A retail gift experience in a modern florist shop
Laura Draghici was raised in what she describes as a “mathematics family”—both of her parents were college math teachers in Ploiești, Romania. She never dreamed that she would grow up to be owner of one of the most popular floral design studios in the country.
“I learned a lot about mathematics and nothing about art or flowers,” she says. “I became an economist, a specialist in finance and banks, and I used to work in a bank for 15 years.” Seven of those years, she served as the branch manager of a bank in Romania, and a staple on her desk every morning was fresh flowers.
“I would buy them for myself, and I put them in a vase on my desk to make my long days easier and nicer,” Draghici recalls. “I’ve always been in love with flowers. I love to see them; feel them; and admire their colors, textures and shapes.”
By 2012, she decided to make a life-altering career change, trading in her bank position for her own business. “The thing I knew best was finance consultancy, credit consultancy and business development, so I felt prepared to open my own company,” she explains. “But I needed to learn more about flowers.”
So, she enrolled in a theoretical online course to learn more about the floral industry. “It was a totally different field for me, and I knew almost nothing about it,” she shares. She also studied with renowned international floral designers and learned everything she could from books and the internet. Among those she studied with are Gregor Lersch, Tomas De Bruyne, Julie Pearson, Amanda Randell, Rosa Valls, Linda Nielsen, Lucinda van der Ploeg and Stijn Simaeys.
In addition to her floral studies, Draghici earned a Global EMBA degree so she could call herself a “real entrepreneur.” And currently, she’s a student in the European Master Certification (EMC) program, and she’s on pace to earn her certificate in November of this year.
Once Draghici completed her initial floral and business studies, it was time for her to open her own one-of-a-kind flower studio, Chic Fleuriste, in her hometown of Ploiești, in 2014. “When I opened my studio, I decided that I didn’t want to take on too much work because during all the years at the bank, I had so much stress and no free time,” she states. “I didn’t want to go back there. So, I work with only clients who are interesting to me and who challenge me.”
Draghici considers choosing to limit her client base to be the best business decision she’s made. “With this decision, I may lose some clients, but I win the best clients for me,” she explains. “It is not an easy decision, and most of the time, it is difficult to say ‘no’ to a prospective customer, but long-term, it is what’s best for me.
“My specialty is floral jewelry,” Draghici continues, “but I also design for weddings, christenings and corporate parties as well as day-to-day floral gifts. All my floral expressions are unique, and I don’t like to repeat myself. I also don’t copy other floral artists.” These qualities—and others—are among the reasons that Draghici is able to be selective about those she chooses to serve.
Draghici’s design philosophy is simple: She creates with her mind, hands and heart. “I love to make personalized designs for people, and the moment I give them a bouquet or arrangement is the perfect moment for me,” Draghici says. “Seeing that moment of happiness, wonder, astonishment and surprise, and that happy look in their eyes, makes me happy, too, and it inspires me to take my creativity further and further.”
Because of the distinctiveness of Draghici’s floral stylings, flower lovers have sought her out, and her business has evolved a great deal over the years; however, she continues to work only with select customers, in her 538-square-foot studio. The studio has a front room in which Draghici consults with her special and lucky clients, and there is another room in the back where her creative magic happens. Together with her friend and sole employee, Anca Cretu, “We design wonderful things,” she exclaims.
When COVID-19 hit, Draghici was forced to close her studio for three months, and that was a sad time for her. “I stayed at home, and I was very disappointed for the first couple of days about what was happening,” she shares. But then I started to create from home with what I had in my garden, with flowers from my trees in the spring and with my foliage from my houseplants.”
She also started to participate in flower competitions on Facebook and Instagram and found renewed inspiration by seeing other artists’ work. She also finally found time to study for her EMC advanced exams. By the time she went back to work in June, she had developed a new branding plan for Chic Fleuriste.
Over the six years she has owned her business, Draghici has not lost any of her commitment to flowers, and she loves the industry as much as she ever has. “This whole floral industry fascinates me,” she informs. “The biggest challenge is to be different and creative. For me, the flower world is new and exciting. I discovered it at 40, but it is never too late. Every minute I’ve spent in the industry has been worth it.
Looking ahead, this talented floral artist hopes to continue to make people happy, offering flowers and ideas to make their lives bloom. “Especially now, when many people are sad and depressed about the current world situation,” she elaborates. “I also plan to finish my EMC studies and hope to be better and better in the floral arena. The business will evolve because of my continuing education—and because people will always love the beauty of flowers.”