She’s one of Canada’s premier creative designers, the founder of Flowers Time, a legendary Toronto floral shop, the founder of LuxFlowerBox and the Founder of Engineered Arts.
“Meet Alina Tacmelova, a visionary in the world of creative design and the inspiration behind some of Wedlux’s most-loved floral installations. In this exclusive interview, Alina shares her passion for design, her creative process, and her journey to becoming one of Canada’s leading creative professionals.
Hi Alina, welcome to CSE and thanks for sitting down for this interview
Your unique creative talents have defined your brand, but what does creativity mean to you personally?
The creative process is an opportunity to express myself and generate new ideas. It’s a process of stepping out of the box and a great exercise to fight your fears.
Your husband is your partner in business and life; how did you meet?
My 1st husband and I already had all the documents to come to Canada, but we divorced during the emigration process. We had been together for eight years and had a son, but it was the end of our journey; My ex-husband went to Montreal, so I decided to take a risk and conquer Toronto with my 4-year-old son.
I met my second husband, Yura, on the Internet 2 months before we moved to Canada. We started chatting, and he asked to meet me when I arrived. It’s been 11 years now!
The Styrofoam Flower boxes were a brilliant pandemic pivot that’s turned into an entirely new opportunity. How did you come up with the idea, and what are your plans to grow that opportunity?
Since we both have our production plus flower business, my husband and I started playing with forms and ideas. When we launched the first sales on our website, people started buying from day one. We created a unique product and designed flower boxes for any occasion. Our colleagues realized it was an opportunity to increase their profits and started ordering from us. In three years, we have sold thousands of boxes across North America.
How Challenging was it to make a move to Canada?
Although it took me two attempts, I can’t say it was tough. The first time we stayed for only three weeks, I left with the firm intention not to return to Canada, but love intervened when I met my husband, and here I am today.
Thanks again for agreeing to judge the Canadian Event Awards, any takeaways from your experience?
That was a lot of fun thank you for inviting me to participate. I was impressed by the level of creativity and the creative solutions planners leveraged to create experiences despite the restriction. I can’t wait to see the 2023 submissions and thanks for inviting me back to judge this year.
Have you always been a creative person?
Yes, I think so. I’ve loved drawing, clay modeling, and creating things since I was a little girl. I can even weave a basket out of corn leaves and knit a jumper for you! I’ve always been drawn to creativity.
At 19, my first husband and I started a non-profit organization, which is still operating today. We worked with international foundations and implemented projects of psycho-social assistance for drug addicts, HIV-infected people, and troubled teenagers. Despite the nature of the project, I often found a way to leverage my creativity to make a difference in people’s lives.
What are you most excited about today, personally?
I’m excited to develop new directions in our business, building my path as an artist and a new interior object line for Engineered Arts. It’s all new for me, so I get very excited.
The pandemic changed many people’s priorities; did it change any of yours?
Not really. Spiritual and family values always come first, and I don’t need viruses to get closer to other people. However, the pandemic helped us realize that we must be open to new ideas in business. That’s how we ended up with the foam boxes idea and started to develop our interior design company, Engineered Arts.
Most people would be happy to build one successful business; you’ve built several including Flowers Time, Engineered Arts, and LuxFlowerBox, yet you continue to pursue opportunities. What drives your entrepreneurial spirit
It’s curiosity that drives me. What’s out there? What if it works? It is an opportunity to expand my knowledge and step out of my comfort zone. If I start any business, I study all the details. I must be excited about this business, and I must see the idea’s scale.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration for my designs everywhere, honestly! Although I’ve been developing observation and intuition for years, my degree in Psychology helps me greatly with that.
When we discuss a wedding with a person, I can feel whether he/she becomes our potential client. The main thing for me is to understand the inner world of a couple and reflect on it in our project.
Talking about the corporate world and the interior business is about studying trends and trying to create something unique that would catch your eye.
What are the hot design trends for 2023
It depends on the field. I am very happy with the Canadian wedding market now. There are so many interesting projects! Everyone wants to prove themselves. There was no such thing 6-7 years ago. I am glad Flowers Time has become something like a catalyst in creating unique projects for Wedluxe shows or when we brought Karen Tran to Canada.
The main trend is probably creating something unique and exciting using different materials. Sustainability would be a big trend, but it seems very controversial and artificial.
Where is your creativity driving you in 2023?
I would love to create and present my first art project in a gallery in Toronto. It will be a mix of art and psychology connected with human transformation. Also, I’d love to develop a new direction in interior design and get our first orders. I want to expand production, expand the team and reach out to the States.
What one significant milestone in your life, personally and/or professionally, are you most proud of?
Frankly speaking, I’m proud of every stage of my life. I haven’t always appreciated things I’ve done in the past, but lately, I’ve changed the way I think about my work when I look back. If you can realistically evaluate your achievements, it helps you to create new projects.
I am proud of the foundation we created that has been still operating. I’m proud that I didn’t listen to all the naysayers, took a chance and moved to Canada with a 4-year-old son, $500 in my pocket and basic English.
I’m proud that just 3 months after I landed, we took a loan for $100,000 with my boyfriend and bought a flower shop. I’m proud of every project we created for Wedluxe magazine and Wedluxe show, proud of Flowers Time, and proud of Engineered Arts.
LuxFlowerBox is quite a story for me, and I’m proud of how my husband and I have worked together to achieve success.
Is there any one design, event, or build that’d be most significant to you?
Definitely, yes! That’s when we invited Maria Kamenskaya, one of the best decorators in Russia, in 2017.
At that time, no one knew us at all. We got into huge debt. I fearfully called the Wedluxe editor and suggested to Angela that we create an installation based on Maria’s design with our own resources.
Surprisingly Angela said “yes”. She trusted us. We had a huge responsibility, and there was no room for mistakes. We invested all our money and invited all our friends.
Fidan from Design Dream joined us on this dangerous path too. It was after this project that we realized our strengths and possibilities.
From the production and installation perspective, this project was very complicated. My husband and his friends made everything by hand. It was a challenging project with a serious downside should we fail. However, the installation was a huge success, and the energy, attention and relationships we built that day inspired us to double down.
The rest is history
Thanks for sitting down with me today, Alina; I look forward to continuing to follow your career and all the big things ahead.
Author: Jason Koop is a writer, influencer, fan of Canadian event experiences, and VP of Business Development with Canadian Special Events. After more than 15 years in the apparel industry managing accounts for some of the world’s largest designers like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Vanity Fair Corp, Jason was ready for a change. Combining his relationship-building skills with his marketing background and his new love for events, he has built the largest following of corporate event professionals in Canada for CSE and is helping to lead the brand to a new level of success.