Spring is a season of colour and new beginnings. We took some time to chat with Melanie Stapleton of Cecilia Fox about what she loves about the pre-summer months and the lovely new retail space she has opened in Brunswick.
Leon Goh: Hi Melanie, can you tell us a little a bit about yourself?
Melanie Stapleton: Well, I grew up in New Zealand in the big dark suburbs of Auckland and I left school when I was 16 to become a florist. My mother made me go and ask for a part-time job and I ended up loving it. After earning my stripes sweeping floors and tending to dead flowers, I spent the next few years travelling – which was great for inspiration – and ended up in London, which ultimately changed my life. Moving to Melbourne, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do flowers…and decided to do textiles at RMIT. This was amazing because it gave me other cross-disciplinary skills that meant I didn’t just do floristry. I then worked at Vasette [on Brunswick Street] and also freelanced heavily before starting up my blog, which really kick-started this small but lovely Cecilia Fox journey.
LG: Recently you've been quite busy opening up a new store in Brunswick. How has it been making the transition from a project florist to a retail florist?
MS: It’s a real challenge, but the main reason we opened the space was because it seemed like the perfect time. The space came up and it’s really close to our studio and it was a great opportunity to have a much more public face. Previously I’d always wanted things to be bit mysterious, but it’s been great to connect with our community. Buying flowers for a store that’s open for four days is also challenging but really fun – I can buy anything that I want and not have any overarching ‘blue’ or ‘white’ themes…like weddings sometimes do.
LG: Having seen your work first hand, you've been able to recast fruit and vegetables, objects and detritus into your floral displays. Is this something that's a core consideration of your work?
MS: Yeah, I don’t really see any difference if its fruit and vegetables or objects…as long as it’s from nature.
LG: For me, spring heralds abundance and new beginnings. What do you look forward to most in spring?
MS: Well, this spring we are most looking forward to having our baby! Other than that, I actually just wanted to have a pop-up shop, but it ended up evolving into this much more permanent space… Melbourne is great for spring because there’s such a sense of change in the air and activity as people discard their winter shackles.
LG: Do you have any tips for readers looking to brighten up their studios or living spaces after winter?
MS: The beauty of spring flowers is they have this notion of being quite temporary and fleeting, which I love. Spring flowers are also often inexpensive, so I would say to buy a bunch almost every week, sometimes even twice a week and don’t get hung up about them lasting. For me, it’s about a constant sense of renewal in spring and I think for your personal space, regular little spurts of floral colour can add just that.
LG: Finally, what are your all time favourite spring flowers?
MS: I like really naïve and nostalgic flowers, so sweet peas definitely, freesias… How many can I have? Also forget me nots, anemones, ranunculus. Those are probably my top five.
221b Blyth Street, Brunswick East
Sat & Sun 10am–2pm