Stefan Smuts, winner of Die Groenste Vingers Season 2, has loved working with flowers since he was a kid, helping his grandmother with floral decorations for functions. At the age of sixteen, he created all the flower arrangements for a wedding, by himself. This led to Stefan starting his own floral and decor business named ‘Black Tulip Floral & Décor Styling’. Stefan’s inspiration was definitely influenced by our own South African/African nature and he describes his style as ‘fine art’ combined with elegance and drama. Stefan loves using our country’s natural elements, products, textures and colours. Dry elements and grasses are his favourite materials to work with.
My team recently sat down with Stefan, winner of Die Groenste Vingers Season 2, and asked him 10 questions, to learn a bit more about him.
Did You Have A Game Plan When You Were Chosen To Compete In Die Groenste Vingers?
I did not have a strategy at the beginning. I did not know what would be expected or which challenges awaited, so it was my plan to trust in myself and simply give it my best. I did however, soon realize what my strategy should be after the first challenge. It was to ignore personal taste and style and to adhere to what the judges expected with every challenge. I think this helped me to the end.
What Was The Most Challenging Part Of This Competition?
There were two. The first was to create a floral piece using a painting as inspiration. It was a difficult colour palette and not my style at all. My other challenge was creating a floral dress to be worn by a model. As a man, I did not have the designing and fitting experience, and started feeling the pressure. Ironically, I won both these challenges and learnt that I can actually work and perform when under pressure.
What Was The Biggest Mistake You Made In One Of The Challenges And How Did You Improvise?
I totally misinterpreted one of the mini creations and the time allowed for it. My choice of flowers did not suit the design, my style was wrong. I tried improvising by using flower stalks to hide the flower foam because I had too few flowers, but could not finish on time. I am still thankful that it was not a knock-out round.
What Advice Would You Give Future Contenders Of Die Groenste Vingers?
- Most importantly, just enjoy it. It is after all what we love doing.
- Listen intently to what is expected of you.
- Do not underestimate yourself.
- Focus on your own instinct and work. Do not look around you.
Which Judge Scared You The Most?
Myself. I am very critical about my work and it takes a lot to impress me. Time constraints were challenging as there was no time to overthink and to be hard on yourself. I was not intimidated by Leon or Frans, but was in fact very excited to meet them. To receive compliments as well as criticism from them was an honour.
Which Flower Is The Most Difficult To Arrange With?
Hydrangeas are very difficult to work with because they wilt so fast, and have to be treated to keep them alive. This takes a lot of attention and time to ensure that they look good for an occasion.
Do You Create Floral Art Masterpieces In Your Own Home Or Do You Just Slap A Bunch Of Blooms In A Pot And Be Done With It?
I am definitely not a person who would just slap flowers in vase. Working at my business will always allow me a flower or two to play with at home. Flowers should never be neglected and just slapped in a vase.
Were You Guilty Of Grabbing The Last Bunch Of Blooms Away After Seeing Your Closest Competitor’s Eagerness To Win?
I’m not sure. I just focused on what to pick and having enough flowers to finish my challenge to the best of my ability. Thinking back, we were probably all a bit guilty of grabbing the best first. It was a competition after all.
If You Could Do It All Over Again, What Would You Change?
I would tackle it with more confidence.
Now That You Have Been Crowned As The Winner Of Die Groenste Vingers, What Are Your Plans For The Future?
My main mission is to grow my business and the prize money will help me with this. I have decided to use it to buy more decor items in the style which I like and to start hiring them out under the name Black Tulip Edition. I think there is a gap in the market for this.
Facebook: Black Tulip Floral & Decor Styling