The Beautiful Bunch

Image of flower

The Beautiful Bunch is much more than a flower delivery service; it’s a thriving social enterprise with a mission to empower women from refugee backgrounds. We caught up with Studio Director Riana Jayaraj to uncover the story behind this impactful venture.

02 February 2024

Can you tell us about the origin of The Beautiful Bunch and the inspiration behind providing employment opportunities for women from refugee backgrounds?

In October 2020, during Melbourne's lengthy lockdown, our CEO, Jane Marx, and three incredible young women from refugee backgrounds, initiated The Beautiful Bunch. The purpose was, and still is, to provide much-needed paid training opportunities to young women who are marginalised from the mainstream workforce. We firmly believe that work empowers women and that it is important for young women to find meaningful employment from a young age. Our program participants face huge barriers to workforce entry, and as the only not-for-profit working exclusively to support them, we are committed to helping them find employment, gain financial independence, and pursue their dreams.

Could you discuss the challenges these women face in the workforce and how The Beautiful Bunch's supportive environment helps overcome them?

For many women in our program, securing employment in Australia is a years-long struggle with new language, culture, and traditions, often without family or friends. The Beautiful Bunch offers a safe space for them to flourish at various stages of integration, nurturing a community amongst participants with similar circumstances, and creating a supportive, effective environment.

What significance does being the only Victorian not-for-profit focused on young women from refugee backgrounds hold for The Beautiful Bunch, and how does this influence your approach and initiatives?

We have designed our program, and in fact, our entire business model, around ensuring that the barriers that exist to entering the mainstream workforce and even many other social enterprise programs, are not impediments to joining our program. Our approach is fundamentally guided by how to best meet the needs of the women we work with. We do our best to balance this with the competing demands of a very busy floristry business! The program was co-designed with the beneficiaries, and I think that makes all the difference. We don't require our trainees to have had any previous work experience prior to joining us; having low-levels of English, lacking in self-confidence, childcare responsibilities, reduced hours available to work - none of these are barriers to joining our program!

In your six-month training program, what key skills do you focus on teaching, and how do you believe these skills prepare your trainees for future success?

Our six-month training program is geared towards cultivating skills essential for future success. While we place a strong emphasis on botanical knowledge and floristry fundamentals, our program also offers training in digital skills and financial literacy. Additionally, we prioritise the development of soft skills, including effective communication and confidence-building. The holistic approach of our training extends beyond the scope of floristry, aiming to equip participants with a diverse set of transferable skills. Our goal is to prepare them not only for a range of professional opportunities, but also to facilitate personal growth. Through this multifaceted training, we strive to empower our participants with the tools they need to thrive in various aspects of their lives.

How does your daily process of selecting and creating one style of bouquet distinguish The Beautiful Bunch?

The "Bunch of the Day" is a combination of the freshest seasonal flowers and foliage acquired each morning from the Melbourne Flower Market. Our daily commitment of waking up as early as 2:30am to venture into the market to liaise with multiple growers, with a commitment to sourcing locally grown Australian blooms. In an industry that is often marred by unsustainable practices, we strive to minimise our carbon footprint. "The Bunch of the Day" is a deliberate choice that reflects the importance of seasonal vitality, while holding our core values of environmental consciousness and sustainable practices.

Can you elaborate on how purchasing flowers from The Beautiful Bunch contributes to the trainees’ professional growth and confidence?

For the majority of young women who work with us, The Beautiful Bunch is their first ever work experience. Our training program is paid from the very beginning, which is crucial for our trainees to be able to genuinely and fully participate. Whilst we are a registered charity, and we do seek grant funding, we are also a social enterprise with the majority of the work that we do being paid for by our flower sales, so our customers' support is vital! Building botanical knowledge and learning floristry fundamentals is at the heart of what we do, but we also provide training in digital skills and financial literacy. Our intention is to provide our program participants with a diverse range of transferable skills that will set them up for long-term success. All of this work is made possible thanks to our loyal, flower-loving customers.

To learn more about this inspiring initiative and offer your support, please visit