Two years ago, Kieran Birchall was working as an estate agent and hating it. He’d moved from Yamba to the big smoke and his office job wasn’t giving him much joy at all. As a hobby, Birchall started an internet floristry business for weekend deliveries, promoting his small venture through Instagram and word of mouth. Now, 18 months since ditching the corporate life, the Sydney-based florist has opened his first store in Paddington.
Birchall’s new store and workshop is part of Comber Street Studios. It’s off the beaten track, and his closest neighbours are fashion designers Toni Maticevski and Kacey Devlin. “It’s a cool little spot,” says 25-year-old Birchall. “We needed somewhere people could have a chat about ideas and see flowers in the flesh rather than via email.” It’s perfect for last-minute customers who need a bouquet made up on the spot.
My Flower Man’s arrangements are simple, minimalistic and always feature natives paired with imported flowers. “I love using eucalyptus and hearty Australian foliages with roses and orchids and tulips,” he says. “The king protea is particularly popular – it’s a statement flower. I have growers who cut proteas just for me now.”
From humble beginnings and virtually no professional training, Birchall has grown his business to include clients Bassike, H&M Australia, Sass & Bide, Toni Maticevski and Automata restaurant, as well as weddings. “I was getting to a point where I was turning away work because I couldn’t fit them into my schedule,” says Birchall. “The whole business is a passion project – it’s my baby. I’ve grown it up and it’s getting bigger all the time.”
Has the career move been worth the stress? “Early mornings suck big time,” Birchall laughs. “It’s rewarding, but the hours are a killer.” At 3.45am, My Flower Man is up and out in order to pick the best in-season flowers at Flemington Markets. “We only buy from local growers, when we can. We don’t overcomplicate things, generally featuring a maximum of five varieties in a mixed bunch.”
You can still buy the signature MFM Bunch for $50 (small), and the online shop remains his main focus, but for Birchall it’s a very good feeling to have a real-life store after only two years on the beat. “I never really thought I was going to be a full-time florist,” he says. “It’s cool to see something that started as an Instagram account become fully fledged.”