This article was originally published here: Michael Pritchard – Founder & Creative Director of Heliconia Bangkok and Heliconia Bali
The Covid pandemic reducing opportunities for his floral events has not deterred Michael Pritchard; one of the many ways he has continued his business was with artist designed floral masks.
What’s your story?
I’m a Floral Events specialist and my story since our first interview 2 years ago, has concentrated on establishing Heliconia in Bangkok. We now have a 5 floor purpose built flower gallery and retail emporium in Bangrak, near the CBD. My background as a florist and longstanding business owner of Heliconia Bali a floral events company, set the scene for this exciting expansion. It’s been joyous and scary, often at the same time, as COVID crept into Thailand and disrupted business conditions within our first 12 months.
What excites you most about your industry?
My industry IS EXCITING – I work on beautiful events and presentations in wonderful environments such as:
Dining Under the Flowers, a cocktail party and dining event in our Bangkok retail space.
Bangkok Design Week, exhibiting with 2,000 designers and creative businesses drawing in 400,000 visitors from Thailand and abroad.
Sculptural Flower exhibition on Galleries Night Bangkok organised by the Embassy of France.
Floral designs to complement jewelled art pieces at Lotus Arts de Vivre windows at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. And the newly launched David Thompson restaurant Aksorn.
What drives you in business to push beyond what other people consider normal?
I’m deeply driven by my clients desire to do something wonderfully beautiful that stimulates the senses. It may be a product launch or a special event, or just a simple bouquet picked up on the way home. I love exceeding my clients expectations and exotic florals are at the heart of it.
What have been the most useful skills you have learnt and applied in your journey?
The Art of Pivoting – be resourceful and flexible with changing business conditions.
With COVID and less gatherings, we’ve pivoted into the production of botanic facemasks, paired with flower deliveries or purchased online and sent to all parts of the world. The fabric designs are a collaboration with Italian Artist Arianna Caroli and South African Artist Jocelyn Habittell
We hold floral masterclasses and dinners at Heliconia HQ to stimulate ideas and new business networks, as well as the pleasure of social contact in challenging times.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
‘Treat your clients with respect, they should always have the best’ .. advice from my first floral employer many years ago and the bedrock mantra of Heliconia.
Who inspires you?
Nature inspires me, it’s a continuing love affair one never tires of.
What have you learnt recently that blew you away?
That good relationships are everything – something I’ve always known, but the demonstrated proof I’ve had during COVID has been a knockout.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
While my business in Bali continues to do well, I would have expanded earlier. Being in a bigger pond benefits both businesses and me personally. Bangkok is a creative hub that attracts interesting people, like the masterly successful Bill Bensley whom we’ve recently worked with again. This installation was an abundance of exotic florals set in equally striking porcelain art pieces, strategically placed around an amazing 1600sqm penthouse.
How do you unwind?
These days I’m cooking more and travelling less. I love entertaining at home and relish the atmosphere created by easy friendships.
What is a major mindset change, belief shift or ‘ah ha’ moment that you’ve experienced in relation to your business?
At the end of 2020 after one hell of a year, it occurred to me that disruption brings opportunity and new ways forward, developing the mindset to go with it – is key.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Wolterinck’s: Kleur Colour Couleur Farbe. Every page of this book inspires me.
Shameless plug for your business:
Heliconia Bangkok and Heliconia Bali
We have: Retail Flower Galleries and Homewares in both locations.
We are: Events Co-Ordinators Asia-wide for weddings, product launches, corporate, hotel and nightclub events and private villa parties.
We provide: Imaginative designs that will dazzle and amaze your guests and promote goodwill; curated settings and atmospheric lighting – you’ll never go home; homewares for the bold and beautiful and unimaginable blooms that will capture your heart.
How can people connect with you?
By coming to visit me directly at Heliconia Bangkok Gallery on 1 Soi Charoenkrung 38, Bangrak and/or connect with me on social media.
Social Media Links?
This interview is part of the CallumConnects series.