Skip to main content Skip to main navigation
Skip to access and inclusion page Skip to search input

Empowering with Flowers

The idea to create her social enterprise as a florist came to Jane Marx when she realised floral arrangements had been the only element of her Melbourne-based events business that seemed pandemic proof.


She launched The Beautiful Bunch in 2020, a flower delivery service which offers training and employment to young women with refugee backgrounds, starting with those who’d lost their jobs when her events business folded during COVID lockdowns.


“The young women we train and employ have a range of backgrounds, but the thing they have in common is they experience some of the greatest barriers to securing work in Australia,” Marx says.


“We think the solution is simple: to provide a warm, welcoming, supportive workplace where we only require one thing and that is that the young women want to be here.”


The women, the majority having never worked before, are offered six months paid work experience in foundational floristry, training in transferable skills such as customer service and administration, and digital and financial literacy support. Graduates are then helped to gain longer term jobs in the open employment market. To date, 100 per cent of graduates have gone on to employment, further study or independent volunteering.


“There are so few barriers to employment here,” Marx says. “You don’t need fantastic English skills, you don’t need any experience, you don’t have to work nights – and so this opportunity is genuinely lifechanging for the young women we’re able to offer it to.”


The Beautiful Bunch was awarded an Inclusive Employment Grant from Westpac Foundation in 2022, which she says was crucial given the business was at such an early stage, giving her some “extra runway” to make it a success. She also signed up to the RISE program, an initiative of the Social Impact Hub co-funded by Westpac Foundation. There she received hands-on support to refine her subscriber engagement strategy to gain a foothold in the competitive floristry market, and help to create the foundational documents needed to secure grant funding.


“It was just everything that I needed to make all the difference for our growth,” she says. “Having someone actually doing the work rather than just giving me a list of things I had to do, on top of running the business, it’s so rare.”


Given the early success of the model, Marx is keen to replicate The Beautiful Bunch in other cities, to achieve greater impact. “I love that the women love being here, they love working with the flowers, improving their botanical knowledge, doing something creative and very restorative. It’s beautiful to see them grow.”


Marx was also recently awarded a Westpac Social Change Fellowship, valued up to $50,000. This fellowship is designed to give social innovators the time and space to invest in their skills, leadership capabilities and networks.


Read our 2023 Impact Report (PDF 7MB) to find out more about our Westpac Foundation partners, like The Beautiful Bunch who are making a difference in their local communities and how we are building a better tomorrow, together.