Today, I am going to introduce to you a wonderful florist from the town of
Joensuu. Her name is Heini Ikonen, and she is the owner of a flower shop
in the centre.
I met Heini personally at a master class at her shop last autumn. She was
teaching us how to assemble autumn bouquets. In my opinion, the master
class was excellent. Heini quickly taught us how to create bouquets
correctly and gave advice on what flowers match each other better. I could
see it from the very beginning that she was a true professional!
Introducing Heini Ikonen, the owner of the flower shop Kukkakauppa Leinikki. Photo by Klavdia Parkkonen (Heini's personal archive)
Go visit her shop! It is filled with green plants. It is like you enter a
fairytale. From a cold winter into the summer.
During the interview, we talked with Heini about many things: inspiration,
work at a flower business, trends... It was a surprise to hear about her
interesting path in floristics. All in all, let Heini tell about
About Heini and her work at a flower shop
Please tell us a little about yourself. How have you become a florist? How
long have you been in the business?
My name is Heini. I am a florist and an entrepreneur. I have also been the
owner of Kukkakauppa Leinikki (the flower shop Leinikki) for almost three
My mother has started the shop in 1991, so it is over twenty-seven years
old. When I graduated from high school in 2003, I was wondering what to do
next. So, I came to the shop to work with my mother and started to study
for a florist at the same time. After completing my studies in 2006, I
realised that I did not want to work as a florist anymore and entered the
University of Applied Sciences to study tourism instead. But after
graduating in 2011, I decided to come back to the flower business and
returned to the flower shop to help my mother yet again.
So, you did not really dream about being a florist your whole life, did
When my mother has opened the shop, it was a very difficult time in
Finland. All businesses were doing down. My mother had to work really hard
to stay afloat. That is why I decided that I would never ever be involved
with the flower business. But you know what has happened at the end
I love my customers. They give me strength in difficult times. I can
definitely say that my work makes me truly happy.
What is the situation right now? Do you work twenty-four hours a day,
seven days a week?
Happily, no! I am usually starting my day at 8:30 a.m. and trying to
finish everything by 5 p.m. However, being an entrepreneur, I am always
available to my customers. I do some planning occasionally or think about
work-related issues at home. In other words, I am always working.
Wedding bouquet. Photo from Heini's personal archive.
About inspiration, trends in floristics and journey of the flowers
Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
I would say Instagram is a quite good source of inspiration nowadays.
Magazines also have great ideas for the coming trends for the next
Do you see any differences between flower trends in Finland and other
Yes, a lot. Here, in Finland, we make different types of bouquets
comparing to other countries. The reason is in more expensive flowers than
in the rest of Europe. That's why we do not use so many of them. For
example, in Russia, you can get a bigger bouquet for less money.
People want more air in bouquets like they have been just picked up from
Oh, I see. What are the trends for the coming wedding season?
I think it is going to be the same—a very natural way. People want more
air in bouquets like they have been just picked up from the fields. It was
a hot trend last year, and I believe it will be the same again. Trends do
not change so quickly in floral design. We need more time to change from
one trend to another.
For example, I remember that 5 years ago we put much more effort and time
to make bouquets. We needed to take care of every flower, put wires inside
their stems, tape them. Nowadays, it is different and more natural.
Bouquets are built mostly from own stems of flowers.
Airy bouquet. Photo from Heini's personal archive.
Are there any special seasonal flowers?
Yes, of course. For example, excellent winter flowers are very beautiful
ranunculuses. Many brides want them for their bouquet during summertime.
However, these flowers are not available. Usually, the ranunculus period
starts in November and ends in March-April. The rest of the year price for
them is enormously high, but their quality is very low.
Since we started to talk about seasons, let's talk about timing in
general. How long in advance one should order a bouquet?
If you want some special flowers, you should order a bouquet at least a
week before. The reason is in shipping time. Usually, I order flowers from
the webshop because it has a broad selection of thousands of items. In
this case, the flowers ordered on a Thursday arrive only on the next
Where do you get flowers? And why shipping take so long time?
The webshop is centralised in the Netherlands. Normally, it works as
follows. I place an order into the system. The webshop staff purchases
flowers at auctions on my behalf. They also take care of packing and
shipping them to Helsinki by sea. Finally, the guys with whom I have a
deal fly to the capital and transport the flowers to Joensuu. So, it is
not a simple trip for the flowers at all.
Just out of curiosity. How do flowers survive such a long journey from the
And not only from the Netherlands! For example, some varieties of roses
can be cut even in Ecuador! People who are in the flower transportation
business are professionals and know a lot about cold storage systems.
Under such handling, flowers do not use much water and stay alive and
fresh for an extremely long time.
Working florist. Photo from Heini's personal archive.
About people at Kukkakauppa Leinikki and projects
How many people do work here?
Officially I am alone, but my mother has her own company and we work
together. I do not have any full-time employees. However, during the high
seasons, like Christmas or Mother's day, my very special employee comes to
Moreover, you know that the wedding seasons happen every year from June to
September. This is the busiest time for the florist. At the same time, it
is a holiday season. I have kids, so I try to have a vacation during the
summer. That's why I get help at that time as well.
What was the most incredible flower project that you've done so far?
I think this summer was very special. We had several amazing wedding
couples who asked us to decorate their whole venues. Those were great
Furthermore, many companies offered me to decorate their offices with
green plants. It is another area where I have an excellent possibility to
use my creativity and imagination for full power.
Photo from Heini's personal archive.
Could you, please, tell more about office decorations? It is so new and
interesting to me.
It is very exciting story. The whole process includes several steps.
First, I check the condition in offices, for example, light, temperature,
humidity. Then I choose plants, that are more suitable for those
conditions, and make a decoration plan. Next step is to propose the plan
to the company. If the company is satisfied with my proposal, I make
decorations and sometimes even take care of the plants afterwards.
Sounds really good! What else can you offer to your customers?
Most commonly, my clients order flowers to give as birthday presents or to
share condolences. Bridal bouquets and wedding decorations are quite
common as well.
Of course, as a business owner, I have to work really hard, but I love it.
And the final question. Do you enjoy being an entrepreneur?
Yes, it feels good indeed. This is something I always wanted to do—to work
on my own. Of course, as a business owner, I have to work really hard, but
I love it. I love my customers. They give me strength in difficult times.
I can definitely say that my work makes me truly happy.
In my opinion, the right choice of flowers may amplify a hundred times the
impression of an event, especially, of a wedding. It was interesting to
talk to Heini and compare the traditions in floristics and the approaches
to flowers in Finland and in Russia. I am glad that we are joined together
in our pursuit of beauty and elegance.
You can find Heini and her flower shop
- at Kauppakatu 33, Joensuu
on the webpage