Day. Flowers make me feel loved when they are given, and emit positivity and good vibes when I am surrounded by them.

When I was growing up, my mom used to fill our home with flowers, which she would artistically arrange herself in ikebana or freestyle. Although blooms have a lifespan, it reminds me that everything is fleeting and to enjoy the moment. My favorite flowers are peonies and hydrangeas, but really, I love them all.

 Cosetta Sei arrangement of peonies

I spoke to Stephanie Coyiuto-Tay about Fig & Vine Floral Studio, which she owns with husband Joseph Tay, about precious blossoms, which is a topic close to my heart.

You have been in the furniture/interior design business with your Casa Bella for years now. Is your flower shop an offshoot of it? What made you get into flowers?

 Prima vased arrangement

STEPHANIE COYIUTO-TAY:  Yes, our floral studio is definitely an offshoot of our furniture business. There is nothing quite like being surrounded by fresh flowers. I always say that flowers bring beauty to a space, but more than that, breathe life to the soul.

Over time, our clients have become our friends and we have been asked to help them set up their home (that we furnished) for a dinner party, for an afternoon cocktail with friends, or simply to assist in arranging flowers they bought on their own from the market. My mom herself loves flowers and plants, and she is a source of inspiration in terms of creativity. It seemed like a natural progression for us to open our own flower shop in our furniture showroom.

 How big is your love: Kim Chiu gets a customized Valentine’s surprise.

What are your favorite flowers? Where do you source your flowers?

My all-time favorites to work with are proteas, phalaenopsis, cymbidium orchids and amaryllis, as they are so dramatic.

 Custom Meliora arrangement

In terms of receiving, peonies and English roses for me are the most romantic. We also try to work with local flowers as much as possible, which is why you see a wide range of styles in terms of arrangements that we do. We also do sympathy arrangements, which uses a lot of locally grown anthuriums and orchids. Other than that, we also source from Taipei and Europe.

How would you describe the style of your arrangements?

 Festive arrangement with amaryllis

I would describe our floral studio’s style as a mix of modern arranging, oriental, and garden style. I chose the name “Fig and Vine,” because the name itself brings to mind the image of a garden. Balance and color harmony are of key importance to me when I arrange flowers.  

Are there any trends in flower arrangements? What are they?

 Gabriella tulip bouquet

Soft neutrals, minimalist arrangements, dried flower arrangements, and functional flowers. “Functional flowers” meaning flowering plants. Plants have been a big trendsetter this 2020, and this has extended to flower arrangements. We have gone from selling fresh flowers to potted plants, ornamentals, and flowering plants, such as Begonia Joy and potted Holland roses.

 Preserved florals in dome

What are the most popular flowers that your clients order?

We find that for couples, guys still tend to favor the classic rose arrangements. For Valentine’s, Ecuadorian rose arrangements still make up about 50% of orders. Other than that, peonies and phalaenopsis arrangements are also hugely popular.

 Arrangement of phalaenopsis with peonies

Do people order flowers more for gifts or to decorate their homes?

A mix. The big days in the flower world: Valentine’s, Christmas (the holiday season) and Mother’s Day see a lot of orders for gift giving. The rest of the year we get a lot of orders for personal use, especially for our dried flower arrangements.

  Stenie Coyiuto-Tay with peonies by Fig & Vine

For Valentine’s Day, are other flowers ordered aside from red roses?

Yes, w are surprised to see men being knowledgeable in terms of flower arrangements! While they still tend to favor red roses, they also mix it up now with tulips and peonies. Some go for phalaenopsis because these last longer.

Banner and thumbnail caption: Joseph Tay with a huge bouquet for wife Stenie.