THE TWINS OF R SOCIETY
WFC is pleased to announce the formation of the Shanghai Chapter of WFC with the joint leaders being “The Twins” Vella Chen and Volla Chen a.k.a Chen Wenrong and Chen Wenxuan of R Society. It promotes an international platform where they can serve and share the essence of flora designs to people around the world.
The twins love of flora and botany started from their grandfather, where they gained the fundamentals of flora designs at a young age. Then started travelling to various countries to learn flora design; Singapore, Japan, Korea, France and England, also embracing these country’s culture andhistorical and traditional way of flora design.
Flowers serve as an optimal medium to allow the twins to ‘formulate’ both traditional and contemporary flora designs into one; that’s the unique product of R Society, our signature. As R Society has developed the twins have been able to share their unique styling with the public and students alike with students from all parts of China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong sharing their ideals. We admire our student’s passion to embark on alevel of flora art.
The twins say "We are delighted to be asked to be the World Flower Council (WFC) Shanghai Chapter Leaders as we both strongly believe that this will better bring more positive exposure to flora art and most importantly the exchange of different cultures and way of life from different people from different countries, thoughts and insights. WFC was indeed a wonderful international platform for outreach to all. Today WFC has members in 40 over countries and continues to spread peace through flowers by forming lasting relationships around the world.
This directive is in parallel with R Society. We will strive to spread love and peace to this part of the world.
Thoughts from “The Twins”
Vella: “Life is short, chase your dreams when you are young”
Volla: “We gather the essence of different cultures and floral arrangements.”
The yearlong Floral Design course at Seneca College is fast drawing to a close for this yea. With only one more month to the end of term it is hard to imagine how we are going to fit everything in. of course we always do and this year’s student body will certainly rise to the occasion.
It has been an extremely driven and enthusiastic class this year, one that we have not seen for a while. It is a very nice mix of young women (all female this year) from across Canada with several “foreign” students mostly from South Korea to add an experience for all. There have been many friendships forged that will last a lifetime despite language and distance.
Most of the students wherever they are from are planning to take their new found skills home with them, a few will remain in school for another year or two for other courses in related disciplines like Visual Merchandising or Special Events Management. Some plan to exchange their student visas for work permits with the objective of eventually gaining citizenship to remain in Canada.
But for the moment the focus is on finishing the term, completing class projects, studying for final exams, and preparing their designs for the big Year End Show. And of course finding a job and attending interviews.
Last week we all took a breather from all the madness for a few hours for the annual student competition followed by the Awards Ceremony. The students receive recognition not only for their skills at the competition but for their yearlong efforts in design, botany, academics and leadership.
The World Flower Council generously supports an award for a student who best exemplifies the WFC ideals. They are asked to express their vision of their floral future with those ideals in mind. I have enclosed the winning entry from Robyn Thomas. Robyn is an exceptional young woman from a small town in north western Ontario who is both talented in design and extremely smart (she also won the botany award), a rare mix.
Not surprisingly, she has a job waiting for her as soon as she has finished school and it is a pleasure to think that that kind of talent will be available in small rural areas, where it is so desperately needed, and not just confined to the big cities.
Patricia Patrick AiFD, CAFA
Have you ever heard of International Women’s Day? It’s celebrated each year on March 8th, and is intended to honor the hardworking women around the world. It originally started in New York back in 1909 as a Socialist political event, and by 1917 it was declared a national holiday in the Soviet Union. It is still quite popular in many Eastern European countries, and is almost a mix between Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, with people paying respect to the impactful and beloved female figures of their lives. It is not uncommon for women to receive flowers, have the day off work, and maybe even get treated to breakfast in bed!
I’m sure we all have quite a few female role models we can think of who are responsible for making the world we live in a better place. One such person I’d like to highlight is Susan Murethi of the World Flower Council’s Kenyan Chapter. I first met Susan back in 2014 at the WFC Summit in Zagreb, Croatia. I was amazed to hear about how she started a flower farm outside of Nairobi, in Nayahururu, with the intention of creating jobs to keep her local community afloat.
Susan was tired of seeing people leave the community because there were no jobs or opportunities. She thought long and hard about what she could do to change this, and came upon the realization that Kenya is a leading exporter in roses. On top of that, she also realized that the climate and the location in Nayahururu were perfect to start up a flower farm. Shortly after, she and her husband created Suera Flowers Limited.
For nearly 20 years Suera Flowers Limited has been a successful driver in the community. It provides hundreds of jobs, and has grown to encompass 30 hectares, within which are the neighborhoods of Baraka, Nyota and Heikima, which translate to Blessings, The Star, and Wisdom respectively. The Core Values of Suera speak for themselves, as they are centered around the Home, the Company, the People and their Commitments. Suera is absolutely aligned with taking care of the community, ensuring the happiness of the employees and working topromote the longevity of the business, while at the same time producing high-quality, competitively-priced flowers.
As the business and the workforce grew, Susan saw the need to further satisfy and develop the community. She began to construct employee housing, to build a church and a school, and to ensure a hospital was in close proximity to the community. She even included a restaurant and a gas station for good measure. Dozens of employees have given birth in the hospital, and for a time Susan’s own son even worked as a doctor in the hospital, further adding to the “blessings” of the Baraka community.
In 2016, the World Flower Council Summit was hosted in Nairobi, Kenya. Before the official summit began, many WFC members enjoyed the opportunity to go out and visit Suera Flowers Limited and experience the beauty of Susan’s dream-turned-reality for themselves. Upon visiting the rose farm, it was evident that all employees take great pride in their work, and that they thoroughly love, appreciate and respect Susan for the amazing business-women and leader that she is.
Susan’s story is unique, and it serves as a great reminder of the power that lies within a determined woman. If you haven’t already, check out Suera Flowers Limited. Their roses are top notch, and the community behind them blossoms a bit more with each purchase. Also, take the time to surprise a special lady in your life with some flowers on March 8th, and share in the joy of International Women’s Day!
Learn more about Susan Mureithi and Suera Farm: www.suera.co.ke
WFC’s highest honor, The Floral Laureate, is presented to Mr. Dean White, AAF, AIFD, PFCI, DAFA, WFC Chairman Emeritus, at the closing night Gala, 2016 International Summit, Nairobi, Kenya.
The Floral Laureate Award of Distinction, only given to an exemplary person who has dedicated 50 years of his life to the flower industry and is recognized as one of the most eminent donors, contributors and philanthropists in the floral industry.
Dean is one of the founding members of World Flower Council and AIFD. He has devoted his life to inspiring florist around the world. WFC honors Dean White for his generous contribution to World Flower Council and betterment of our floral industry.