Chitra Das Of Champs Fleur Spills The Beans On Flowers That Last A Whole Yearby | August 20, 2019
In a sea of white blossoms that surround, Chitra Das patiently explains flowers. Her advice for the eager crowd ranges from basic care to making beautiful bouquets and it doesn't just stop there. Pruning, cutting, and actively assembling fresh blooms together, she guides the group into making arrangements while answering any questions that might come up.
Later, we sit and discuss her brainchild, Champs Fleur, which offers a variety of preserved flowers to anyone who might be looking. Ranging from the brand ethos to what works for the big fat Indian wedding, Das lets us in on the essential handbook to all things flowers. Take a look:
Luxeva: Tell us a little about the brand and how you started out.
Chitra Das: "We started Champs Fleur about 18 months ago and when we first launched, it began with only preserved flowers. Today, we import fresh flowers from around the world; the roses come from Columbia, the lavender from France, eucalyptus from Australia and so on. Together, in our lab in Tokyo, they undergo a six to eight-week preservation process that makes them last for much longer than their natural versions. When we introduced the brand in India, the main idea was to have flowers that were accessible to everybody."
Luxeva: How does the preservation work?
Chitra Das: "The process is about four steps long and, in a nutshell, it involves the drying of natural moisture and then replacing it with glycerin so that the flowers have the same lush appeal."
Luxeva: How long would you say the preserved flowers last?
Chitra Das: "One to two years, but it also depends on the environment you keep them in. In colder places and where humidity is low, they could even last for about three to four years! And while the preserved flowers don’t need watering, one could take some care and keep them out of sunlight."
Luxeva: This field of work is relatively new to India. Was there something in particular that inspired you?
Chitra Das: "I was actually working in a full-time corporate job and I loved flowers. But I didn’t have the time to take care of them, to coordinate the delivery and follow up. I just wanted fresh flowers that I could send to my grandparents or my friends wherever they were, and that’s how it started. When Champs Fleur first launched, we preserved only long-lasting roses before moving on to carnations, lavender and more. Today, we have branched out to different sizes of blooms and everything can be completely customised. So if a bride comes up to me and wishes to match the wedding decor to the ensemble, I can take a swatch from her and customise the flower to her liking."
Luxeva: Speaking of weddings, is there an emerging trend you have seen over the years in the segment?
Chitra Das: "I think it really depends on the people involved. If someone wants a more traditional wedding, they would ideally opt for marigolds or tuberoses, roses and jasmine. The good thing is that for a huge wedding, these flowers are extremely affordable. But for a sangeet or a more intimate ceremony, I think people tend to go for something striking that the guests are bound to see immediately, right in front of them, for example, peonies. But at the end of the day, however, it depends on the theme of the wedding and the individuals involved."
Luxeva: A lot of people love to keep flower arrangements at home but find it difficult to maintain them because of their busy schedules. Do you have any key tips for such enthusiasts?
Chitra Das: "There is always the option of preserved flowers that can be customised, but for people who are inclined towards fresh flowers, I would recommend carnations or lilies. They last for a long duration of time and are relatively low maintenance. All you have to do is change the water from time to time but, other than that, they'll look beautiful for about seven days. Another tip to keep in mind is choosing your flowers carefully at the market. A lot of blooms may be browning so it's always best to avoid those."
Luxeva: Do you think social media can offer inspiration to someone looking for prospective arrangements?
Chitra Das: "Yes, I would definitely say so. Now when I look at my social media feed on any given day, even as a reference, everyone has images of flowers in some form or the other; so there is no dearth of inspiration for anyone who is looking for it. It’s something of an individual aesthetic. And in a time where the majority has access to Instagram, it's almost become a cool factor to include flowers in your daily routine."
Luxeva: If you could identify a trend in flower arrangements or in this industry today, what would it be?
Chitra Das: "I think hydrangeas are really in and popular as compared to a couple of years ago. One might also be able to see peonies taking over Instagram, with a number of influencers featuring them in their respective feeds. In farms on the outskirts of Mumbai, greenhouse conditions make it possible to grow all such exotic blooms. All in all, there is much better access around the world."
Featured Image: Champs Fleur on Instagram