#TheWomen

Rose Vlajic

Blossoming

Rose Vlajic 
Manager and Head Event Designer
Singapore Flower

“Singapore Flower has been a part of my life since I was a baby. The fragrance of fresh cut flowers is the most familiar smell to me. The shop remains at the original site where it all began more than 30 years ago, so it really feels like home for my siblings and I. There are things that have expanded and changed in the store, but much of it is the same.

Rose and her sister outside Singapore Flower in the early 1990s

During the early 1990s, at the time of the first Gulf War, my sister and I were sent back to Singapore to live with our aunts for several years. My mother’s five sisters all had a hand in raising us and I sometimes say that I was raised by six mothers! By the time our brother (Raul) was born in 2000, we returned to Bahrain. I left Bahrain again after a few years, to attend university in the UK, but I returned here as soon as the opportunity arose, as I see this island as my home.

Dalliah and Julia

Growing up, I watched how hard my parents worked. It really looked stressful and I told myself that I would never want to be self-employed. I eventually studied architectural engineering in the UK and returned to Bahrain to work in my chosen field. I was drawn to architectural engineering as I am both an analytical and creative person and I thought my chosen career path would provide the opportunity to utilize both of my strengths. After several years of experience in my field, I decided it wasn’t for me and resigned. I needed more of a creative outlet, and I think that’s what drew me to working at Singapore Fr.

Initially, I began coming into the shop to help. I know my parents were worried at the time, as we hadn’t discussed my future plans and they hadn’t pictured me working at the shop full time. I think all of us soon realised that I loved working in the store. My previous professional management skills helped and within a few days, I was suggesting new ideas. It all just fell into place organically. It’s funny how I ended up following in both my parents’ footsteps considering it was the one thing I thought I would never do!

Since I joined full time five years ago, we have started doing wedding arrangements again. My family call me the ‘bride whisperer,’ as I am dedicated to ensuring our brides are satisfied with our floral offerings. One of the things I’m trying to do is to educate our clientele about seasonal flowers. Sometimes our customers will see something online in another country and ask for it to be replicated. This is often difficult, as some flower varieties are not available to us, or cannot be easily shipped to Bahrain. Whilst we try to make sure we order the freshest and most seasonal blooms available, there are limitations on what we can source.

Our floral subscription program known as ‘Blossom Buddy’, where we showcase seasonal flowers weekly, have also become a customer favourite. Wherever possible, we use ‘upcycled’ jars and bottles for these. We also include a little educational card about the flowers. We hope this shows our clients that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy beautiful flowers. Our arrangements are quite contemporary. People think that’s my touch, but it’s really my mum’s creativity too.

My mother’s unique way of arranging flowers has been the reason this business has been successful for so many years – I’m simply coming up with new ideas to showcase her talents and keep her on her toes! As my father was the main point of contact for so many years, many people didn’t realise that mum was co-owner of the business as she doesn’t always put herself out there. I would love for her to get the respect and praise that she deserves. In recent years, I have begun sharing photos of her on social media, so people can see how hands-on she is and that she has always been an integral part of this business. She is a little camera-shy, so is still getting used to this, but it’s important to show that her creative hands and mind are behind our flower arrangements. I know she serves as a source of inspiration for many flower shops and women-owned businesses across Bahrain.

Bahrain is very much home for me. Like me, my husband has grown up in Bahrain. My in-laws are originally from Cyprus and have lived here even longer than my family. Whilst I love travelling, I don’t think I could live anywhere else.

Through working with my mother, I have learned the importance of resilience and persistence. She has shown me that you must be willing to get your hands dirty to make something a success. Both of my parents have shown me that if you put time in and energy in, no matter where you are on the ladder, you’ll always climb up.”

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