What inspired you to set up GG’s Flowers?
My family and I started GG’s for my little sister, Gayana, who has Down Syndrome. We really wanted her and her friends to have meaningful employment. So, we thought, you know what, let’s create something that has purpose and meaning, which is a florist. And, let’s just take it from there.
That’s how it started. Every day I wake up and I’m motivated to provide meaningful employment and life experiences to those with a disability.
Tell us about your employees and the kind of work you do.
GG’s is all about inclusion – no matter your disability, personal situation or background – the more the merrier. We have about 35 staff who make flower deliveries, put together hampers, create bouquets – everything and anything to do with flowers.
Tell us about the skills and the attitude of your employees.
They are tremendous and ever so loyal. They do anything and everything that’s required of them with such a wonderful attitude. They always turn up to work on time and are always willing to learn. And, of course, they love their friends and spreading the love, one flower delivery at a time.
And does your sister still work for you?
Yes she does (when she’s not too busy getting her nails done or eating pad thai!). She’s awesome and is definitely my compass. She questions me, makes me accountable and keeps me honest.
Do you think that your business is helping to shift some of the stereotypes and unconscious bias that people have towards people with disability?
Oh absolutely. Our customers see the beauty in the team and are definitely more open and accepting. Back in the day before COVID, my little sister Gayana would demand a hug before delivery. Unfortunately COVID brought that to a grinding stop – foot taps and elbow taps are the new hug.
What’s your vision for the future?
I would love to see us employ more people with disabilities and I would love to go national. I want to continue to ensure all people working at GG’s are provided with safe, caring and meaningful work where they can truly flourish and grow.
What are some of the things that you do to create that kind of a workplace?
Well, first and foremost it’s about inclusion and diversity. All kinds of people from all walks of life work at GG’s.
We put the time in at the beginning to train them up and make them feel comfortable. Many of our employees won’t have been employed before. But with the right workplace support, they develop new skills, build their confidence and grow.
And then we’re really honest. We do good business, procuring as ethically as possible and providing safe and caring workplaces. We do that for all of our staff, our business and our community.
What’s your message to Australia on this year’s International Day of People with Disability?
People with a disability are unique and should be at the forefront of our minds. However, the reality is that they’re often not.
When you get the opportunity, hang out with people who live with disabilities. Talk to them, employ them and give them a chance. You won’t regret it.
Find out more about GGs Flowers.
Read more about International Day of People with Disability.