She’s made silk flowers look better than the real thing and she’s even created a successful online business out of them. The floral entrepreneur shares what she’s wearing, what she’s coveting, where she’s going and her inflight survival kit
Like many inspiring startup stories, Janey Dillon’s started in finance. She had children, had an epiphany and decided to set up her own business crafting handmade, hand-painted silk flowers that look incredibly real. They are, as she points out, “mini works of art.”Fast track a couple of years and Amaranthine Blooms is, excuse the pun, flourishing: it sells artificial flowers from Hong Kong to the world, and its blooms make cameos in luxury shoe stores and restaurants as well as homes. Here, Janey talks trinkets, travel and much more.
I believed strongly that the quality of artificial flowers on offer could be improved and that hand made, hand painted artificial flowers are works of art in their own right. We often compare our flowers to fresh with the line "all of the style, none of the fuss" because our flowers look as good as fresh but are much easier to maintain (and last MUCH longer!).
photographer Ho Fan. His images capture a lost time, but occasionally you can see snippets of those photos when you walk around Hong Kong. That mix of old and new is one of the things I think is most special about Hong Kong.
there is no substitute for doing this work yourself! This was a completely new field for me so I loved learning the relevant skills, and now I feel better placed to outsource this work and understand what should be achievable. However, if I want to make small but timely changes I can just do it! The one thing I wish I'd known at the beginning of my journey is how much I was going to love it, I really think I would have started it sooner.
a soft scarf that can double as a blanket, my Apple Macbook Pro laptop, Aesop's Resurrection hand balm, a Moleskin notebook and pen, and flower samples - usually because I am taking them to show a potential client, but people always smile at you when you walk around with flowers. I once started a whole artificial flowers teach-in on the tube in London (which any Londoner will tell you is almost impossible as tube travellers are not the most effusive).
my new cocktail cabinet! I didn't think the current trend for cocktail trolleys was for me until I saw this piece in an auction and fell in love with it instantly. It was created in the 1920s, and is full of Art Deco details - now I am sourcing period glassware to fill it with!
the top of Mount Butler - your hike to the top is rewarded with a view of the whole HK island and most of the New Territories on a clear day but you might not see another person up there.
all the time, but right now, I'm loving our peach peonies. I'd pair them with blue hydrangeas and white cosmos silvery senecio leaves - you wouldn't necessarily think of peach and blue together but when you see them they look really stunning and modern.
too many to list! The one I keep returning too is Good to Great, written about the world's largest companies but with lessons that businesses of any size can learn. As a former equity analyst I love books written about the history of a particular company, how they evolved and what made them successful, and also books about important financial events.
after doing your research there comes a day when you have to ask yourself 'Why would I not start this right now?'. At some point you just need to get started because you learn so much more by doing than you can possibly learn in the planning stage - probably 95% of everything I know about Amaranthine Blooms was learned after the company launched. When you look to expand, find the right person or people for you, not the right skillset for the business - the right people will learn what you need them to do and then more besides. Ask for help from everyone, you will be amazed how giving even complete strangers are with their time and knowledge to help people launch businesses. And don't be put off by people who guffaw with laughter at your idea, there's no better motivation than proving people wrong!