Helena is the founder of Florissima Bella, a brand where she creates stunning hair accessories, headpieces and incorporates handmade silk and leather flowers. Alongside this she creates stunning acccesories and we love her style. So much so, we went to find out more.
Here, we get an insight in to her creative process…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
I was 7 or 8 years old when I first found a book on making silk flowers in my parents’ library. I got so interested that I asked my dad to make me some tools, and he did. Yet it turned out to be pretty difficult to source all the materials and systematically work on this new craft so I almost forgot about it.
It was in 2011 that I re-discovered it on Internet and started to invest all my spare time and efforts into learning it. First on my own, then with the help of craft forums and finally I got a proper education on making both traditional French (European) and contemporary Japanese techniques. I also did several courses on making leather flowers.
At the same time as we moved to UK in 2013 I got a perfect opportunity to study millinery thus combining flower making with creating of modern headwear.
Florissima bella was launched in 2016 with its first collection of bridal hair accessories “Lilac Mist and Rose Ashes”. In 2017 the second collection “Winter Wonderland” has been released with a line of cocktail hats added to the wedding headpieces.
Whats your background?
Having always been interested in various crafts, it yet took me quite a while to dare following my passion of creating accessories. Instead I started by living my other passions, languages and travelling. So far I have lived and worked in 4 countries and speak 5 languages, and hope it is not the limit.
I believe that there is no such thing as one education that lasts all your life, one should constantly strive to achieve higher in one’s occupation. I do learn from famous designers and talented tutors whenever I can and do dream one day to travel to Japan to do a certified course in flower making.
How many people are involved in the company and what are their roles?
My company is just me at the moment, and honestly, I would like to keep it that way. Being an artisan has its advantages and disadvantages, yet this is the best form if you would like to keep the standard of your work high. Making flowers and headwear from scratch is extremely labour and time intensive and you cannot outsource much in the process really.
At the same time I can think about hiring some marketing and administrative help later in business.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
As I am pretty much at the beginning and have loads to learn yet, I do not think I would do anything differently.
What is the hardest challenge you have faced since you started the company?
The hardest challenge is to find my client, the one who is after something truly special and is ready to invest in it. Nowadays when uber cheap import accessories have lowered both the quality and the prices it is important to make something that speaks for itself and is perceived as of high value by the customers.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know?
For many years I have successfully resisted the Sudoku craze but this year I got really hooked on it, and try to beat the records on my mobile, right now I am cracking the “hard” level down.
2017 is here, where do you plan on taking the brand?
I am working on my marketing strategy, as just making fab accessories won’t take you long in this competitive market.
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
The fact that my creations got out of my studio and are worn by beautiful brides on their big day, this recognition is priceless.
Which city do you feel most at home in, London, Paris or New York?
Oh, difficult one, possibly, Paris, where I had lived for 4 years some time ago.
Three beauty products you can’t leave the house without?
Mineral make-up and lip balm, made by myself, and some perfume.
Being yourself and having fun in whatever clothes you fancy.
Best thing about London to you?
Incredibly multifaceted city, you can find absolutely everything here!
Statement shoe or statement bag?
Shooooes, plenty of.
If you had to, what piece of clothing from your wardrobe would you wear everyday?
Favourite love song?
Céline Dion – Immensité
Best place for a coffee?
Green tea with jasmine in a good Japanese restaurant.
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
People can show you the direction but only you can walk the way.
Those little Lindt round chocolates
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
In a Galaxy far, far away… or in a middle of shooting of the new Star Wars.
In future, how do you plan on expanding the company?
After establishing myself as a designer of bridal hair accessories I would also like to launch millinery collections.
Find out more…