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Blossom Head: flower crowns with a difference

Molly McLaughlin

If you were at the Multicultural Festival this year, you may have caught the debut appearance of Tavalea Nilon’s flower crown business, Blossom Head.

Tavalea (pictured above) had planned to use the festival to test the interest in her flower styles, but she was completely unprepared for the huge demand. In fact, she sold out all her flowers each day and had to stay up until the early hours of the next morning to make more.

That’s because Tavalea’s handmade creations are no ordinary flower crowns. Originally from Samoa, Tavalea grew up constantly surrounded by flowers. Tavalea explains that pales, as the flower crowns are called in Samoa, are much more of an everyday accessory in the Pacific Islands.

“We just wear flowers as part of your work wear, or when you go to town. Kids wear them too, it’s quite normal back in Samoa to do that.”

Keep calm and blossom on ?? #flowercrown #blossoms

A post shared by Blossom Head shop (@blossom_head) on

As a teenager, Tavalea became interested in floral arrangements and designs when she joined a dance troupe that performed dances from around the Pacific Islands and made their own costumes. In 2010, she was crowned Miss Samoa, which led to her travelling throughout the Pacific Islands and learning about the many different traditional flowers and styles.

“As part of the tourism industry, I would have to wear the cultural attire and hairpieces. Wearing headpieces was just a day to day thing back in the islands, so I just wanted to bring that flavour out here.”

Tavalea came to Australia to study a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering and at ANU in 2003, then returned a couple of years later to complete her postgraduate studies, focussing on climate change. Although she has a full-time day job in her field, she is also something of an expert on flower crowns and wants to share her knowledge with others.

“I wear flowers to work and people are always commenting, I think it makes you feel a bit more happy during the day.”

She was also the Pacific Asia Travel Association winner of the 2011 ‘Face of the Future’ competition, which spotlights an individual, 35-years old or younger, who has worked to change or advance travel and tourism in the Asia-Pacific region. Tavalea is passionate about sharing and preserving the culture of the Pacific Islands, through both her day job and Blossom Head. All her pales are unique and handmade, and she loves creating custom pieces for her clients as well.

“At the Multicultural Festival, the children’s ones sold out very quickly, and I also had a white range that was popular, quite a few women approached me for hen’s nights and bridal wear,” she explains. “I enjoy giving people that’s something different not just mass-produced. I also want to keep doing custom work for clients to match their outfits or events that they are going to attend, and I’ll be doing online and local markets. I still have a full-time job, so I’ll just see how we go!”

Blossom Head flower crowns range in price from $35-$100, and you can follow Tavalea and Blossom Head on Instagram for more information.


Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin was less than thrilled to move to Canberra a couple of years ago to study Arts and Economics at ANU, but she can confirm the city has grown on her since then. Along with writing for HerCanberra, she spends her time reading, eating noodles and planning her next adventure. More about the Author