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"You’ve gotta be a bit defective” – Plantomime Flower Couture interview

This is how it goes at Plantomime Flower Couture, the joint dream of Árpád Kereszthury and Attila Németh. The boys told us about the shop as well as their preparation for Christmas.

We Love Budapest: What’s the origin of the name and what does it stand for?

: We had many ideas and this won out. Pantomime means performances where emotions are acted out using mostly facial expressions. Now, this is what we complemented with the letter “L”, changing the meaning to something like art conveyed with flowers. This is to say that we didn’t want to open a simple flower shop but a decoration company revolving around flowers, where unique creations are born.

WLB: Where did you meet?

: We met among a company of friends, we’ve known each other for 10 years. Attila created the decoration at my wedding.
Attila: Actually it didn’t even occur to me at the time that we’d be working together in the future.

WLB: How did the joint enterprise come into being?

: I went to a gardening school and worked in the field too. I’ve had an own shop as well, but I closed it after some time. Of course, I wanted to go on in this direction but a bit differently. Then came Árpi. Literally - from abroad.
Árpi: Yeah, and I got bored with what I had been doing for 10 years in the financial services. I felt like doing something creative. I knew Attila and knew he was one of the best in Hungary, and we got to thinking about the future.
WLB: Árpi, on paper you are the manager and Attila, you are the flower arranger. In pracice, however, you seem to work in a more obscure allocation of workload...

: The ideas are common, we really discuss every detail. And Árpi’s learning flower arranging besides managing. In quotation marks, of course, because it covers a multitude of things such as decoration, ornamenting and whatnot. Árpi spends a lot of time pracicing, next to me, which is, of course, a lot of help to me. He’s doing great, but this is a matter of time (just like everything else). I was lucky back in the days, not in the gardening school but at the place where I did my practice. It was a place of completely novel approaches, Kati Imre’s shop. She’s a big name in the trade. I learnt a lot from her and that period of my life was a real inspiration to me because I was given the green light and great responsibility with that, too. There were occasions when I was completely alone in the shop, customers came and had to be served. I needed this, I know it now.
Árpi: That you think about it this way is partly because of your personality. Not everyone is as determined as you.

WLB: Is flower arranging rather technical knowledge or more like art?

: You’ve gotta be a bit defective. There are basics, sure, but you need something more to get you further. Creativity or name it as you will.
WLB: Have you tried yourself in other artistic endevors too?

: Yes, but I wasn’t this persistent in anything else. There are some things I’ll definitely give a shot but I’m staying with my chosen path. Flowers. I’m interested in a bunch of things but fortunately all of them are related: fashion, design, hairdressing, make-up.

WLB: What’s the trend in flower decorations?

: There are more. White, cool, wintry colors. Though, you have to be careful with these trends. Pink-lilac Christmas won’t be popular just because I know that’s it’s what’s trendy. Sometimes it’s worth to experiment because some will reward it but you have to feel it who’s gonna like what.
WLB: Do you sometimes get extraordinary orders?

: Yes, what’s more, sometimes we don’t even like at all what’s requested of us. So we try to influence them. At times you can’t and you just have to do what they ask for.
Árpi: You really have to strive to find a common set that includes the idea of the customer and our approach too.

WLB: Favorite order?

: Just give me some directions and leave the rest to me. That’s what I love.

WLB: Looking around I can see very special materials. What’s your favorite for Christmas decorations?

: I’m in favor of natural things like fruits, berries, flowers, wooden ornaments. We do keep plastic things too but we try to refrain from these very flashy Christmas wreath packed with plastic ornaments.

WLB: Talking of materials, how do you procure the flowers?

: We can’t ignore supply, of course. There was a customer who wanted lily-of-the-valley but we couldn’t get any in Hungary. We got some from Holland but clearly for a steeper price. It’s also not easy to get the quantities right.
Árpi: Hungary still lacks such a well-established system of procurement as that in, for example, Holland. Sometimes you’ve got to wait days for a specific type. Surely enough, it’s easy to get hold of basic flowers on a daily basis but we go out of our way to have specialties in stock, too, not only the trio of dianthus, rose and gerbera.

WLB: For example?

: Special tropical flowers, orchid rarities, flamingo flower, ginger flower, huge roses imported from Equador, etc.

WLB: How do you plan on spending the holidays? How are you preparing and what kind of decoration are you going to have at home?

: Relaxing will be sweet, no wonder we are preparing for a big celebration. Our own decoration is the last on the list. Family members and friends are going to help with it. Primarily being together will determine the holidays, and recharging for the new year. Also, eating and sleeping.

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