Business is blooming for a Northern Ireland man who relocated to Shanghai to launch a floral design company.
n an interview with ‘that’s’ magazine in China, Mark Byrne spoke about taking the leap to start his own business, The Flowerwall Company, abroad designing flower walls for weddings and corporate events.
Now in demand across China and glitzy fashion events as far away as New York, stars like Paris Hilton, Kylie Jenner and Kevin Hart have posed for selfies in front of his designs.
Hosting his first charity fashion show at just 17, Mark studied event management at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh where he worked on large scale events like the MTV Music Awards and Live Aid.
With a passion for globetrotting, a travel agency he was working for relocated him to Shanghai in 2010 where he decided to start his own consultancy business focusing on weddings and events two years later.
“Shanghai seemed like the perfect place to get into events and try out various ideas and novelties,” he said.
Flower walls soon became a must-have product, he said, after being featured in the celebrity wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
“Fresh flower walls are incredibly expensive and have a truly short life span. So, I decided to research, design and create lifelike reusable artificial flower walls at a fraction of the price,” Mark explained.
“We now have flower walls available for rental throughout China, and to buy in China and across the world.”
The product has also become a must-have for major ad campaigns for brands like Pretty Little Things, Match.com, Kohler and Lululemon.
Mark cites his all-time favourite gig as creating “two stunning flower walls” for Michael Costello’s New York Fashion Week showcase.
“It was absolutely overwhelming in the most positive way possible,” he said. “Being able to be present at the event and witness our creations stun and wow the guests was an absolute highlight. Not to mention spending time with Michael Costello and getting the chance to meet some outstanding people from the fashion industry.”
Asked about the challenges of adapting to the impact of the pandemic, he said diversifying has been key.
“It hasn’t been smooth sailing for any company mostly involved in the export market ever since Western countries got hit,” he said.
“And we are not an exception. Yet, when the situation stabilised here, we quickly decided that the only way to go for us would be to diversify not only our client base but also our product range.
“We already had a few ideas in mind prior to the unfortunate Covid outbreak, so we are currently developing a few things. One is using our original prints on a range of fashion accessories; our flower wall photos work really well as a phone case or a tote bag print for instance.”
He said focusing on home decor, offering bespoke collections of life like flowers and even DIY kits, was a hit with customers.
“It has been a huge success so far and we are planning to continue these workshops on a regular basis, adding more themed ones for the holiday season,” he said.