Eco Flower Power
Floristry is not an industry one would immediately associate with a need to ‘go green’, but the high-volume turnover of fresh flowers is prevalent in many industries, including the superyacht sector, inspired one flower fan to seek a longer-lasting and more sustainable solution. These luxury alternatives is something Damen Yachting is proud to be supporting.
“I’m a flower lover,” begins Monique Krouwels, founder of Pompon Forever Flowers. “I used to live near Pompon – the best flower shop in Amsterdam, and l would buy fresh flowers every week. That gets expensive though, and when I was travelling, the beautiful flowers were going to waste.” A seasoned globetrotter and lover of fashion, art and design, Monique recognised that, if translated into a different medium, Pompon Amsterdam’s creations had the potential to travel far and wide.
Artificial flowers are an obvious solution for holiday homes, boats, museums and workplaces, but the plastic forms on offer often leave house-proud homeowners and interior designers wanting. “I found myself buying a few fake stems in one store, some in another, and it was really quite hard work to compose a bouquet that I was happy with,” explains Krouwels.
With the agreement of Hilde Baart, owner of Krouwels’ much-loved Pompon Flower shop, Krouwels set about opening an associate atelier that offered an artificial alternative to the fresh cut stems of her neighbour, whilst observing the same artistic values and style of floristry. “Hilde believes in giving space and prominence to each bloom in the bouquets, allowing the natural beauty of each flower to shine through, imperfections and all. Hilde’s approach has earned her much admiration and led to many prestigious collaborations,” says Krouwels.
Four years later, Pompon Forever Flowers is blooming, and the pair have found their business propositions to be mutually beneficial, with both benefitting from a wider consumer base. “My greatest enjoyment is changing people’s perception of fake flowers,” comments Krouwels. “They had such an ugly, negative image because people remembered the plastic flowers of their grandparents. However the production of artificial flowers has been developed over the years and the quality has improved tremendously. We can now create arrangements so realistic that they are constantly being mistaken for fresh blooms, and this has opened people’s eyes to the possibilities.”
Eco-friendly designs for Damen Yachting
The artificial flowers sold by Pompon are sourced from suppliers across Europe and made from a combination of silk, wires, plastic, and use foam for aspects like berries and seeds. “With the variety on offer, the design freedom really becomes limitless and problems with seasonal availability are also negated,” highlights Krouwels. Other benefits include the practicality of installations, with each artificial stem much less fragile and lighter than its natural counterpart and easier to transport. These attributes give the artisanal faux florals huge appeal for the world of yachting, where it can be difficult to source types of flower as cruising regions and seasons change, and where warmer climates can shorten longevity..
“At Damen Yachting, we can’t wait to see some of these artificial arrangements used aboard the fleet, and we’ll be using them ourselves in various areas throughout our offices and shipyard.”
“For us, it’s about limiting waste of any kind – organic or otherwise – and when the flowers are no longer needed or arrangements need to be updated, we can return them to Pompon who repurpose old bouquets into new for charitable locations such as hospitals, shelters and care homes, where there may not be budget for interior accessories such as this and therefore, we can prolong the lifespan of the stems further.”
Quest for sustainability
“The philosophy behind Pompon Forever Flowers is buy less, choose well, and make it last,” states Krouwels. “We care about sustainability and environmental welfare. These flowers have no expiration date and they don’t need water – that sounds obvious, but it’s another consideration.” Continuing their quest for sustainability, Pompon is striving towards a goal of carbon neutrality, and has collaborated with ASAP Amsterdam, an initiative of three students from the Master Sustainable Business & Innovation course at Wageningen and Utrecht University that divides sustainability into three pillars: people, planet, profit. “It is within these three dimensions that we will assess our impact. We believe that true sustainability goes far beyond ‘just’ environmental sustainability; a truly sustainable business seeks to continuously improve its positive impact in all three of these dimensions,” explains Krouwels.
Choose well, make it last
By pairing the artificial flower arrangements with high-end essential oil based room sprays and diffusers positioned close to the bouquet, the fresh flower scent can be quite closely replicated, too. “That’s the only concern we’ve heard from crew who’ve looked at these artificial alternatives for onboard use, but with many superyachts working hard to improve sustainability at all levels, a room spray is a perfectly acceptable compromise,” adds Annelies.
Pompon’s flowers are available as complete arranged bouquets or single stems, giving crew creative freedom to show off their flower-arranging flair or leave it to the experts to supply them pre-arranged. Pompon are already working with a number of superyachts to deliver floral installations onboard, and have recently expanded into larger artificial plants and branches.