Woman trades in desk for daffodils career change

Lara Sanja

Lara Sanja - Credit: Archant

A woman has left the hard-line world of advertising and dumped her desk for daffodils, her laptop for clippers, and turned her lounge into her new office to embark on a new career with flowers.

Lara Sanjar, 33, of Broadway Market, Haggerston, said her stressful job had been taking its toll and she had started to suffer bouts of depression and panic attacks.

She said: “Something had to change. For years Sunday was my favourite day of the week when Columbia Road Flower Market was on. It would all kick off at 8am,

“But I would get there even earlier so I could watch everyone set up and enjoy some peaceful time with the flowers until the crowds arrived. It reminded me of times I had spent in the garden with my mother, who used to be a landscape gardener and was always outside – this is where my green fingers had come from.

“I knew I wanted to do more than just observe.”  

She approached a floral installation artist called Rebecca Louise Law, who has a studio on Columbia Road, for advice on how to turn her dream into a reality.

Rebecca offered Lara work experience and their first assignment, working through the night to create a dramatic mistletoe chandelier for Tiffany & Co, had Lara hooked from the beginning.

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Other events she worked on included the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic to make a whole ceiling out of roses.

Lara said: “As my confidence grew, the time came to say good-bye to my career in advertising, take everything I had learnt from the last year and go it alone.”

Lara promoted her new business, Wild Renata, through social media sites and her first big solo job came in the form of a floral window installation, commissioned by a friend for a restaurant in Hackney.

Lara hung 3,000 daffodils across two large windows, creating daffodil curtains.

Soon jobs of all shapes and sizes came flooding in – including producing 60 flower arrangements for a private Christmas party at the London’s Savoy Hotel and being flown out to Singapore to source a rare orchid by an advertising agency.

Lara said: “I feel like a changed person, completely focused and just happy. It’s like I have never known happiness until now. I’ve found my purpose and I just love being my own boss.”

Lara has 15 weddings booked in for this year and has just been approached to work at the Ascot races.

She will also be working with Kopparberg at their pop up festival in Hackney Wick on June 20 creating floral beards and hairpieces.

Lara soon hopes to hold flower-arranging workshops at various hospitals and homes, to show others how flowers can really make a difference and brighten up even the darkest of days.

She can be found on most weekends selling bouquets at Hatch Homerton, in MacKintosh Lane.

For more information email wildrenata@hotmail.com.