Instagram is famous for drool worthy pictures that almost seem like digital paintings – too pretty to exist in real life. Poppy Flora and Nature Studio is an artisan flower shop in the heart of Singapore that puts all Instagram pictures to shame.

A paradise of a store, Poppy is the brainchild of owner and florist-extraordinaire Sarah Lim.

Poppy Flora Studio — Sarah Lim

Poppy Flora Studio — Sarah Lim

An advertiser by profession, Sarah Lim began Poppy without any formal training or experience in floral art creation or management.

What’s the one thing that carried her through to the pinnacle of successes, you ask?

Just the inherent desire to do something for herself and a strong inclination towards all things nature and flowers, she says.

Sarah Lim is not just the creator of one of the most successful indie flower boutiques in Singapore – the fact that her store is Kate Spade’s designated flower store for all events is testament to her growth and progress – she is also the epitome of a self-made, highly determined businesswoman.

Here’s a glimpse of the insightful conversation we had with her, and a few key business lessons as takeaway from a widely popular, artisan florist.

Do Something For Yourself

After a long and lucrative career in advertising, managing brands such as Singapore Airlines, and AIG, Sarah decided to stop doing things for others, and do something for herself – but what? Something safe, interesting, and also recession-proof.

Flowers were the answer.

Exploring and expanding her interest in nature, Lim singlehandedly built up what can only be defined as a florist’s haven. But it wasn’t easy.

She almost quit and gave up shop two years after establishing her business before she realized that she needed to persevere because it was something for herself and not anyone else.

Take a page from her book and if you want to do something to succeed – do it for yourself only.

Discounts/Sponsorships are Good – To a Limit

When it comes to offering discounts and sponsorships in order to advertise your brand, Sarah Lim’s philosophy is simple: Don’t.

“Brands work hard – Poppy is a brand that works very hard.” She feels very strongly about bloggers, celebrities and other high-end people coming up to her brand asking for free flowers in exchange for advertisement or influencer marketing or brands giving away free tokens for word of mouth.

 ‘You wouldn’t walk into Mercedes and say “hey! Give me a free car to drive!”’

Irrespective of how old your brand is, know its worth and rest assured that customers will know it too. When you work hard, expect to get paid for it, because you deserve it and earned it. There’s no compromising on that. Believe in what you do and it will help you grow. Don’t be defeated so easily.

Focus on Building Your Brands Personality – The Rest Will Follow

Often time’s businesses enter into an industry blindly following onto another’s path. When you talk about florists, there’s endless options available in Singapore and worldwide – with much of them offering the same thing. There isn’t much that sets one apart from another.

For Poppy, Sarah has always focused on building her brand and its exclusive personality – its uniqueness. In order for your business to stand out from the rest, it needs to have a distinct style that cannot be emulated by others so easily. What’s more, it needs to reflect your target audience and customer base in order to be truly successful.

When you have your brand’s personality down pat, rest assured the rest will follow.

Learn and Expand – But with Integrity

According to Sarah, one of the things which helps businesses expand grow is their association with like-minded brands – those which share the same beliefs and same vibes. Interactions with similar brands allows you to be inspired, learn and expand your own horizons through another’s experiences.

However, she feels that in doing so, brands often cross the line between inspirations and copying. Poppy is as successful a brand it is today because it stands firm in its core beliefs and well established styles that are loud and clear for the world to see.

There should be no room for copying or reclaiming another’s ideas because there’s such clarity in your own.

Be original and practice your business with integrity.

‘Don’t do anything you’re not at peace with’

Don’t Discount the Worth of Word-of-Mouth Advertising

‘Traditional and fool proof – Word of mouth advertising’

Today’s predominantly digitally driven world has largely begun to discount and discredit the worth of word of mouth advertising. However, a majority of highly successful business will tell you that it is still the most traditional and fool proof way there is to market a brand.

Word of mouth works in two distinct ways.

One is when you perfect the right pitch for your brand, socialize in the right circles and introduce your business to the right patrons. The other, that’s far more difficult but so much more lucrative, is depending on your consumers to pass on the word for you.

When you do a good enough job with your business and your products, you encourage your patrons to market your brand without ever having to say the words – and that my friends is the best kind of advertisement.

That’s not to say that you don’t rely on social media at all. A modern day tool, social media can very effectively be used for daily captures such as on Snapchat or Instagram stories which help you communicate with your audience directly.

“Social media puts you in front of people and that’s very important”.

Floral Artisans have effectively made their mark in the industry- setting the bar higher than ever before. If you’re in the vicinity and looking to buy yourself a customised bouquet or two, or just feast your eyes on both natural beauty and corporate success, you should definitely go visit Poppy Flora and Nature Studio at The Summerhouse.

Posted by Aqiba D

Aqiba is a professional writer based in Houston, Texas. Her passion is content writing and has been writing for 7 years.