Heike le Cordeur, a former IT specialist with a longing to create with her hands, started out small and has since grown her brand to become the renowned Fleur le Cordeur floristry studio in Paarl. Her Instagram account is a flower-lover’s dream and we adore her new Linen collection, which sees le Cordeur conceptualising gorgeous arrangements that are laid out on fabric and photographed from above. We sat down with her for a glimpse inside her life and mind.
What sparked your interest in floristry? Tell us a little bit about your journey since.
I’ve always loved creating beautiful things using colour and texture, from painting and revamping old furniture to making striking clothing. If I can create with my hands and the product is aesthetically pleasing to me, I’m happy. After about five years of working in a corporate environment as an IT specialist, I was desperate to do something with my hands, work more flexible hours and stimulate my creative side. I started by helping a wedding planner friend by doing flowers for her smaller weddings over weekends, and before I knew it, the business grew into something really special. My journey since this humble start has been one of growing bigger, but also knowing when ‘too big’ is too big – I’ve had to learn to balance efficiency with providing an exclusive product. Now I’m at a place where I’m hungry to learn more, be more adventurous with my designs and, as always, make people really happy with their flowers.
Describe your approach when it comes to creating floral arrangements.
The two most important things for me are that my arrangements should always be as original as possible, and secondly, they need to be really beautiful, even if they’re totally out the box and different. People often say that they recognise my style, but I can adjust to any vision my client may have and create the look or experience they’re after, whether it’s super romantic, modern or rustic.
We know you can make magic with a few blooms and foliage, but do you have green fingers?
This is hilarious. No, I have not. My mom does though, and she’s been trying to help me grow my garden, but I must be honest I really do struggle! According to her, it’s simply because I don’t spend enough time nurturing and watering.
What would you do with a few hectares of land at your disposal?
I would immediately ask someone who has green fingers to plant and grow a few varieties of the local foliage textures I’ve fallen in love with, but struggle to source commercially. However, if this few hectares of land happens to be somewhere remote and in the mountains, I’d build an open air home for me and my family to enjoy, where we could sleep under the stars while having the luxury of a warm bath.
What’s your ultimate flower or plant to work with?
I am such an orchid fan! Thanks to the plethora of colours and textures available, it’s impossible to discover or work with them all. Orchids are also so hardy and last quite some time in arrangements, so I am constantly on the lookout for new varieties and dreaming of what I can do with them.
Is your house always a visual feast?
Ah, I love my home! In fact, my boyfriend Ivar and I have just moved into our new home and have been renovating for the last few of months. We have had such fun with mosaic tiles, painting walls different colours and playing with wallpaper and flooring options. We even took an old cupboard from the scullery and revamped it into a yellow shoe cupboard. I love colour and pretty things, and our home is my happy place so yes, it is a visual feast for both us and our guests.
If you were to create an arrangement inspired by an icon, who would it be and what would it look like?
It would be inspired by Cleopatra, a woman who came to define independent strength, determination and power in an age commanded by men. What I find so interesting is that her beauty is the greatest myth that defines her legacy yet undermines her real power. Far from the Hollywood standard of how women should look today, Cleopatra did not inspire with her looks, but rather with her wit, charm and intellect. So an arrangement inspired by her would not be made of commercial flowers thought to be pretty, but rather by rare finds such as berries and distorted veggies combined with jewel-coloured leaves and local succulents. It would be very structured, bold and dramatic.
Are you working on any new projects?
I am working on a few large and exciting weddings coming up in the next few months, so keep an eye on our Instagram for updates.
Visit fleurlecordeur.co.za for more details.