Tell us more about yourself.
My name is Jennifer Tran. I’m 30 years old. I was born on a cold Christmas Day in Hanoi in 1983. I spent most of my childhood in the city so I never had a chance to be close to nature. My interest in flowers only started recently.
My first creation was a bouquet I made for my best friend’s surprise birthday in December 2013. It was a simple arrangement of white and yellow roses. At the time, I only had two rolls of crepe paper so I needed to be more creative with them. I decided to spray paint on the paper to achieve different tonal effects. The result was quite pleasing. My work has developed greatly over the past few months, however, this bouquet remains my most favourite and significant work.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am constructing an arrangement inspired by Yves Klein’s work. Just a sneak peak, there will be intricate hand-‐rolled stamens, intense blue and lots of dazzling gold petals.
Tell us the story behind the brand paPetal.
I came to love flower making last December as I crafted a bouquet for my best friend’s surprise birthday. I was so obsessed that just within the last two months of 2013, I tirelessly crafted hundreds of experimentations. The results were not always as successful as I would hope. However, I enjoyed every bit of this process. It was an exhilarating experience to see my ideas blossoming and unfolding in front of me. I was able to transform ordinary materials into something so charmingly beautiful. I created new forms and discovered new techniques along the way.
There was so much to learn and to explore, I could not stop making ever since. In January 2014, I created a blog share my work with friends and family. As the blog began to develop, I started receiving custom order requests. I decided to open a shop on Etsy not only to sell but also to learn how to manage a "brand". There is a lot of administration involved in managing paPetal, however, I find this process as fun and rewarding as flower making. In March 2014, after several months of brainstorming, paPetal was christened as the official brand name.
How did you come up with the name paPetal?
After a few months of brainstorming with no luck deciding on a name that would suit my brand image, I decided to follow my husband’s formula. First, I wrote down a list of 2-‐3 word phrases that best described what I was doing. Then, I picked three of most favourite phrases. Next step was to play with the words, mixing and matching them together to create new meanings. After several tries, I found paPetal. It was a non-‐existing word, short, simple and captured literally what I was doing without being so suggestive. So there, I finally found it.
What inspires you and your paPetal designs?
Besides nature, I find inspiration in textile & wallpaper designs. Victoria & Albert publishing has a great collection of patterns from the late 1800s to Art Nouveau to Pop. I can spend hours browsing through the archive, it’s just endless.
Name three things you love
1. Yoga, because it keeps my head clear and my body fit.
2. My Mont Blanc Meisterstuck fountain pen because it truly is a masterpiece of craftsmanship.
3. Ceramic tableware made by my husband because they make the perfect vessels for my flowers.
Thanks Jen for taking the time out to answer my questions. Your work and creativity is an inspiration to me!