One For The Family
Small family businesses hold a special place in Australia’s heart, keeping many industries – including the wedding industry – afloat with a willing passion, authentic face-to-face service and a sense of teamwork that is often missing in larger corporations. Here, Kirrily Ireland delves into the worlds of Scent of a Fleur and Design Impression, respectively owned by mother Marie Therese Haila and daughter Chanel Haddad, and discovers how this family works together to bring wedding dreams to life.
Images courtesy of Design Impression and Scent of a Fleur
IN THE BEGINNING
Both Scent of a Fleur and Design Impression have humble beginnings, but have since built an interwoven path to success, supported by the foundations of their own separate businesses as well as each other’s.
For Marie Therese, her interest in floral arrangements and decorating – which is the core focus of Scent of a Fleur – started more than twenty years ago. “I always had an interest whenever we had family functions in assisting to decorate and put together arrangements,” she says. “I was quite creative and found myself really enjoying my time while doing this.” This interest saw her pursue a course in floral arrangements to become a qualified florist. Such passion led her to flourish in class.
“After completion of the course, I was offered employment by the florist business where the course was conducted,” Marie Therese explains. “I worked there [for] four years and learnt a lot, and gained some valuable experience. I specialised in wedding florals and decided this was the area I wanted to focus in and [soon after] I set up my own business, Scent of a Fleur.”
Chanel had a similar, yet slightly different, experience to her mother, starting with a university qualification in graphic design, then creating a freelance business that focused on corporate branding and advertising. However, it was through her mother – who was already well established in the wedding industry – that the designer forged her own path into the world of weddings. “One day, my mum was meeting with one of her customers, who was a family friend of ours and was aware that I was a designer. She approached me and asked if I was interested in designing her wedding invitations. I had always loved and had a passion for all things related to weddings, events and event planning, however it never really occurred to me to steer my business in that direction and combine my two passions together. I of course said yes to the opportunity and that’s how Design Impression was born,” she explains.
We Are Family
This somewhat serendipitous start for Chanel and her business designing wedding invitations and stationery has set the tone for how Design Impression and Scent of a Fleur operate both separately and collaboratively. One thing from the designer’s story is abundantly clear: having another family member in the biz can work wonders when it comes to client connections.
The benefits work both ways; by having two businesses that specialise in two separate vocations within the one family, the process is more convenient for the bride- or groom-to-be. “Our businesses operate separately,” Chanel confirms, “however when clients come in for consultations, we offer package deals when using both Design Impression and Scent of a Fleur. If clients do choose to use both [of] our businesses, we work together to provide our services so that themes [and] colours are cohesive, and everything works well together.”
The mother and daughter duo continue to promote each other when working with clients, and even work in the same space. Marie Therese explains, “My daughter has also set-up in my showroom too, so we are both set-up together. We usually provide referrals to each other and typically when potential clients visit either myself or my daughter, it’s natural that we promote each other’s business, especially as both businesses are displayed in our showroom.”
Not only are these collaborations good for business, but they’re also fun as well. By combining their two specialities, the mother and daughter often find themselves more pleased with the end result. “The thing I most enjoy about working together is that we get to do what we love together and produce something really special for our clients,” Chanel says.
“I enjoy the collaboration with my daughter’s business. I am very proud of her for someone so young to be driven and ambitious and if I can assist her in this process through working together it makes me very happy. We are both passionate about our work and both want the best for our clients,” the florist also affirms.
Of course, it’s not all business, all the time. Over the years, the mother and daughter have managed to incorporate a healthy work-life balance. Since these business partners of sorts share genetics, this involves “separating the personal relationship from the work relationship”. Marie Therese adds, “I switch off sometimes, take regular holidays, and ensure I have family time, which is critical.”
Family business or not, both ladies attest to the importance of having personal time away from the job. Running a small business can make the line between work and home time a little blurry, but with good organisation and clear boundaries, the mother and daughter have found ways to manage. “The way the business is set-up is quite flexible and because [I work] from home, sometimes I do end up working in the evenings, however I try to always balance my time,” Marie Therese says. To add to that, her daughter’s advice is “to always ensure you keep your personal life and work life separate”. “I try to set work hours in my day so that I switch off after those hours are finished, which can be challenging when you work from home.”
Despite the two worlds sometimes seeping into one another, Marie Therese and Chanel find that getting to work together makes it all worthwhile. “Working with my daughter and my husband helping overall is actually a beautiful thing that I enjoy,” the florist says. Weddings are all about the unification of family and joining two halves to make a whole; the mother and daughter duo couldn’t have picked a better industry to join forces over and find success in, thanks to the power of their incredible family.