Interview with Rizal - Flower Series

Mr. Rizal Abu Bakar is a man with a sense of innovation and determination. Flower Series, his flower shop on Jalan Weld Quay (across from QEII) is a very popular one amongst the people of Malaysia, as well as many communities abroad.


Mr. Rizal Abu Bakar

The name itself, Rizal explains, is derived from the basis that they want to tell a tale of flowers, one that continues on in a series. Customers get a learning experience when they enter the store, whether it be to actually purchase flowers or to just look around. The type of education that customers receive is unique; no other shop I have seen gives you a lesson in local flora! Even I learned something new; there is a special kind of plant which produces an abundance of oxygen at night, and people are recommended to keep it next to their bedsides while they sleep!


The shop's front

When asked if he always had a passion for decoration, Rizal explained that it started in his early years. Both his mother and father were in the business; his mother baked pastries and cakes, while his dad operated the stage-works and did some stints of artwork. He grew up with a love of colors and decor. This is visible in his store, where you can see many examples of the ongoing projects they have, all beautifully designed - this is visible even in the preparation process!

The store itself started as a magazine, where Rizal could share his flower stories with the rest of the community. The actual events began with hotels; 5 star hotels not only in Malaysia, but also in the UAE. Next came the corporate events; the launching of products as well as annual dinners. One prominent event in the history of Flower Series is the event they did for the launching of a book by Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang; this kind of exposure put Rizal’s name into the market, and got him demands by the dozen.

As customers got to hearing about the services that Rizal offered, the inquiring began. They all wanted to know where his permanent store was, so their could make their own orders in an actual shop. Rizal finally decided to do this; he feels that his store makes it “easier to get closer to customers” because they can interact and learn. There is also a venue for them to come to when they want to see mock-ups, colors, or even just brainstorm for ideas.

After the businesses came the marriages; Rizal began to branch out into the area of matrimony. He had been overseas and fallen in love with the lavish and luxury they required there; in their events, he says, they used any color they preferred. However, being back in Malaysia, he says that it was hard at first  - he found it difficult to “break the traditions of color, such as superstitious wedding colors”. He wanted to allow people to plan their color palette to their own tastes, not to simply conform to the tenet of tradition. It is for this reason that Rizal always tries to inspire people to “go for red and black, if that is what they want!”

Speaking to Rizal about the weddings he plans and decorates is inspiring; he always attempts to make the style a fusion of the “1 Malaysia” culture. Instead of calling it a “Malay wedding”, he prefers it to be known as a “Muslim wedding”, because this entails 3 styles; Malay, Indian Muslim and Arabic. This mindset allows the customer to break their boundaries and choose something with a more merge of different traditions. Rizal always tries to reflect a collaboration of cultures, bringing back the mixed lifestyles of the past - he calls it his “fusion touch’!

“Where does he get this sense of symbiosis?” is a question one might ask. For that, Rizal provides an explanation - he has learned about lots of different cultures from doing business abroad, and he has worked with many different people. Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty’s wedding in Mumbai? Been there. The Eid Dinner for the ruler of Dubai in the Zabeel Palace, UAE? Done that. Rizal has had so much experience in his field, and he tried to promote this through the kinds of services that Flower Series offers.

Not only does Rizal encourage learning, unity and the cultivation of creativity; his goal is to make the planning of events less stressful and more fun for people. As this wise man says, “a wedding is only once, so people want it to be perfect”.

Rizal says his favorite part of the job is the interaction with customers; he says he “feels satisfied when we contribute our ideas to a customer with a blank page, and they accept it”. He wants to help the customer “create a memory” and give them the event they have always dreamed of.

Mr. Rizal Abu Bakar and his team will always be there to help you, whether it be to answer your questions, recommend for you a beautiful bouquet, or to plan your entire event’s decor for you! So the next time you have an event to plan, turn it into a tale to tell with Flower Series!

Date Written : 17th March 2010 2 Comments
Category: Penang Profiles
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