Purple flower-shaped heart
They say it takes two to tango and when these two start “dancing”, flowers seem to accompany them everywhere. The flower-power duo at Purple Flowers & Events is always up for working their magic with flowers, turning natural beauties into eye-catching, heart-melting floral couture designs.
I briefly met Dhaniel (remember the amazing guy I was telling you about here?) in the second part of last year and we instantly clicked (at least I did, so Dhaniel, please play along with me), but it was long after we first talked, that I discovered his work and passion for flowers.
Left: Roxana & Dhaniel and their amazing flower cover for Harper’s BAZAAR /
Right: Dhaniel’s take on “Up”
Hello, Dhaniel! Thank you for doing this!
Hello and thank you for your kind words. And yes, I clicked instantly, no worry… I guess that people with “similar roots” speak the same language, that’s why.
How did you make the transition from a steady career in banking to follow your passion for floral design?
Well… it was not that hard. Even if I was dreaming of a banker career in school, soon after I graduated (I studied Economics) and I started fulfilling my dream, I realized that it was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and “somebody up there” gave me the chance to choose between going on with a normal job in a bank or starting a new and creative one, yet unknown. If I took the right decision or not… only time will tell, but now I am more than happy with my life.
What were some of your concerns while taking a leap of faith and who was there for moral support and advice?
Concerns? None (laughing). My parents told me that I’m insane. My friends from Sibiu (I started to do floral design in my hometown) told me that I should go for what I want. But everybody was supporting me no matter what. And as I was 24 at that time, I considered that if something goes wrong I can anytime start doing something else. I guess that there are moments in life when you need a little bit of insanity to be able to achieve your goals.
Was there a specific “aha-moment” when you just knew that one day you would own a floral design company?
This is related with the previous answer. It went wrong. After a year I moved in Bucharest with a very good friend with whom I started to work in Sibiu but after 6 months here, I realized that things were not how I imagined them to be. And when I was almost ready to quit and turn back home in Sibiu, the same “somebody up there” showed me that I am meant to do floral design. This was the moment. I am very grateful that at the same time I met Roxana – she is a very hard working person and we work great together. I really appreciate her as she’s taking care of all the administrative part of the business (and not only) so I can focus on what I love more … flowers.
What have been some of the most rewarding moments for you as a creative entrepreneur?
Even if I started doing floral design few years ago, and I did a lot of events (all kind) after each and single event I cannot completely relax till I don’t receive feedback from my customers. That call or text in which they tell me that everything is looking great and that it turned out how they imagined it, is the biggest reward for me, and it gives me the motivation and the strength to go further.
Left & Right: Style and Nature Green Carpet Event, photo credit Cosmin Gogu
What is a common misconception Romanians (still) have regarding floral design?
(Laughing) There are so many, I don’t know which ones to choose. The funniest ones for me are superstitions, and most of them related to death and marriage (a little creepy, I know) (laughing again) Carnations are for dead people, Calla Lilies the same, even numbers the same, candles at the wedding bring tears in the future, white is only for the bride, and so on.
I like Carnations and Calla Lilies and candles, I don’t care about the number of the flowers as long as they look good, and I never lived my life according to what “they say”. I try as much as possible to teach my customers to focus on the final aspect and on what they like and need. Plus, I find superstitions or what “they say” a source of negative energy and I try to stay away, this kind of things don’t bring anything good in our lives.
What is your design philosophy?
Well … my life philosophy is ‘feel free to dream and ready to work towards fulfilling this dream’… I kind of follow the same belief in my work… nothing is impossible, nothing is too much or too less, I don’t believe that all the time “less is more”, sometimes “more is better”.
I create stories in the floral arrangements I do, I draw lines, I mix colors in a certain way, but somehow I’m the only one seeing this (laughing)… [yes, I do laugh and smile a lot]… still my customers like what I do for them and they are happy. Usually, I think about the person that will receive the floral arrangement that I’m doing and I start dreaming and working.
What are your favorite flowers to work with?
There are so many flowers in the world that is impossible to name one flower that I like without thinking of another one in the next second. I just love them all and I still surprise myself every now and then staring at one flower and wondering how much beauty could fit in it.
Do you subscribe to any mantras or mottoes?
We could address this question separately and start a new interview. I could say that I don’t subscribe to anything but to myself. I know what I said earlier about my life philosophy, and here comes the explanation. I believe that there is a supernatural power/energy beyond our comprehension which most people refer to as “God”/”Allah”/”Buddha”/etc. and that we are interacting with this energy through our daily actions.
Regardless we are all free to choose our own path in life, to take our own decisions and to think.
That’s why I say that everybody should be free to dream and ready to work towards fulfilling these dreams. And if we are talking about this “energy” I don’t really believe that the Devil exists. This concept was invented by humans due to the question marks that we have about our existence beginning, end and goal.
Having said this I understand the need for humanity to draw out of this “energy” and this invention some rules and some principles to keep people under some kind of control. I know, you will ask me now “But why do we need to keep people under control if everybody should be free to do what they want?” …well, I said that everybody should do what they want, but I didn’t say that they would do only “good things”.
We are all free to take our own decisions and act accordingly, which might result in some bad actions. Through our actions we will interact with the energy and receive good energy as response to good actions and bad energy for bad actions. Are you lost by now? … I told you this could be an entire new interview… you’ll ask me now “Ok, I got it but what is good and what is bad?” …(laughing)
Amazing dress for Consacre store (Bucharest)
Where do you turn for inspiration?
Everywhere. I just keep my eyes wide open, there is always something beautiful next to us waiting to be seen. And most of this beautiful things I find in theater (the love of my live), books, poetry, drawings, sculptures, music, movies, nature, landscapes, peoples cultures, traditions, even flowers themselves and many others.
Who are some artists whose work you admire?
Floral artists? Well… let’s put it this way, I appreciate all the artists (painters, actors, musicians, dancers, writers, florists, etc) that have the courage to stand up and give shape to their “interior creative combustion” Now, for sure some of the results will impress me more and some less.
Regarding the floral artists, we all know that the Dutch designers are the best in this job, and outside Holland I admire Preston Bailey from New York (his floral installations are just “wow”), Jeff Leatham from Paris (his own design style changed the entire perception that people have about floral arrangements), Bornay from Barcelona (the mixture of colors that she’s using is breathtaking) and Andreea Stor – she’s from Cluj but working mostly in London (her way of using new materials with flowers gives some amazing results).
What music have you been listening to lately? And is music a constant presence in your professional life as well?
It is. But I am not listening to a specific kind of music. I rather tend to follow my mood. So if today I am in the mood for Gaga, maybe yesterday it was Ace of Base and tomorrow will be classical. This I can’t control, it happened few times to me to like so much a song at a time so I was listening to it on repeat for one or two days and after that to change it with something completely different.
Some of my last “two days hits” were ‘Ride’ by Lana Del Rey, ‘I was here’ by Beyoncé and ‘Waltz of The Flowers’ (Op. 71 from ‘The Nutcracker’ by Tchaikovsky) performed by Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
If you were going to give an advice to a new flower designer, what would it be?
Don’t take no for an answer, go further, no matter what’s happening, and don’t let little disappointments to turn you away from your own path.
Floral design for Athenee Palace Hilton Bucharest
What is something you are looking forward to and what is the next step for you and your company?
We have 3 big projects for this year, and one of them will take off in February (wish me luck!). Will be something unique in Romania, and I believe people will like it because nowadays everything is on fast forward and some things that should be very personal, are turned into industries and lack the personal approach. Now I have to keep my mouth shut, but I’ll give you more details for sure, as soon as possible. I am sure you will like it too.
Last but not least, a personal curiosity: do you always have fresh flowers at home?
When I was not doing this, I used to buy flowers for my home. Now I don’t have to buy them anymore because I have them in the workshop (lucky me). Usually if I don’t have time to make small gifts from the leftover flowers (I order fresh new flowers from Holland every week) and send them to the women that are part of my life, I do take them at home and enjoy their beauty.
Thank you so much, Dhaniel!
Thank you too, I had so much fun. One thing is sure: I love to talk (sometimes I forget to stop) and to laugh.
*All images are courtesy of Purple Flowers & Events