We are always thrilled to meet new members of the Green Hip Tribe and what a treat it was to learn about Janae’s journey into the world of micro flower farming. Everyone comes from such unique and inspiring backgrounds, each with their own story to tell. In this week’s blog post we deep dive into flower growing and the beautiful business that is Fleurs De Lyonville.
From Little Things Big Things Grow
Janae Paquin-Bowden lives in a beautiful part of the country called Lyonville, located only 15 minutes west of Daylesford, Victoria, amongst the rolling hills and Australian bush. Janae grew up in Bendigo surrounded by horticulture; her Mum and Dad own a landscaping business and they are both native plant gurus, and they are developing a native plant nursery. To say horticulture was in Janae’s veins would be an understatement. When she graduated high school, Janae decided to study the Arts, majoring in ceramics, followed by a diploma of education. Little did she know she would one day own her own micro flower farm.
After living in France, Janae met her future husband, Chris, a Canadian living in Melbourne, while both teaching at the same school. It was their wedding that took Janae on a completely different career path into horticulture. With the vision to have flowers en masse for their wedding, they struggled to find a seasonal, chemical-free flower grower they could purchase from directly. After searching high and low they eventually found a lovely couple who were happy to trade the flowers for one of Chris and Janae’s black-faced Suffolk lambs. The day came for them to perform the exchange and the moment Janae and Chris opened the van door they were engulfed with the fragrance and beauty of foxgloves to Queen Anne’s lace; the joy of that moment will never be forgotten.
This was the beginning of a business idea that was soon to bloom!
The Business journey begins
While working as a primary school teacher in Woodend, Janae set to work on the business plan for her new business. Fleurs de Lyonville (which is French for Flowers of Lyonville) was born after 2 years of planning. Although her husband couldn’t visualise the dream, she trusted her gut feelings and learnings from her research that Fleurs de Lyonville was to be a success. With determination and drive, Janae launched in 2017. Set on 8 acres of land, Janae was to create one of the first micro flower farms for the region that deals directly with the public. Her focus was to supply weddings and events through cut flowers for the bride and groom to arrange themselves. When COVID hit, Janae had to quickly change her plans and adjust how they were to provide their customers with flowers.
But hang on! What can Janae wear?
During our conversation Janae was exasperated and frustrated at how difficult it was for her to find work clothes that were appropriate for the job. She would often see men at school, picking up their children, wearing their farming gear and thinking ‘Why can’t I be comfortable too?!’. After a few attempts at wearing clothing by a few well-known men’s workwear brands that were ‘just wrong and didn’t fit’ Janae was relieved to find Green Hip that helps her express her sense of worth and enhances her sense of identity while working on her farm. Now she could dash from farm to school pick-ups in comfortable and stylish work clothing fit for the job. ‘I wear my work overalls every day. They are just perfect for dirty farm work but look presentable when delivering my flowers to local stores. It’s great, there’s no need to get changed when on the road!’.
The Dream! What's to come in the next 5 years...
Like many people’s experience during the pandemic, COVID certainly created a hurdle for Fleurs De Lyonville but quick-thinking Janae and Chris set to work with changing their business plan. It was obvious to them that people still, if not more so, wanted flowers to keep their lives cheerful and customers were still allowed to shop at supermarkets. They could no longer rely on events. However, farmers markets and supermarkets were still in operation. Janae approached her local supermarkets with her gorgeous two children in tow and signed up her first supermarket in Trentham. Now, Fleurs de Lyonville sells a large portion of their flowers to supermarkets and boutique stores in Trentham, Daylesford, Castlemaine and Woodend. Janae has dreams to expand her stockist list to the Bendigo and Ballarat regions. Janae fills her van with buckets and flowers and can easily swap the buckets at the supermarket so there is a no waste, no single-use plastic approach. Can this business get anymore awesome?! Well yes! Janae’s 3-5 year plan is to employ an all female team, double the size of their farm and conduct workshops to share the knowledge she has gained over the years. She has also started her ceramic work again and is loving spending time in her studio creating works of art (is there nothing this woman can’t do?!). Janae is excited about the future growth of her business and continuing to bring joy to people living in country Victoria through her flowers and artwork.
Follow Janae @fleurs_de_lyonville @janae_paquinbowden
Photos supplied by Jane @theunlocked.co and @fleursdelyonville