Updated: Wed, 01/09/2013 - 01:04

Kiwi Fleur: A business blossoms

Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News Vicki Sepielli, owner/floral designer at Kiwi Fleur  Savannah Morning News
Savannah Morning News
Richard Burkhart/Savannah Morning News Vicki Sepielli, owner/floral designer at Kiwi Fleur
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about the store

Kiwi Fleur opened in 2002 and recently moved from Habersham Village to Mall Boulevard. Its work has been featured in national magazines such as Inside Weddings, Weddings Unveiled and Style Me Pretty.

Its services include deliveries, weddings, events and occasions and a retail store.

company

Kiwi Fleur

owner

Vicki Sepielli is from Auckland, New Zealand

related experience

More than 40 years in the floral industry, including work in Florida, New York and San Francisco. She opened her first shop in New Zealand and is a charter Member of Savannah Wedding Professionals and a board Member of the Savannah Wedding & Tourism Council.

on her business

“I actually started when I was in high school, working holidays and Mother’s Day. And I actually got thrown into the deep end in Auckland City. I got told to come in one day at 3 o’clock in the morning and start making flowers. That was my introduction, and I’ve been in it ever since.”

making the move to Mall Boulevard

“Looking back, I’m not quite sure how we did it right in the middle of wedding season. But it went really, really smoothly, and I am grateful for my crew for working so hard.”

flower power

“The wedding work is my passion. I take great pride in that this is somebody’s wedding day and that it’s a very, very special time in their life, and I am honored to be included in their life. I take that very seriously, and I am very particular about every detail of their wedding. I try and make it magical for them … It’s still what make my toes curl up after 40 years in the business.”

one-stop service

“There’s huge networking in the wedding industry here, and it’s one of the things that Savannah has to be proud of. We have such a diverse core of talent here that they really don’t have to go anywhere else to get a true professional for their wedding … It’s so nice when you walk into a venue, and you know the photographer, and you know the cake person and the wedding coordinator.”

a changing garden

“Unfortunately, I think the mom-and-pop florists are fading because we now have the grocery stores, the gas stations, and they’re selling cheaper than what we can buy wholesale because they’re buying nationally and getting different price packages than we can get … But the customers that want something designed, they will still come to us.”

loyal customers

“We’ve picked up people from the Landings, Dutch Island and Isle of Hope because we’re closer now to them. We may have lost a few walk-in customers who might have been spur-of-the-moment from Ardsley Park, but our customers who have been with us a long time are either coming here or calling us. Thank you to our customers that have followed us here.”

why do customers follow?

“I’m very persnickety about the standards of the work that come out of here, and I take great pride in it and having relationships with my clients as well. … It’s the type of work that we do and the relationship as well … It’s a combination of both.”

designs and dollar signs

“The creative side has always been much more fun to me than the business side. Still, there is very much a numbers side to everything we do here. When you meet with a bride, there’s a proposal to be done, pricing to be done, contracts to be written. Then there’s daily operations stuff, but it’s still not as fun for me as being on the work bench.”

mix it up

“I like to have the different flowers and different textures and things that make things look and feel a little different because, for me, that keeps it interesting. Otherwise, after 40 years, I wouldn’t want to be doing the same thing.”

hostess with the most

“Savannah is a lot smaller than some of the cities I’ve been in. But with the wedding business, it’s been a huge destination. People now come here from all over the country.”

one of a kind

“I think I would group myself with the designers locally who are edgy or trendsetting, like to be a little different. I have a style that I don’t always recognize myself. I’ve had people come up to me, and they knew it was my wedding or my work … As designers, we all have our distinct ‘little something’ that makes us different from each other.”

what her clients say

“Amazing, Amazing, Amazing!!!!! I loved working with Vicki and the girls at Kiwi Fleur. They were awesome and my flowers were Stunning. They were Fresh and looked fantastic even into the following days. Vicki has an amazing eye for flowers, and I was able to get all of the flowers that I wanted even with a limited budget because she is an active florist.” Amy, online review at WeddingWire.Com, 09/2012

“Helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable staff. Had several arrangements of orchids, all beautiful and reasonable price ranges. The lady that helped me told me how to care for the plant and added a few filler things that I liked from a similar arrangement.” Terry, online review at FlowerShopNetwork.Com

contact

Address: 714 Mall Blvd.

Phone: 912-352-0995

• kiwifleur.com

• kiwifleur.net

• facebook.com/kiwifleur

• twitter.com/KiwiFleur

— Compiled by David Gignilliat

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