Fleur le Cordeur is about blessing people on their special occasions - especially on their wedding day. The company loves everything about anything that grows from soil, and especially using these gifts from nature to bless people on whatever occasion may be important to them. It works with flowers - any colour, any texture and any scent - and is challenged by all the lovely and unique gifts from nature that it discovers on a daily basis.
The team is led by founder and creative extraordinaire Heike le Cordeur. She loves her job, her husband, her kids and her home, and wears her heart on her sleeve. She is all about family first, and her mom Johanna and sister Silke play a massive part-time role in ensuring that ideas stay fresh and that delivery is above standard.
What was your inspiration for the business?
I’ve always been passionate about beautiful things, flowers, fashion, and interior aspects, and yearned to be able to spend my days working with such elements. Fortunately, I am strong left- and right-brained, so the years of process and business experience I gained from working in the corporate space enabled me to start a technical business, which seems to look more creative!
Heike and family.
What motivated you to leave your corporate job and start Fleur le Cordeur?
I always knew that I’d end up doing something creative and that I’d end up working my passion rather than doing a job as a means to an end. I was motivated to have as much fun as possible while making as much money as possible. The money I was willing to compromise on but not the fun part.
What does your role involve?
The biggest part of my job is maintaining and growing relationships: between us and clients, between me and my family in times of pressure, between all the different personalities that work together at Fleur le Cordeur, and between us and the other amazing fellow experts in this industry. I love every moment of every challenge.
What are the specific challenges of working with flowers?
If your client wants ten different varieties, each has a different shelf life, likes to be kept in different temperatures, needs different levels of water, and must be treated differently.
It’s one of the most valuable things to learn these differences so that it’s second nature. It’s also a huge advantage to have all ten varieties open up and be at their most glorious for those ten hours of the event – timed so precisely and technically to display in this way – and that’s a challenge and a half! One lesson learned the hard way is that once flowers show signs of wilting, there is NO WAY to revive them. It’s over. Go to Plan B.
What else has been challenging?
Another difficulty I’ve continued to fight and overcome is managing staff and relationships within my team. Each member brings to work a whole world of their own into a small space and I cannot expect the issues and challenges they face to be left outside the building.
So it’s a constant challenge of managing relationships and emotional challenges within the team, keeping my team’s spirit up when we have been working 24-hour days back-to-back, and keeping them motivated.
How do you stay motivated?
I was and still am motivated by continuing to come up with new and innovative ways of working with flowers and to stay ahead of the game; not only by setting new trends but also by challenging the scope of what one can do with flowers.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
My dad said that I should dream as big as I can, multiply that by two, and work towards that result.
Eugene graduated from the University of Cape Town with distinctions in financial accounting and classical piano. He then spent over two-and-half years working in branding and communications at two of South Africa's top market research companies. Eugene also spent over three-and-a-half years at an eLearning start-up, all while building his business as an award-winning writer.
Visit www.eugeneyiga.com, follow @eugeneyiga on Twitter, or email to say, um, hello.
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