Wed | Nov 21, 2018

Say more with Papflor

Published:Sunday | March 11, 2018 | 12:19 AMKrysta Anderson
Beckford feels she has found her calling with her paper flower designs.

Fashion meets art with one-of-a-kind design - This is at the heart of Papflor. 


Papflor is an event decor company, specialising in creating personalised handcrafted paper-flower pieces for birthday parties, anniversaries, graduations, corporate anniversaries and weddings. You name the occasion and Papflor will deliver in vibrant colours. Outlook had a heart to heart with the beauty behind Papflor about her creative journey into the arts.


“I've always enjoyed making things and being creative. I was always the one to paint the house or fence for Labour Day, or design dresses and swimwear for myself and a few friends in high school. I recently learnt that my grandmother, Grandma Ruby, on my mother's side, used to craft straw baskets and placemats among other things. I guess her creativity lives on in me,” Papflor artistic creator Rashida Beckford said.


Papflor came on the scene with beautiful 'black girl magic' boxes. The afro in the piece, Beckford said, is significant with women of colour.  “We all saw Davina Bennett’s spectacular performance at Miss Universe 2017, and while we have different hair textures, different coils, curls and lengths, from you see an afro, you can identify that it's a black woman. And, especially the stance of the woman, it's symbolic of one who is proud; a proud black woman who holds her head up high.”


The former Miss Jamaica World contestant, who described her childhood as "pretty amazing", is the 'wash belly' of six children. She revealed that they were all engaged in sporting activities as children, but her parents ensured that these hobbies functioned as a balancing act to their academics. 


At Hydel Preparatory School, Beckford graduated as the head girl, valedictorian, track team captain and netball captain. This she said played a major part in her drive to not only become actively involved, but to be a top performer in all her endeavours as well. While there, she was also introduced to volunteerism.

NOT ALL TRACKS

During her tenure in high school, she continued competing in track and netball, but took track more seriously, due to her parents’ persistence. It proved to be the best option for a worthwhile scholarship at university. With the assistance of her track coach, Mr Prince, she transitioned seamlessly to University of Maryland, eastern shore, with a full track scholarship and assistance into their honours programme.


“I pursued a degree in dietetics and nutritional sciences while competing as a division one athlete.” 
Her department - human ecology - also included fashion merchandising as a field of focus. It was there that she began her entrepreneurial pursuits. She started a short-lived business called 'Reggae Snappers', using gems and feathers to make festive hair accessories that she sold at school.


So, how did she soar to new heights and land smoothly into becoming a paper florist?  She watched as a bride attempted to make floral arrangements for her wedding, and it was taking her months to complete. Since she had spare paper and some time,  she tried her hand at it. Her friends would come over, fall in love with the pieces, and ask her to make a few for them. She posted photos of her work online and thought nothing of it. A few months later, an event planner reached out to her, asking her how much it would cost to make a particular arrangement. Clueless to costing, she still got the job done. People asked her client who the creator was and that is how her brand began to grow.

Kingston Bridal Week 2015 gave her an even bigger push. “Without them even knowing who I was, the reception from the work was great.” Then, when she did Wedding Spectacular, many brides wanted to take pictures of the backdrop she crafted. Persons loved the concept and had never seen anything like it before. For Beckford, it was all overwhelming.

Word of her talent spread and she turned artwork into a business, becoming Papflor, your paper florist.


One of her biggest challenges so far is training and retaining staff. For now, Beckford works from the comfort of her home, which makes the high order demands just that — demanding, as she scrambles to meet deadlines, especially those that are last-minute. But because she's so passionate about her craft and loves what she does, she presses on. 
She said: “I’ve been very fortunate to have orders coming in from other parts of the Caribbean and the United States, so we always want to make sure we can meet the local as well as the international demands.”


For those interested in pursuing multiple passions, her advice is to consider time, place and demand. “For me, right now, in my place, I'm not focused on nutrition, but I can always go back to it because I've earned my degree and no one can take that from me.

It's something I do love and I practise it for myself and my family. Just look at where you are and what is giving you the turnaround. If that's not where your heart is at the time, you really want to dress back and figure out which one is lucrative and which one you are actually good at. If it's an over-saturated market, step back and diversify - add something else to the offering or find a way to combine those passions.”

Papflor is ready for a floral takeover, focusing on backdrops that are beautiful, spectacular and of the best quality. So, if you're impressed by what you see here, and want to say more with Papflor, hit them up on their Instagram page: @papflor or email any queries to papflorists@gmail.com
 
krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com