Offering a flower is a gift of love—this is how floral design company, Huali, sees it, anyway. Besides their tasteful natural flower arrangements, this new Shanghai-based label specializes in a range of preserved blossoms that stay fresh for years on end.
We plan on developing thirty to fifty new floral products incorporating crystals—both stand for love, and as such, they make perfect gifts.
Hauli’s CEO, John Loong, left his banking and financial career two years ago to pursue an enterprise in flowers. Having rapidly become today’s driving force in this area of business in China, he looks for international input, building collaborative relationships with florists from the UK and France, often flying his team to Japan, Italy and France in pursuit of inspiration.
John admits that “flowers are a new thing in China,” the concept of floral design and gifts having only recently taken root, but fast blossoming! He believes that in developing countries, the growing desire for flowers is a sign of sophistication, prized as “the greatest gift from nature.”
At Huali, these gifts are artistically arranged, presented, and delivered in signature boxes. “We came up with this idea because transportation is not advanced in China, and we had to find a way to deliver our floral creations easily.” This simple idea found a delighted audience—for example, ‘A Year in Provence’ consists of a one-meter-long box crammed with a riot of nature’s colors, and yes, it’s a bestseller. With such a growing demand, innovation is important to Huali’s design process. Every week, the company’s in-house florists design ten products, and the whole team votes for the two best creations.
“We’re in a business where people are buying for others,” he explains. When applied to weddings, this comes with a slew of challenges, not least the numbers. Chinese weddings typically have around 200 to 500 guests, and each one is offered a floral gift by the bride and groom. Furthermore, a developing trend is for destination weddings, requiring partners all over the world to fulfill orders. John Loong focuses on collaborations with the likes of Marc Jacobs, Hermès and Valentino, and for their bridal lines, Huali turns to Swarovski. “We plan on developing thirty to fifty new floral products incorporating crystals—both stand for love, and as such, they make perfect gifts.”
John’s ultimate pride however is on Huali’s range of exotically preserved flowers. Lasting over five years, a time frame eternal for a flower, it’s an appropriate “symbol of love for a lifetime.” So while John humbly views Huali as “a little shift in consciousness,” we prefer to see this label as a purveyor of new sparkling perspectives on gifts from China.