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Flower.Style35: Embracing That Practice Makes Progress, Donald Yim's Floral Journey Is One Where Passion and Career Combine

Influenced heavily by both eastern and western cultures, award-winning designer Donald Yim has a unique approach to floristry and aesthetics. With an unyielding passion for flowers, a sense of exploration, and a keen eye for beauty (Donald has been designing for over 30 years), his creations have been featured in countless floral shows and internationally renowned industry publications. Beyond his extensive work with Smithers-Oasis and the Floriology Institute of Jacksonville, you can also catch Donald on YouTube, where he shares his knowledge and ongoing floral journey with captivated audiences worldwide.

1. What is your idea of the perfect flower arrangement? No matter what, it has to sell. It should be on-trend and professionally done, but it also has to be sellable.

2. How did you get started in the floral industry? I helped my sister at her flower shop in Hong Kong as a delivery boy. There, I learned all the techniques and developed the interest to pursue floristry as a full-time career.

3. If not a florist, what would be your fallback profession? Something in the art/entertainment industry, such as photography, singing, etc.

4. What's your present state of mind? Continuing my passion to help grow the florist industry.

5. Are you a Type A or B personality? Example? Type A. I love to participate in competitions, be busy, engage, learn and share.

6. What is your most treasured possession? My family for sure; they support me no matter what I do.

7. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? "Practice makes progress!"

8. Where do you find inspiration outside the flower world? I'm inspired by buildings, architecture, sculptures and modern art.

9. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I don't think I would change anything. I like to work with what I have, not with what I don't.

10. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Winning Grand Prize for SAF's Sylvia Cup Design Competition in 2019 and 5th Place at the World Flower Art Contest in Beijing, also in 2019. Besides that, making the greatest industry friends and being able to share my floral experiences on social media.

11. What's one thing you would tell your younger self? You learn from everything you do. So, if I were to tell my younger self to not do something, I wouldn't have learned from a potential mistake.

12. What event or job has been your favorite? Everything I've worked on has been my favorite! I enjoy each moment for what it is, knowing that I will learn something from it and gain experience for my floral journey.

13. Any projects that you wish you could forget? No; even if I make a mistake, I embrace it as a learning opportunity.

14. What is your most marked characteristic? My personality. I am bright, funny, energetic and like to help people.

15. Who are your heroes in real life? My mom. A resilient woman who raised 9 kids by herself, she taught me that I can be strong.

16. What would you call your style of design? Modern, with a mix of cutting edge and fusion.

17. What is your favorite tool for working with flowers? A good, sharp knife.

18. Who's on your playlist? Rihanna and Bruno Mars.

19. What's on your to-do list? Travel to Europe.

20. What flower best represents your personality? Why? Heliconia. It is strong, has sharp characteristics, is colorful, and always gives off a happy feeling.

21. Who is your favorite artist? Vincent van Gogh.

22. Any pets? I adore my new rescue dog!

23. Are you prone to routine or more spontaneous? Certain routines—like having coffee—are a must for me. But, I also crave variety; for example, I love to travel spontaneously or experiment with new foods.

24. How do you unwind after a long day? Playing Monopoly with my family.

25. Favorite beverage? Coffee.

26. What do you see trending in floral design? The wild, "garden-type" look is going strong. This style used to be geared more towards weddings, but now, it works for everyday.

27. What's out? Mason jar containers.

28. What is your flower motto? "Practice, apply and practice."

29. What's your motto in life? "Willing to do is not enough, you have to apply. Knowing is not enough, you have to do it."

30. How would your friends describe you? Encouraging, loving, helpful and always there.

31. What would surprise us most about you? I have a nice singing voice.

32. What have you learned from flowers? Be flexible!

33. If you could invite 3 people (dead, alive or fictional) to a dinner party who would they be? Describe the centerpieces. My mom, (she passed away), Bruce Lee and Dorothy from the "Wizard of Oz." The centerpieces would be bright and colorful, featuring tropical accents and vibrant shades.

34. What's your best advice to someone just starting out in the flower industry? The floral industry is hard. But if you grind it out, and keep learning and improving yourself, the industry will recognize your talent and pay you back for the time and effort invested in your career. And don't ever give up; especially for the younger generations, you shouldn’t expect your skill and experience to come overnight!

35. What did we forget to ask? About my YouTube channel, @donaldyimaifd, where I share design tutorials and more!


To stay connected with Donald and view more of his work, click on the links below.

Donald Yim Website | Donald Yim Facebook | Donald Yim Instagram | Donald Yim YouTube