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Rising Stars: Meet Aei Mercado

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aei Mercado.

Hi Aei, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
The Christmas during Covid was tough, I didn’t have a lot saved up to buy gifts for my friends, but I still wanted to give them something that would remind them that life is beautiful, despite the pandemic that made it harder for me everyone. I remembered arranging dried flowers for my friend’s wedding- I was her maid of honor and I wanted to stay in budget with her, she picked all the flowers and I helped her arrange it from the altar to the table centerpiece, the welcome sign, the photobooth, bridesmaids’ bouquets and groomsmen’s boutonnieres.

I remember the joy and excitement I had when I made the arrangements, so I decided to buy a bunch of dried flowers, upcycled some Bundaberg ginger beer bottles, and worked magic. It was so fun doing it for my friends. It gave me a sense of calm and peace despite the chaos of Covid. After that, my friends have been asking me to make the bouquets for some special occasions, some for Valentine’s, a birthday party, Mother’s day, and a few for funerals- it’s frustrating, but life can only give us so much. My hobby became a bigger hobby, and then I decided to create a separate Instagram for my flowers. I’ve always liked looking at flower arrangements on Instagram. The colors, the art of arranging, the different kinds of flowers. It’s all beautiful to me. I created petalsome so I can share how arranging flowers could tell a story- may it be a story of hope, of love, of thanksgiving, or a celebration of life.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
No, it hasn’t. Flowers are very expensive, and as a starting small business, I’ve lost a lot. People haggle me as if I can give them flowers for free or for a very cheap price but I have to be firm. I’ve experienced a “customer” who, at the end, was just trying to bait me into sending them money instead. Some people just don’t get the struggle, so they trick small businesses into thinking that they want to make a good deal from you, but they just want to steal your hard-earned money.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I love bold colors. Something that catches your eye right away. I am very fond of dried flowers as well. I leaned towards that more. I usually pick out flowers and arrange them to tell a story. I had one for my Easter special, where I had a bleached dried hydrangea that acts as the nest, surrounded by cotton as the eggs, and bunny tails as, of course, the bunnies! I also arranged one where it looked something very similar to that of a reindeer’s antlers. Things like this make me a proud floral artist. I know imagination can give me a lot and the sky is the limit. I just hope consumers meet my imaginations where I am.

What are your plans for the future?
I am obviously looking forward to grow my business. Get some more regular buyers, more customers. I wanted to reach more people. But that is a far-future ahead. I wanna stay small to where I can still handle it by myself.

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