Floral Profile: From the Ground, Korea

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One of my favorite aspects of social media is getting to discover new people, businesses and ideas I would have never known about without that digital connection. In particular, I love seeing how certain trends, concepts and pursuits can cross borders (and oceans) and how they’re interpreted abroad.

The world of floral design has exploded in the last decade, thanks in no small part to studios like Saipua and Emily Thompson, and new florists are popping up left and right, devoting their time to growing and arranging amazing flowers. I’ve been following some of my favorites for years now, but I’m always on the hunt for great new designers and last week, I found one.

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Eunyoung Lee is a designer from South Korea who studied abroad in London to get ready to open her own studio, From the Ground. Her photographs take my breath away and her way with flowers, even after less than a year of being open, is so sophisticated and elegant. I’ve spent the last week liking all of her old photos online and trying to find out more about her, so I figured I should just write her an email and see what happens. Thankfully Eunyoung was excited to talk, too, so we exchanged a series of emails about her business (“I have traveled far to become someone who I want to be“), her philosophy on flowers, and everything else in between. I found her work, and her insight, so inspiring and I hope you will, too. Thanks so much to Eunyoung for joining us today! xo, grace

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Why did you decide to start your own business, versus work for someone else?

Eunyoung Lee: Over the past few years, I had the opportunity to work for several flower shops in Korea and England. However, the more I worked for someone else, the more I was eager to have my own studio. I wanted to have my own studio filled with my favorite flowers and things. That’s it. Very simple. So as soon as I came back to Korea, I looked for a studio for several months and finally opened FROM THE GROUND last November.

Can you remember when you first learned about your field of work? How did you discover what it was and how you knew it was what you wanted to do?

EL: I remember the day when I made bouquets for the first time. It was not that easy as I expected to be, but I was able to concentrate 100% on it for two hours. I really enjoyed playing with flowers and I thought this might quench my thirst for art.

To be honest, I didn’t always think of florists as artists, but I was fascinated by the fact that florists can do work related to art such as designing bouquets or making arrangements [with so much creativity].

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What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?

EL: My father also has been running his own business for over 15 years. When I talked about my floral studio for the first time, he said, “Even though it is a very small business, the entrepreneurs should have philosophies of their business. In my case, learning by doing is my philosophy, thus far.”

What was the most difficult part of starting your business?

EL: Looking for a studio! I spent several months looking for it under pressure.

Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running a business?

EL: It has been only six months since starting the business, but the biggest lesson I have learned so far is to “just do what you love.” I’m trying to only do what I love because when I do, I feel so happy and confident.

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If you were magically given three more hours per day, what would you do with them?

EL: Haha. This is quite an interesting question. Three more hours per day… I would go to the gym and exercise because florists need great physical strength and energy.

What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting your business?

EL: Well, reducing the time meeting my friends? After being a business owner, I usually spend the most time in my studio on my own. I rarely am able to take holidays.

Can you name your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your business experiences?

EL: This is the moment. Believe it or not, Design*Sponge is the one and only design website I visit. I was over the moon when I read the comment about doing a story on FROM THE GROUND that Grace left on my Instagram account. The only thing I can say is – “Wow… this is amazing!”

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Are there any businesses or business owners you look up to or look to for guidance in your field?

EL: Saipua, Nicolette Camille and Swallows&Damsons. I love all the work they do and wish to have a chance to meet them in person some day.

Has failing at something or quitting ever led to success for you? Walk us through that.

EL: Upon graduating from the university, I was interested in becoming a fashion editor at that time. I gained employment with a fashion magazine and managed to work for W Korea fashion magazine as a fashion assistant. Although I had various experiences and learned many things during my year and a half, I always wanted to be involved in more creative work.

To be honest, this has been my dream for a long time. I really enjoy art but I was never sure I would or could do work related to art. After lots of thinking and planning, I decided to study floristry more systematically at a college in England and spent a year there. After that, I resigned as a fashion assistant and became a florist. I have traveled far to become someone who I want to be.

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In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting their own business?

EL:

1. Follow your heart and intuition.
2. Overcome your fear.
3. Do not waste time living someone else’s life. Your time is limited.

What’s the first app, website or thing you open/do in the morning?

EL: Instagram. I love seeing other people’s pictures because I’m a bit of a photography-obsessed person.

What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss that isn’t obvious?

EL: Almost everything is hard as a first-time entrepreneur, building a business alone. I’m not an organized person, but sort of a spontaneous person. I simply love playing with flowers and taking pictures of them. I didn’t expect how much paperwork, accounting, stock control, etc. Being my own boss means I have to do everything all by myself. (I don’t have any staff members to work with yet.) Particularly, marketing is the most vulnerable thing to me.

You can check out more of Eunyoung’s work on Instagram right here!

https://instagram.com/p/0T0VMXrSPC/

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  1. LizBeth says:

    Thank you! Great article and photos! It makes me want to go out and plant all of those varieties in my garden.

  2. Uli says:

    Eunyoung Lee is amazing! Thank you so much for introducing her! I just followed her on Instagram. I myself think to concentrate on making paper flowers… x

  3. Ondonpc says:

    She is just awesome ! Fantastic arrangements and photographys makes me happy :) Xxx

  4. Captain finsburypark says:

    Very inspired. She has amazing talent of arrangements and photography. I hope that she could show us to more works !!!!!! Just awesome!!! Xx

  5. Eunice says:

    So cool to see someone from South Korea! Lovely flower arrangements.

  6. Lisbeth says:

    Beautiful post. I so enjoy reading Design*Sponge here and seeing posts on Instagram.

  7. Baanou says:

    This Article/Interview has been so inspiring… Thank you for sharing. Going far for who you want to become… True Inspiration. Good Luck.. !!

    xx
    Baanou

  8. Jordyn says:

    I loved this interview. I just started a floral design business and would love to have a shop some day.

  9. Chloe son says:

    Stunning! Already in love with the colors and the mood in your arragements.

  10. Jen says:

    Jeez, so beautiful! I hope your business flourishes, Eunyoung!

  11. Annie says:

    Be still, my heart! Those arrangements are breathtaking, especially the soft-purple poppies!

    designfare.co

  12. Nhung Le says:

    I am so happy that Design*Sponge has now featured more and more artists, designers, creative people from all over the globe, especially all the way in Asia!

    And Eunyoung Lee, I love your dreamy flower arrangements, best of luck!

  13. Nancy says:

    I’m swooning. These arrangements are gorgeous.

  14. Jill Simpson says:

    This is so inspiring!! Best of luck, Eunyoung! Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story.

  15. Adam says:

    Great pictures! I wish Eunyoung Lee all the best in her business! May the flower power be with you, girl!

  16. Sudarto says:

    I’ve been visited South Korea a few years ago. In visits over 5 days, I always admired the variety of flowers in many parks. It was very interesting. Wherever the object of my visit, there are always beautiful flowers and charming.

    What is interesting is the colorful flowers always look beautiful. I also told friends that we need to emulate South Korea in decorating the city with beautiful flowers. I really miss the view as in Korea.

  17. GyuSeo Min says:

    I stumbled upon your site a couple of days back while searching for indoor plant arrangements, and since then I’ve been going though your posts the way you must have gone through Lee’s Instagram.
    I wanted to introduce you to my favorite florist, well at least their account. Hope you enjoy.
    xo

    https://www.facebook.com/growbloom?ref=ts&fref=ts

  18. Nikki says:

    Great interview! Your flowers have so much life to them. Are they locally grown in South Korea or are they imported? What are the flower markets like there?

  19. Tammy Teer says:

    I truly enjoyed all of your bouquets. I loved the dimensions of the fabulous flowers you so carefully chose for each design.
    Thank you for sharing your brilliant bouquets with us, Eunyoung. They brightened my day and lifted my spirit! You truly have a gift!

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