October 04, 2018 4 min read

Diana’s story is a brilliant one. She ditched the corporate life to become a mother, business owner and lend her hand to nature. As if raising two daughters and running two businesses would be easier than a 9-5; we chat to Diana about how business is her soul-food, the launch of The Botanist pop up store, and how when you do what you love it hardly seems like work!

Diana Pen from the Botanist wears Saben handbag in Tilly Linen

Diana Pen of the Botanist wears Saben handbag Tilly's Big Sis in Chestnut

Your journey started in HR – is that right?

My journey in NZ started almost 20 years ago. I came to New Zealand as a student and after my studies I have worked in a wide range of industries, such as hospitality, sales, and HR. I’m very fortunate to have discovered my passion for floristry back in 2012 when we were living in Christchurch.

You have grown a successful business importing kiwi products to China. Tell us a bit more about your business philosophies and how you found your place in the Chinese market?

New Zealand products are perceived to be high quality and eco-friendly by Chinese consumers. As a mother of two little ones, my business philosophy is simple – I only sell and recommend products that I would personally use myself, and I think people really like and respect that. And if our products provide real benefits to our customers then everything else will sort of take care of themselves.

New Zealand is home, tell us about raising your daughters in NZ and what this means to you.

I’m proud to call New Zealand home. A lot people that I know probably don’t realise how lucky they are to be living in New Zealand. I can’t think of any better place to bring up my girls.  

Congrats on becoming owner of The Botanist!!! What led you here?

I just love everything that The Botanist brand represents: unconventional, edgy, fun, creative, and bold. It’s definitely a brand with personality. Nowadays, I just think it becomes ever more important to stand for something and be authentic and unapologetic about it. So, when the opportunity came up, it just felt like the right thing to do.

Your passion for people, business and flowers is undeniable. Where do you plan on taking The Botanist next?

We are extremely lucky and privileged to have Eden staying with us and lending us a big hand as Head Florist and Manager. She has poured her heart and soul into The Botanist over the past 4 years and made it into what it is today. With Eden leading our team of talented florists (and freeing her from the admin stuff), my number one priority is to provide an inclusive, supportive, and fun environment for our girls to grow, and to focus on what they love doing. Happy florists make beautiful flowers. And I think our customers will value this.

Work and life are inevitably intertwined, how do you balance your business babies and your actual babies?

It’s no different to any other hardworking young family out there really. It can be demanding sometimes but there’s this quote I really liked from a TED talk by explorer Ben Saunders:

“If we can’t feel content here, today, now, on our journeys, amidst the mess and the striving that we all inhabit, the open loops, the half-finished to-do lists, the could-do-better-next-times, then we might never feel it”

That sort of helps me putting perspective to things.

Your energy is infectious!! We adored having you in studio. What keeps you going? AND in light of the ethos behind Exhale collection, how do you take time for yourself?

Maybe this sounds crazy, but when I’m with flowers, I’m able to sort of zone-out, just be myself. And I do enjoy cooking for my family, too. It’s also a special time to be myself, and to be creative in a different way.

Do you feel that there is a guiding philosophy behind your work and life, or are there any specific mantras you live by?

Do what you love, love what you do, 110%. Things will take care of themselves.

It was SO much fun to collaborate with you and Eden on our Primavera spring image project. Tell us what is like working with head florist, Eden?

I have tremendous respect for Eden. She’s strong, creative, no non-sense, and she’s just simply a beautiful human being. As a team, I think we complement each other, we share the same passion for floristry and life, and we both believe in all the values that The Botanist brand represents.

 Eden Kersten and Diana Pen of the Botanist wear Saben handbags Till'ys Big Sis Chestnut and Juno

Diana Pen from the Botanist wears Saben Tilly's Big Sis Chestnut Eden Kersten wears Saben JunoTote

What are your favourite flowers to work with?

I love Ranunculus, it comes in so many different colours, the blossoms display layer upon layer of silky petals, its just so beautiful, it looks almost unreal.

We go crazy for florals in spring! Is it your preferred season too, or is just a hype as we all get over the frosts of winter?

As a florist, I actually love winter, because flowers last so much longer, and winter flowers are sooooo much more beautiful.

You were SUCH a natural in front of the camera! Is there something you’re not telling us? (hello model!)

Blame my husband. He took so many photos of me over the years…

 What do you look for in a handbag?

I don’t like to spend a fortune on bags, so it’s “easier” to keep up with the latest trend.  

What drew you to new shape, Rebe handbag for your mama?

Rebe handbag can be formal or casual, pretty much good for most occasions. It really suited her, and mum loves bags with zip top.

To see more from The Botanist, join them on instagram @thebotanist

OR you can shop bouquets online thebotanist.co.nz

BETTER YET - until the end of November, if you use the code SABEN you receive 20% off your order! (as if you needed any more convincing!!! Make your day, or make someone else’s and celebrate spring with The Botanist!)


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