Visit Botanica Bird's new retail store in Mayfield
What originally started as a way for Rachael Cullen to document her botanical illustrations has turned into a passion for floristry and sustainability that is at the heart of the wildly successful Botanica Bird.
Rachael started crafting floral arrangements in 2015, initially freelancing and working in florists before launching Botanica Bird in 2015. Over the last five years, she’s built a loyal following, which has seen her floral arrangements pop up at many a wedding, hotel reception and artistic installation.
In March this year, Rachael took the next step with Botanica Bird, opening a retail space in Mayfield West. Called BB at the Table, Rachael now not only has a lot more space, but has begun stocking Australian made ceramics, and tableware.
"This space came organically to us. I've always worked from home and everything's online. Up until Covid I was only doing weddings and events, but following postponement after postponement, I had to pivot, so I started doing deliveries. Eventually I needed to get out of the house, and this was the perfect size. The idea for a retail store came from the space."
With the building set to be knocked down, Rachael explained that she sees this as a trial to see how things go with a storefront.
"I didn't want to be a florist shop, I didn't want to deal with the pressure of that constant rotation. My favourite thing about flowers is setting up dinner parties, so that's why I've ventured into Australian made tableware."
Rachael’s passion for locally-sourced flowers has been front and centre with her floral artistry for some time now, and this commitment has carried over to BB at the Table.
“I am always looking for Australian made tableware, but it's mostly made overseas," Rachael said.
"When I buy for myself I always buy Australian made and it was a little bit more difficult to find a place that was niche in that market, so I thought I would give that a crack."
“I started sourcing Australian grown in the second or third year of my business, because I saw how many imported flowers were being used. I started looking into the chemicals that were being sprayed on these flowers and I really didn't want to keep touching these products, so that's when I made the switch.”
Rachael now uses entirely Australian grown flowers, biodegradable paper, and she doesn’t use any floral foam, which is a single use plastic.
Relying on Australian grown flowers means seasonality is key for Botanica Bird. With different flowers available each season, Rachael ends up working from a different colour palette as the seasons change.
“Because I've been working with Australian grown for six years now I am pretty good at knowing when certain flowers come into season. I am not going off forecasts and colour predictions, it's purely what flowers are coming into season, and I'll copy the tableware to match.”
Rachael says that working this way helps her connect to her surroundings more than if she was working with imported flowers. The end result is floral arrangements that are true to her vision of what floristry should be.
The dedication to sustainability doesn’t end with Rachael’s product. Much of the fit out for BB at the Table is sourced from Facebook Marketplace, and Rachael’s work table is from Resourceful Living – made from 785 recycled shampoo bottles!
Rachael’s team has grown too – her mum Tracey moved from Tamworth to Newcastle last year and now works with Botanica Bird three days a week.
For those who love Rachael’s flowers, you can rest assured they’re still the main part of the Botanica Bird business. Only now, you can match your arrangement with gorgeous Australian made tableware.