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Where We Work: Twig and Arrow

Twig and Arrow Studio in Brooklyn, Wellington

Last year we started exploring the link between where you work and how you work. For many people, particularly those in the creative field, their office is an essential tool in their process - often functional and inspirational at the same time. A story we did last year on Studio Marcus Hay reflected this important dynamic. Another example is Twig and Arrow, which incidentally is where I'll be this weekend for a private floral workshop. Florist, instructor and stylist, Mindy Dalzell was gracious in inviting me into her professional world and office space.

All photographs by Anahita Paul.

Exterior signage created by industrial design studio, Proffer

How did 'Twig and Arrow' come about? About 5 years ago when my building was affected by a burst water pipe I closed my floral and design store I had had for 7 years. It was one of those moments in life where I could have picked up and opened somewhere else but I just truly didn't have the heart.  I loved the community I was in and with no other available premises available I made the decision to shut for good.  In the days that followed I was still working with the clients I had on my books for weddings and it occurred to me that my clients were all of a sudden able to meet with me at times that completely suited them. So I made decision to specialise in events and weddings only. I built my website in a week and started Twig & Arrow. I dedicated my time to not only my clients but to building a strong online social media presence. If I wasn't meeting with clients I was creating content and posting my heart out. 
How hard was it to develop the business you have created? I didn't find it hard I guess because I have never not worked hard. I have always pushed myself and the more visual content I created I found attracted the clients I wanted to work with. By showing my clearly defined style and ethos I wasn't being asked to work outside my preferred design aesthetic anymore. That doesn't mean I didn't take clients with different taste to mine, it means I was attracting clients that wanted their taste and style translated through my designs.  
Mindy at work
You call yourself a Botanical Stylist - can you tell us more about this? About 2 years into Twig & Arrow I adopted the Botanical Stylist title as I was doing just as much with plants and foliage as I was with flowers.  Everything that grows and is natural is my medium. I quickly found that defining what I did helped with my corporate and editorial clients find me. So when a business or magazine needs a photo shoot professionally styled with botanical elements they contact me.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your botanical work? First and foremost is nature.  Fashion, interior and architecture  trends are so important to what I do.
You have a great studio space in Brooklyn - why base yourself in Brooklyn, rather than, say, in the city? Firstly I live in Brooklyn so living a few blocks away is amazing. The parking is wonderful and it suits my clients and workshop attendees perfectly. It's 5 minutes from the CBD.
How did you find this building? The space came up for lease a year ago and the day after the sign was posted I made the call. The owners had been using it as an art studio so it had really good fit out that suited what I do. Before it was a studio years ago it was a Croatian dance hall and I think before that a dairy. It was everything I wanted in a space. Large enough to hold my winter floral workshops and large light filled space for shooting my creative work as well as during wedding season (Oct-April) we need that space.  Every inch is covered in flowers and hard work. 
What was it like at the beginning? Did you have to change it much to suit your business? At first we painted a lot.  I had a friend and sublet tenant, photographer Anna Munro, a couple days a week in the beginning and she and I just painted everything white.  It had sealed ply floors that were mismatched and bright yellow walls that had to go. The most notable changes have come recently.  As both Anna and my businesses quickly outgrew the space as a shared space she found a lovely space in Karori and I have just taken the whole of the space. I recently painted the floors Half Silver Chalice Walk On by Resene, which is a great product for hard wearing high traffic areas. I wanted it to look a little like poured concrete and I love it.  The walls are still white for photographing and bouncing all the lovely light. I sewed floor length linen sheers for the windows and paired that with black metal hardware which is a nod to my black and white branding. Which, I will say, has also recently had a recent makeover by my incredible graphic designers Dusty & Lulu.  They had done my original branding and I wanted a new look that encompassed the journey of the brand and evolution of the business.  They hit the nail on the head.  It's everything I wanted.  The exterior of the building has just been redesigned by Proffer.  They were really wonderful to work with. I didn't have a massive budget but they really wowed me with what they could do.  I can't say enough about their process.  I knew what I wanted and they really made it happen.

Where did you draw inspiration from for the studio space? I have been in my industry a long time (nearly 18 years now) and I always found I never had a a dream space - one that was organised and free of distractions. When I knew I was moving in, I collected images of spaces that were practical but also simple and lovely. For me it is really important to be able to hide away the clutter - and in my industry there is a lot of clutter. But my personality gets a bit overwhelmed when the clutter is out and I am trying to create. Now that I have my dream studio, I can tell you it was worth everyday not having it.  I walk in and I just want to create and I feel free. Best thing for an artist and creative is that freedom. But it's taken a long time to have this.  By no means did it come overnight.


What are your favourite flowers? That's kind of like asking what are my favourite puppies...very hard but if I had to say ranunculus, anemone & sweet peas
Your favourite type of projects? I love weddings.  But equally I love working on corporate events too. For years there has been this misconception that a corporate event styling needs to be an extension of the office.  I could not disagree more.  Corporate events need to be a celebration of the hard work and passion that partners and staff put into their work.  When I can work with event coordinators and brand experience companies to bring a warm, memorable and impressive vibe to their events like I do for a wedding, then that is a job done well.
Thank you Mindy for showing us around Twig and Arrow studio. It's true that Mindy is often creating beautiful content and posting her heart out on social media - you should take a look at her work on instagram, facebook and her website
Mindy's attentive companion, the delightful Poppy