Amy Thai is bringing flower power with a French twist to her Sydney business Don de L’Amour.
Designers are artists at their core and Amy Thai is no exception. Initially drawn to clothes, textures and fabrics, she finally found her medium in flowers.
In 2017 she sold her car, packed her bags and moved from her home in Sydney to Paris, to pursue her dream of working with the world’s most talented floral designers.
“I’m more afraid of living a life with regret,” Amy tells Kochie’s Business Builders. “All I had was my portfolio in one hand, and a list of all the top floral designers in the other, and I went door knocking. I had a lot of rejections to begin with because I didn’t speak any French – nothing at all, except for ‘Bonjour’. But I kept going in every single day.”
Amy’s persistence paid off and she eventually landed a job working for world-renowned florist Chauvin Paris and spent her days creating florals for haute couture fashion houses, in chateaus, and for high-profile events.
Two years later in 2019, Amy returned home to Sydney, determined to bring the old-world charm, complexity and sophistication she’d experienced in France and instil that into her signature bouquets, bespoke events and full-scale installations. Enter Don de L’Amour, Amy’s floral design and events studio.
Watch: Amy Thai from Don de L’Amour. Post continues after video.
“I was taken in by the way [the French] designed, the way they arranged a bouquet,” says Amy. “There’s a deeper level of awareness I feel in the composition. Every stem is made with purpose. Every element is thought about, and there’s so much substance in everything.”
The company – whose name means ‘gift of love’ in French – consciously moved away from the one-size-fits-all online retail business model.
“We want to deliver more creative and unique arrangements by pushing the boundaries of what botanicals can do – functionally and aesthetically,” says Amy.
Before COVID-19, events were a big part of Don de L’Amour’s business, so Amy had to identify different opportunities.
“Because people couldn’t see their friends and family members as often as they could, our online sales escalated,” she says.
With all the running around this entails – going to markets early in the morning, shooting photography and videos in-store for events and workshops – Amy needed a van she could rely on.
She chose the Peugeot Partner, one of a range of the car manufacturer’s recent debut into the commercial van segment. The vans are built on an SUV platform, offering the comfort and drivability of a recreational vehicle, with the functional use of a van, making them ideal for small and medium-sized businesses that have a mobility component to their business.
The Peugeot Partner’s tagline is ‘Just Born. Already a Winner’ – which can equally be applied to Amy’s business, and as it turns out, this particular model reflects the ethos of the Don de L’Amour brand.
“My favourite thing about the van is the little espresso cup holder, which is a beautiful French touch,” says Amy.
The company is continuing to deliver during the Sydney lockdown and is running online floral masterclasses, too. For those weddings that are taking place (albeit, on a smaller scale), Amy is still being sought out for her unique floral arrangements.
She loves being part of making a couple’s special day even more memorable, but says her job is not all sunshine and roses (well, maybe roses sometimes).
“A lot of people don’t see the reality in the floral business,” she says. “They see the glamorous side, the beautiful side. But it’s a hard industry to work in because we have to get up super early to be at the markets by 5am. When it’s a wedding, we have to wait till the wedding finishes and take everything away, so that can be into the early morning.”
Yet Amy wouldn’t have it any other way. “The philosophy for my brand is all about integrity, quality, and branding,” she says. “And I guess that’s why it makes it so successful.”
This content is brought to you by Kochie’s Business Builders in partnership with Peugeot.