Senior Lifestyle Writer
January is ending tomorrow and as we enter the month of February, despite Covid-19, definitely one of the most talked about subjects will be Valentine’s Day.
Should we say that the lockdown seems to have presented itself as both a gift and a curse for some?
The good thing is that some have already adapted to the new norm.
Parties and gatherings including live events have been banned, in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Now it is three weeks before Valentine’s Day and many are wondering how they will celebrate the day.
For those who are disciplined enough to live the life of a one-man-one-woman, good for them, Valentine’s Day is a blessing in disguise because they have enough time to be together.
While Valentine’s Day is marked by the colours red, white and black, generally meant for lovers, there is also the commercial side to it.
Restaurants, florists, boutiques and what have you, also cash in on the day, as partners go around shopping for presents for their loved ones.
It’s pretty hectic and yet it is just one day.
With the present lockdown, it might be a reasonable excuse for people not to spend much by going on overseas trips and lavish dinners.
The reason is because everything is on lockdown, some of the expensive liquor stores, florist shops and uptown restaurants are closed.
Those that would opt to fly out still face the hurdle of being tested for Covid-19 and the cumbersome waiting period before results are out.
So, this leaves many with one option and that is to be on quarantine at home and start binging on television shows.
Oddly enough, the lockdown has become a moment for bonding as families or as partners.
Unfortunately, statistics show that cases of gross domestic violence have increased .
Valentine’s Day is a once in a year day set aside for lovers to just be nice to each, while enjoying each other’s company.
After all, spending time at home with family isn’t a bad thing considering some people hardly spend quality time with their loved ones because of work and side hustles.
So, how is the lockdown Valentine’s Day going to be like?
The Herald on Saturday Lifestyle caught up with Zimbabwe’s most sought after renowned florist Vimbayi Nhutsve, who said 2021 Valentine’s Day was completely different because of the current situation.
Nhutsve, who is a senior medical laboratory at a local firm, said she has seen it all, but stays strong, with hope and faith that all things will be normal.
Apart from being busy at work as an essential service worker, Nhutsve has been busy with her hobby of flower arrangement, as clients have started trickling in, booking ahead of Valentine’s Day.
She operates at home and specialises in rose arrangements.
Before the lockdown set in, many local celebrities have encountered Nhutsve’s midas touch.
She is a very good flower arranger, but, what makes her tick and how did she get the experience?
“I discovered my passion in flower arrangements and slowly moved into specialising in flower bouquets and arrangements.
“This is my hobby, but I am a qualified medical personnel who graduated with a degree in Medical Science at the University of Johannesburg. I can’t share my workplace details because it is against our policy. I am known as a florist, not many know about my other profession.
“My love is for beautiful love stories, the joy of seeing someone who just received flowers and the true happiness on their faces.”
Regarding Valentine’s Day, Nhutsve (28) said she hoped that her business would peak on the day considering lockdown measures that are in place.
“Business has been fairly fine, though some clients struggle to pick up their flowers from the studio due to restrictions in movement,” she said.
“We are particularly excited about this year’s Valentines Day as we have introduced gifts that complement the VE (Vimbayi Elizabeth Fleurs) bouquets. These gifts are essentials that help our recipients to have a fairly comfortable lockdown.”
Nhutsve said she gets her flowers from nearby farms as a way of giving back to society, and it takes about two hours to make a bouquet of flowers although it varies with the type of bouquets.
By the way, there is the art of arranging flowers to bring out emotions into existence.
“Love, gratitude, sorrow and feelings are things that can be communicated through flowers,” said Nhutsve.
“Our flower arrangements communicate those messages. And prices are different because we do customised arrangements depending on the client requests.”
Like any other business, florists also have their own challenges, especially considering that flowers are perishables.
“I am a self-taught florist, so there were a lot of mistakes and unforeseen circumstances during my early days as I wasn’t aware of how to properly take care of flowers as they are perishables,” said Nhutsve.
“Another challenge was the lack of knowledge of where to find the suppliers for the flowers I needed.”
In the not so distant future, Nhutsve will be working towards the most sought after brand in flower arrangements.
“My aim is to create employment and bring true happiness on people’s faces,” she said.
“Some flowers are poisonous, but we only deal with roses that are safe and harmless to handle except for the rose thorns that prickle your hands if you work without gloves. We always wear gloves for our safety and that of our clients.”
Some of the types of flowers she uses include roses and carnations.
“I am learning more about flowers, their meaning and presentation,” said Nhutsve.
“I’m also doing courses on flower arrangements and styling to enhance my knowledge and creativity.”
The florist said she runs her floral studio from home and she provides online services.
Nhutsve, a mother of one, is married to prominent celebrity photographer Trevor Gupo.
She singles her mother Patricia Chipo Nhutsve as her role model.
“She is independent, strong and educated,” Nhutsve said of her mother.
Asked if she was coping now that there are Covid-19 regulations, the joyful florist said she was fully aware of the need for physical distancing.
“As someone who is in the medical profession, I’m keen on taking precautionary measures, sanitisation and wearing PPEs and always fumigating our flowers before delivery. We are also conducting contact-less deliveries.”