Sunday, 1 May 2011

In Conversation with Erika Smolders

MJ Howland Photography-411

Erika Smolders


Erica Smolders is without a doubt one of the best floral designers in the city. She runs the premiere luxury floral boutique, Rook and Rose located in the fashionable district in lower Johnson Street (aka "LoJo"). 


I met Erica over a year ago when she was opening her quaint shop, and since then every time I walk by on my way to the studio her floral displays outside make my day brighter and happier.  She always has the most beautiful and unexpected flower arrangements ready to take home and you'll undoubtedly find the most stunning selection of seasonal and exotic blooms as well. 


Erica Smolders and her talented team including Lolita, her bulldog (which has stolen my heart completely) are available to work with each and every client bringing the beauty, the unique and the unexpected to every floral creation.





Iván Meade - What is your favourite local find? Where did you get this item – how long have you had it?


Erica Smolders – Last spring I found a 1950’s Smith Corona typewriter while helping a friend clean out their garage. A few months later, I opened Rook & Rose and really liked the idea of using it at the shop to hand-type card messages and little love letters.




Iván Meade - Why is it important/inspirational to you?


Erica Smolders – I think it makes people happy. The sound of a typewriter might seem a bit out of place in a flower shop but it sure gets a lot of attention. I also really like that no two notes are ever the same. Some might be a tiny bit crooked or have a spot of white-out but I think that makes them special and I bet people will keep those cards for a really long time.


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Floral Design by Rook & Rose


Iván Meade -  How does this item reflect upon your personal design philosophy?


Erica Smolders – In floral design I really appreciate small, unexpected details and I think you can always tell when someone has taken the time to include those things. Plus, I love anything with a slight DIY vibe and I’m a sucker for anything vintage.


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Floral Design by Rook & Rose


Iván Meade - What was your first experience with floral design?


Erica Smolders – I was attending University overseas, took a part-time job at a small flower stand and fell in love with it. Within weeks I’d decided that I just had to be a floral designer... and the rest is history.


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Floral Design by Rook & Rose


Iván Meade - Who or what has influenced your style aside from nature itself?


Erica Smolders –Without a doubt, the years spent working in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore and were the most inspiring and influential experience I could have asked for as a young designer.



Floral Design by Rook & Rose


Iván Meade - Your shop is really unique and beautiful - It is not your typical flower shop what is your idea behind the shop?


Erica Smolders – I actually framed a restaurant napkin that I used to take notes when I was coming up with the concept for the shop. It says “clean, modern, stress the basics, affordable luxury, approachable design, beautiful packaging, quality customer service” and I think we’ve really done that.



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Rook & Rose – Floral Boutique


Iván Meade - It was very refreshing to find someone in the city who does new and different floral designs. How do you keep current in the floral industry?


Erica Smolders –My eyes are always open. I follow high fashion, interior design and modern art really closely and have noticed that it doesn’t take long anymore for trends in those industries to influence floral design.



Floral Design by Rook & Rose


Iván Meade - Do you feel that Victoria is ready for a change? Where do you see floral design going in the next 10 years?


Erica Smolders – Absolutely! There’s been efforts to push the envelope around the city but it’s sometimes been met with hesitation. Luckily, being a new business, we’ve built an incredibly supportive clientele who are always checking in to see what’s new and that really keeps us on our toes. Hopefully within the next 10 years more and more people will choose flowers to compliment the style of their surroundings and maybe those fluffy, tacky, novelty arrangements will finally retire! 


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Floral Design by Rook & Rose


Iván Meade - What project are you most proud of?


Erica Smolders – I live for the moments when a bride tells me that her bouquet was ‘exactly what she wanted’ or that the flowers were ‘the favourite part of her wedding day’. Knowing that you’ve made someone so happy on one of the most memorable days of their life... you just can’t beat that.


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Floral Bouquets by Rook & Rose


Iván Meade - What would be your dream project if you were given carte blanche?


Erica Smolders –I really love events to have either a clear theme or a really cohesive look, so a dream project for me would be having a hand in the planning process from the beginning so that I can spend a majority of my time on all the thoughtful little details. Our flowers just look so much nicer on a perfectly planned table.



Floral Design by Rook & Rose


Iván Meade - What is your favourite plant to work with?


Erica Smolders – Orchids! It might seem like a really obvious answer but I just love how versatile they are and some of the rare varieties are really special.



Floral Design by Rook & Rose


Iván Meade - Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles, what would you like your legacy to be?


Erica Smolders – Oh wow...I don’t know! I’m still just the new kid on the block. Ask me again in 5 years?


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Erika Smolders in full action.


I invite you to discover Rook and Rose website at:



MEADE DESIGN GROUP - THE BLOG. Copyright 2007-2011


tina - Half Of What I Say said...

My parents live in Victoria, and I send them flowers for many occasions. Thanks for highlighting Rook&Rose, I will definitely use them in future. I love the modern and unique style.

Echo said...

Erica is such a sweetheart, and really is a very talented floral designer.

I really appreciate the time she takes to go over details and ideas with her clients. You can tell she really is passionate about her work.

Another great interview :)

Nicole said...

I'll check out her store next time I'm around Johnson! Thanks for featuring another local deisgner!!

Tara McHugh Flora said...

I love what those girls at the Rook and Rose do, they have great style!