Hong Kong is a place brimming with talented and intriguing people. In our weekly 27 Questions column, we get up close and personal with the city’s notable personalities, learning about their whims and aversions, pivotal life moments, and hopes and dreams — all in roughly the same amount of time it takes to sit through a 2-minute speed date. This week, we sit down with Juliet Lam to learn more about her brand: Pavo Florals.
Whimsical, romantic, timeless. These are the words most frequently spoken by Juliet Lam’s customers to describe the stunning bouquets from Pavo Florals. Certainly, the same words could be used to describe Lam herself, as she’s barely aged a day in the decade that we’ve known one another. Although silk floral production has been her family’s business for years – her father is famously known as 玫瑰花大王, Hong Kong’s King of Roses – she only found inspiration to pursue her own branch after a very personal experience.
“It all started with my then-boyfriend’s proposal,” she laughs. “We were counting down the New Year with some friends in Australia and he proposed on that trip with a huge bouquet of fresh roses. They were gorgeous but we had to fly back to Hong Kong the next day, so we couldn’t bring it back with us. I distinctly remember thinking it was such a shame to leave such great flowers behind, and that was how the idea to kickstart Pavo Florals was born.
“Personally, I find the act of proposing almost more significant than the wedding itself. It’s just the two of you, and it’s such an intimate moment for couples to treasure. I wanted to produce something that people can keep and cherish forever. Our Be Mine Forever bouquet, which consists of 99 roses, is our most sought-after arrangement for proposals. We can even add initials and dates to commemorate the occasion for the happy couple.”
Creating these silk flowers are a painstaking process. First, the silk is flown in from Taiwan and carefully pressed into moulds to create each individual petal. Then, each delicate petal is hand painted (“Most people think we just have to dip the flowers into paint and – voilà – it’s done! That’s not true at all!”) with different shades of their core colour, meticulously imitating fresh blooms. Finally, the pieces have to be spun dry and heated for the colour to set before being assembled into a single flower. Every step of the process is still crafted by hand to this day.
As a new mother – her adorable son is now eight months old – Lam has become more cautious and contemplative of sustainability and is taking small steps to keep the world a beautiful place for future generations.
“If you return the 99 roses bouquet within a year, I can make it into smaller arrangements for you!” she shares. “I would say around 10% of our customers have requested this. I can turn them into smaller bouquets for the wedding, or make them into corsages, or just arrange them into smaller pieces to decorate their new homes with. That’s the beauty of silk flowers. They can last for as long as you care properly for them, and they even feel like real flowers because we add a special coating onto each petal.”
Looking ahead, Lam is casting her sights on launching her own sustainable homeware brand, Pavo Home, using recycled or mixed plastics.
Looking for a gift for a loved one? Check out Pavo Florals here.
Name: Juliet Lam
Neighbourhood: Tsim Sha Tsui
Occupation: Founder of Pavo Florals
1. Who is your role model?
My mother-in-law. She’s a very humble person with a kind heart. Despite being a workaholic, she balances life between work and family very well, which is something I admire very much. Plus, she always finds the best vacation places when we travel for the holidays.
2. What was your first job?
I majored in communication design and technology; which was computer coding and graphic design. My first job upon graduation was being a graphic designer. After a month of going to work, I knew I couldn’t do this for the rest of my life. I thought to myself, “I’m doomed, I spent the past few years of college getting a degree that I didn’t like to work with!”
3. What is your drink of choice?
4. When was the last time you drove a car?
This morning. I drive myself everywhere as I like to be free and independent.
5. What is the best thing in or about your apartment?
Mirrors. Hong Kong apartments aren’t big, so mirrors can make your whole house look spacious and brighter.
6. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Fruits. I absolutely love fruits, I managed to eat two to three fruits a day for almost a year when I was pregnant so I could provide lots of vitamins and nutrients for my baby.
7. What is your biggest regret in life?
None! Clichéd, but I really believe every mistake is a lesson learnt.
8. What do you hate most about living in Hong Kong?
The humidity. I’m such a granny, all my back pains and body aches are extra painful when it rains.
9. What is the top destination on your bucket list?
Too many! Alaska, Blue Lagoon in Iceland, the glaciers in Greenland, Madagascar, Hawaii…
10. What is your typical Sunday like?
Sunday is family day. Now that I have a son, we bring him to play with his grandparents or go swimming!
11. If you could invite any five people in the world to your dream dinner party, who would they be?
Russell Peters because I always love a good joke; Coco Chanel, her elegance and taste are remarkable; Buddha, his intelligence and teachings built me to become who I am; my future self in 30 years to see how she’s doing, and finally, my previous self from 15 years ago so that I can tell her to not worry so much.
12. If you had to describe Hong Kong in one word, what would it be?
13. What’s your favourite childhood memory?
Going up Whistler Mountain during the winter with our sleighs to slide down the hill.
14. What is your favourite scent in the whole world?
My baby! My husband and I would sniff our baby before we go leave the house, and when we get back home.
15. Who is the best teacher you’ve ever had, what is one important lesson that they taught you?
Buddha: “Everything is temporary; emotions, thoughts, people and their scenery. Do not become attached, just flow with it.”
16. How many pairs of shoes do you currently own? Which do you wear the most often?
I think about a hundred pairs! 90% of the time I’m wearing flip-flops, it’s not elegant but I feel more free and can think better without shoes on.
17. How many countries have you been to?
26 countries. I would like to travel to at least one new country every year.
18. Would you rather never be alone for a single moment, or be alone for the rest of your life? Why?
Never be alone for a single moment. I enjoy having people around even if I’m not talking or doing anything, the atmosphere is better than being alone.
19. When did you feel that you ‘made it’?
Never. There isn’t anything that can be completely the best, there is always room for improvement. In Chinese there is a saying ‘一山還有一山高’, always strive to be better as there is always someone out there better than you.
20. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done, and why?
Skydiving! It’s terrifying when you know you’re about to drop out of the plane, but it’s super fun and not as scary as one would imagine. I skydived in Gold Coast and the view was absolutely amazing. I would like to skydive in Dubai to enjoy the view of all the man-made islands.
21. If you could do it all over again, what is one thing you would do differently?
To do everything in-house by myself with my team. It’s really only us who truly understands our brand from the inside out, and there is no one else who can replace the passion and goals we have for our company.
22. What’s your favourite tradition?
Chinese New Year. It’s the time when I can meet all family and friends and it’s when everyone has new hopes and spirits are high.
23. If you could snap your fingers and fix one thing about the world, what would it be?
Eliminate fake news on social media.
24. What energises you about your work?
Happy customers sharing back with us how much they love our flowers.
25. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?
Sometimes… I prefer Chinese astrology over horoscopes although I’ve heard that they both have a connection.
26. A genie gives you three wishes — what are they?
1. Pavo Florals to be known all around the world!
2. All my friends and family to be happy and healthy.
3. To be able to time-travel to 500 years later and see what the world would look like.
27. Which moment in your life would you most like to relive?
Now, as I couldn’t ask for anything more. I truly am grateful for every day, seeing my family and friends healthy and happy.
Looking for a gift for a loved one? Check out Pavo Florals here.