Love For Flowers Leads To Livelihood


Growing up between fragrant peonies, colourful hydrangeas and lilies, Reena Nandani felt her botanical garden was a haven of joy and somewhere she could escape to from all the worries of the world.
Married with two children, Mrs Nandani, who is now a professional florist, shares her story of how growing flowers just as a hobby turned into a “blooming” business which is the source of livelihood for her family.
Originally from Korowiri, Labasa, the 33-year-old shared her struggles of how her flower business flourished over the past five years. “I specialise in planting Kalanchoë, this is a genus of about 125 species of tropical, succulent flowering plants in the family Crassulaceae, mainly native to Madagascar and tropical Africa.” “From my own experience in planting this particular flower when it begins to bloom I can clearly tell the colour of the flower.” “I have become accustomed to planting this flower and from my own experience a lot of people purchase this flowers for decorations purposes for their homes.”
For Kalanchoë blooming season begins from April to November and during the offseason Mrs Nandani plants other flowers like bougainvillea, palms trees, fruit trees, grafting plants, roses, euphorbia and cactus.
“Hungry for more, I started teaching myself the craft of wild flower arranging. I learnt that wild flowers behave differently during its seasons.” “I simply wanted to spend more time in the garden as I became aware of what unique and wonderful flowers could be grown in our climate.”
Mrs Nandani had been funding her own business until 2017 when she received grant from the Government under the Micro and Small Business Grant (MSBG) which enabled her to fund the construction of a nursery for her flowers.
“My contribution was $12,000 worth of materials. This includes gravel, sand and labour and Government assisted me with $1000. In total that was around $13,000. We built a greenhouse to keep my flowers. This assistance included labour and materials to complete this project.” She hopes to expand her business to wholesale rather than selling at the markets which she says does not earn a lot.
“I am able to sell a lot when people place their orders and buy in bulk on daily basis I am able to earn close to $800-$900.”
With more than 50 varieties of flowers in her farm, some of which were imported, Mrs Nandani plans to expand her business.