March 14, 2019 Creative, Product

Paper flower keepsakes.

The name Miss Poppins & Me was inspired by memories of childhood days spent watching ‘Mary Poppins’ at Grandma’s house. Some years later, after completing her studies, Hannah, aka Miss Poppins, followed in Mary’s footsteps and flew to London to become a nanny for a season herself.

Through quite a bit of travel and many jobs, Hannah had amazing experiences, but wasn’t able to find a way to satisfy her creativity. Moving back to Melbourne and working her way through another collection of jobs, Hannah couldn’t translate the Visual Arts degree she had earned a few years earlier, into a career she was happy with.

To keep creativity flowing, much of her spare time was spent learning how to make paper flowers. Seeking out craft books and tutorials, Hannah’s output bloomed and she established an online presence along with a few market stalls here and there.

Top: Retro camellia paper flower crown. Above: Blue blossom tiara. © Photos by MeiMei takes pics.

Moving from floral artistry to the wedding industry seemed a natural career move, and Hannah soon found work as a wedding and event coordinator. “Being a romantic at heart who loved organisation, I thought this was my ideal career until over time the stress became too much and I left my job feeling burnt out,” says Hannah.

“A friend had told me about the NEIS program. I kept this in the back of my mind, but was too frightened to actually pursue it myself,” says Hannah. “After I recovered from my work burn out, I decided that the best way forward was to be brave and give NEIS a go; to see if that could help propel my paper flower making into a profitable business. I needed to make a creative career for myself.”

Paper flower wedding crown. © Photo by Hayden Friend Photography.

Hannah signed up for NEIS training with Box Hill Institute, and was thankful to pick up tips and useful information on everything from costing, planning and reporting; to market analysis.  “Finances are tricky and there is so much involved in making a profit. NEIS training helps you go through this step by step. It’s not just what you make, but how you make it. Then how you promote it. There is only so much a one-person business can do,” says Hannah. “I also had to finally stop and pin-point my target market, which was something I had been putting off.”

Asiatic Lily Sinamay hat. © Photo by MeiMei takes pics.

Based out of her home studio, Hannah’s days are spent patiently hand-cutting, curling and assembling each and every petal, leaf and stamen from luxurious Italian crepe paper, vintage wallpaper, classic romance novels, world maps, manuscripts and every paper in between, to form stunning bespoke creations. Birthdays, weddings anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, are all the more precious with a floral keepsake that won’t wilt with time. Creations can include flower stems and and twinkle lights; giant wedding flowers and matching boutonnieres. Having worked as an events coordinator, Miss Poppins understands the importance of flowers needing to last all day and night for special events, without being bound by season, size or colour.

Through selling on Etsy, the work of Miss Poppins & Me has travelled to feature in many weddings locally and in the US, Canada, England and Sweden. Her most popular collection to date is the anniversary roses where traditional anniversary symbolism such as cotton, leather and linen are incorporated. The business profile took a leap with giant roses from Miss Poppins featuring in window displays for Target, Seafolly and Katies, across Australia and Singapore.

Seafolly window display. © Photo by Dashing Group.
Target window display. © Photo by Dashing Group.

“My home studio has definitely grown bigger this year – who needs a proper living room anyways?” says Hannah with a smile. Quality of production improved with the conscious decision to devote time to developing new skills. “I’m honestly very proud of my flower crowns as I literally gave myself about two weeks to sit down and turn out 31 different crowns to match 31 different frocks. I launched a new crown each day for the month of October to coincide with Frocktober, an annual event to wear a different dress everyday for the month to raise funds and awareness for Ovarian Cancer Research,” explains Hannah. “I had a major photo shoot to document my crowns and outfits. Through promotion on my Instagram and Facebook, I raised almost $700 in donations!”

Tiffany blue rose. © Photo by Miss Poppins & Me.

Etsy orders are increasing month by month and Hannah’s photographic skills are also increasing, helping to create a consistent social media profile.

Recently, as part of her biggest market appearance ever – the Etsy Made Local Market at Queen Victoria Markets, Hannah accomplished a long-term goal of travelling with her beautiful products to and from the market by tram. Just one of the advantages of having a pretty, yet lightweight business!

Do you have a creative passion that should be your business? NEIS is an Australian Government sponsored new business training program, to assist with self-employment. Use the postcode finder for your local provider and contact them for a chat. 

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