We’re introducing a brand new feature on the site called Up and Coming, which will shine a light on rising stars whether that be in business, entertainment or sport.
For our first feature, we sat down with Chantal Counihan – who established La Luna Floral Studio in January 2021 in the midst of Ireland’s third Covid-19 lockdown.
She ordered dried flowers on a whim, hoping to create a gift for a friend, and ended up tapping back in to her creative side.
La Luna Floral Studio creates bouquets of all sizes; mini, small, medium and large, along with potted arrangements, bespoke creations and wreaths which will last forever.
Find out more about Chantal and La Luna Floral Studio in our exclusive chat below:
Q. How did La Luna Floral Studio come about?
I gained a love for dried flowers about three years ago when I came across a little café and homeware store which stocked bunches of dried stems like wheat, barely & eucalyptus. I bought some for my home (which are still perfect now) and I fell in love with the fact they lasted so long and how sustainable they are. I do love fresh flowers, but I disliked the fact that they last about a week and end up being thrown away.
In March 2020, my job temporarily closed due to the first lockdown, this ran into my maternity leave when my little boy arrived in August 2020. I was out of work for ten months when I really started to miss being creative. One evening I was sitting scrolling through the internet looking for a gift idea for a friend and I decided I wanted to get her dried flowers. There wasn’t many florists supplying them at the time, that I knew of, and it just clicked with me that there was a gap in the market.
So that same evening I decided in the spur of the moment to order a small batch of wholesale dried and preserved flowers. A few days later when the order arrived, I made up a few bunches and created the La Luna logo and Instagram account. To be honest, at the start I just assumed it was going to be a hobby on the side of my part-time job which I was due to return to when lockdown lifted. I was just happy to be doing something I enjoyed in my spare time. Within the first few days of launching La Luna, the orders didn’t stop coming in and they haven’t slowed down since. I still pinch myself when I look at how successful the last 18 months have been and how much the business has grown. I’m so grateful for everyone’s support.
Q. Were you worried about launching your own business during the pandemic?
Not really. I had a really positive mindset starting out that I would just give it a try and see what happens. I felt there wasn’t any risk involved as I was out of work anyway – so I had nothing to lose. I had amazing support and encouragement from my partner, family and friends from the very beginning, they all pitched in and gave a hand minding my two children so I could work on orders. They helped do deliveries, collect supplies and set up the website alongside supporting me in so many other ways. I’d have been lost without all of their help.
If it wasn’t for the pandemic I’m not sure that La Luna Floral Studio would exist, as I’d have had no reason to leave the salon I was working in. The pandemic was tough in many ways but I feel like it was the perfect time for me to start the business. Everyone was especially supportive during this time as people were wanted to support local and small Irish businesses which was a huge benefit.
Q. Your business is mostly based online, would you like to open your own shop in the future?
I would love to eventually. At the moment it suits me perfectly working from home (I’m very lucky to have a home studio) and mainly online as I have two small children and my main priority is having the flexibility to spend as much time with them as possible during the day. When they’re a little bit older it’d be the dream to have my own little shop open to the public. I do try and have pop ups every couple of months, mainly in the Flea Market in The Digital Hub, The Dandelion Market in The Well, and Urban Outfitters in Temple Bar. It’s great getting to meet new and familiar faces, to have the chats and for people to see my creations in person.
Q. What are your favourite occasions to create floral arrangements for?
I’d have to say my favourite occasions to work on are weddings. It’s such an honour to be a small part of someone’s special day. It’s lovely to know that after the wedding couples can enjoy their bridal flowers in their homes for years to come. A lot of brides I’ve created bouquets for are asking me to display the flowers in a glass dome or a shadow box frame which I love doing, because they will literally last a lifetime as the flowers are protected. I also really enjoy working at events and creating installations for businesses across Ireland – I’m happiest when doing something different all the time and challenging myself.
Q. Are there any themes you love to create i.e. a particular colour/season
I’m definitely more of a neutrals person – anything with whites, creams, beiges and earthy greens. I love working with these tones. But I am obsessed with autumn and can’t wait to start making some autumnal arrangements.
Q. What is your favourite flower to work with – and why?
Oh that’s tough. If I had to pick though I’d say preserved roses. They’re just so perfect. They retain the perfect shape and texture and I think there’s something so special about them.
Q. You’re quite a creative person, have you tried your hand at any other artistic ventures?
I was a hairdresser up until I started La Luna Floral Studio, working in the industry for 15 years. I’ve always loved art – it was my favourite subject in school and I’ve loved drawing and sketching for as long as I can remember. I just like working with my hands, I’m always the one in the house to put the flatpack furniture together and doing the DIY bits. I enjoy getting lost in being creative. I find it so relaxing.
Q. What advice would you give to someone who wants to launch their own business?
I would say if you’re in a position to go for it then do; What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll never know unless you try. If you try and it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, at least you can say you gave it a go. There are loads of resources out there to help, get in touch with your Local Enterprise Office as well, they’re great for advice!
You can shop Chantal’s dried flower creations on La Luna Floral Studio’s website.