Mettle And Petals

23 April 2020

By Darryl Cheong

One student’s love for nature took him from collecting discarded scraps to starting his own floristry business.

As a child, Desmond Toh would rummage through bags of discarded waste outside a florist. As his friends played soccer, the then-Primary 3 student collected useful scraps for his own floral creations.

Today, the first-year student from the School of Humanities has transformed his humble hobby into a small business.

The 22-year-old founded Dedron Floral Creations in 2016, offering ad-hoc floral arrangement services, negotiated over Facebook Messenger.

“Flowers are really beautiful, but also because they don’t last forever, it really becomes a good reminder to appreciate what we get and not take things for granted,” said Toh.

Initially, Toh’s relatives were not fully supportive of his hobby. “They kept saying things like, ‘You do this got future?’,” he said.

His mother was especially against him working with flowers, but became more receptive to the idea after he began to make money through Dedron.

While his business is still in its early stages, Toh maintains that money is never his motivation.


Growing up, Toh enjoyed gardening and being around nature. His aunt, in particular, shaped his dream of becoming a florist.

“I first saw my aunt creating floral arrangements during Chinese New Year, and I remember she shaped a pineapple solely out from flowers,” said Toh.

He explains that they share a special relationship, one that is even closer than with his mother, stemming from a common love for flowers.

Besides selling flower arrangements, Toh also plans photoshoots featuring his floral picks, inspired by Chinese landscape paintings.

“The Chinese use lines as textures. There are soft, hard, fine and rough lines, and they contribute heavily to the composition of a work,” he said.

However, few customers understand the symbolism behind floral arrangements, said Toh.

“I’m always conflicted, as most of my customers prefer arrangements that are bigger and contain more materials, which is very different from my minimalist style,” he said.


Toh remains undeterred and insists floristry has helped shape his identity today.

While some primary school classmates called his work “feminine” in the past, he recalled his teachers who encouraged him, rekindling his passion for floral art.

“The feeling of bringing joy to others with your own talent was really nice. I felt appreciated, so I persevered,” he said.

Last August, Toh participated in a floral fashion design competition by the Floral Designers Society Singapore, creating a two-piece dress out from recycled materials, such as old discs and curtain fabric.

Titled The Reflection of a Lotus, Toh was inspired by Qing dynasty garments.

“Using my flowers to craft something perfect with the imperfect goes the same with life. You make the most with what you’re given,” he said.

Toh has learnt to shrug off gender stereotypes associated with floristry, and hopes young people can pursue their passions.

“It’s not easy, but I think as youths, there are instances we need to avoid the mob and allow ourselves time to experiment with the things we feel we need to do.”