Bainivalu’s love for flowers

The 61-year-old Sainimili Bainivalu selling flowers at Suva market. Picture: WANSHIKA KUMAR

Finding the ideal contrast, trimming it and designing the flowers in a way that allows people to perfectly express their emotions is what Sainimili Bainivalu does every day.

The 61-year-old said fresh, colourful and mesmerising flowers had always attracted her attention. Originally from Naruwai, Bua, she is the first florist in her family.

“During my childhood, I was always fond of flowers and we used to play with it by putting it behind our ears or decorating it as hairbands on our hair,” she said. Residing in Nakasi, Mrs Bainivalu started her flower stall in the Suva market in 2013.

“I started when my husband retired and all my children had grown up and were in tertiary level or started working.”

She said she started the business to follow her passion and to some extent support her family.

“I just love flowers so I just came in the field to be surrounded with it the whole day, sell it and bring a smile to people’s faces.”

She said she learned by looking at the flower decorations at the events she attended.

“I didn’t learn it; I just looked at the designs here in Suva and at the events that I went with my husband as my husband was the permanent secretary, and made out my designs.”

From observation to trying, Mrs Bainivalu’s flower decoration skills have evolved over the years.

“When I decorated the flower for the first time at home it was a very funny one, but I never lost hope and kept on trying.

“I kept on practising, trying and today I set flowers perfectly.”

The mother of five said she only completed her education until Year 11. “I was born and raised in the village until I came to Suva for further education.

“I was educated up to form five and after that, I got married.

“My husband encouraged me to further my education and become a lawyer, but I told him that nobody will look after the children so it was better for me to stay and look after my children,” She said she has no regrets in life despite not being able to complete her education.

“My decision of staying at home to look after my children has paid off. I just raised them and now they are all working and supporting me.” She said she always wanted to become a teacher.

“My eldest sister was a teacher and most of my relatives were in the teaching field so seeing them I also wanted to become one of them, but today I don’t regret that I can become a teacher.”

Unlike any other business, COVID-19 resulted in an increase in their sales.

“During COVID-19 business was going well because there were plenty deaths and now it’s picking slowly but overall it’s a very good business.

“One of the challenges was the supply of flowers during containment borders as sometimes I had to go to Logani or Sawani to get flowers as my suppliers are from Tailevu.”

She says her flowers put smiles on the people’s faces and this was priceless. She acknowledged the support rendered by her husband and her children in her journey as a florist.

“I always look forward to another day and I have my children, husband and grandchildren who are very sweet to us and that is very motivating.”

She advised the youths to work hard and follow their passion.

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