How Leading Florist Saskia Havekes Stays Energised After Waking at 4am
Welcome to Bedtime Stories, an interview series where we ask inspiring individuals to share their nighttime routine and sleep secrets – from the beauty products they can’t live without to the tricks they swear by when they’re too tired to function (no coffee needed). For this instalment, leading Australian florist and founder of Grandiflora, Saskia Havekes, shares the morning routine that helps her wake up at 4am.
As one of Australia's most renowned florists, Saskia Havekes is no stranger to early morning starts. For almost 30 years she has begun her days as early as 4am, being drawn out of her slumber by her love for her craft. "The sight and scent of all those flowers en masse has always pulled me out of bed," she shares with Bed Threads Journal.
In 1995, Saskia opened her much-loved boutique Grandiflora in Sydney's Pott's Point, which specialises in everything from curated arrangements through to large-scale events. Since then, Saskia has opened shops in Singapore and Perth, and her exhilarating and sculptural creations have gone on to see her establish herself as the go-to florist for an impressive list of international fashion houses, brands, celebrities, and stylists including Nicole Kidman, Dom Pérignon, and Lancôme.
Pushing the boundaries of floral art has led Saskia to also produce installations for Paris Fashion Week and arrange a bouquet for Princess Diana. She has further shared her artistry and love for flowers by publishing four books and creating six internationally distributed fragrances.
Here, Bed Threads Journal spoke with the florist extraordinaire to find out exactly how she's adjusted to the early starts, how she manages to stay energised with her unusual working hours, and her most-loved beauty products.
Hi Saskia! Welcome to Bedtime Stories. Can you walk us through your bedtime ritual?
I go to bed each night around 10pm or 11pm. After long, busy days on my feet I take solace in my night-time ritual. I always have beeswax candles burning or Santa Maria Novella burning papers to cleanse the air. Each night before bed I make cup of tea and have a shower. I find a shower before bed very relaxing with Santa Maria Novella’s Sapone all'Olio d'Oliva. It’s both nourishing and cleansing.
Also I absolutely LOVE a White linen sheet or bedding set crisp and line dried. I never iron anything – so au natural. This really helps me feel calm and relaxed when I go to sleep and I enjoy the feel of them between my feet.
What sleep or beauty products do you swear by that you won’t go a night without?
Being so time poor I don’t use many beauty products but swear by those I do - Darphin’s Hydraskin Light every morning and evening, Byredo Suede hand wash, and Santa Maria Novella’s exfoliating masks when I can afford myself the time. All of Santa Maria Novella’s products are the epitome of luxury, formulated so beautifully, and take me back to Florence, which at this time means so much. Jurlique Rose Body Oil hydrates and balances the body and is brilliant for relaxation and to rejuvenate the skin and smells exactly like Rosa gallica.
What is your solution for those nights you simply can’t nod off to sleep?
I never have trouble sleeping as I have such limited time. I always make the most of it. I set four alarms on different clocks so I can sleep soundly knowing I’ll definitely wake up.
What time does your alarm go off in the morning? Walk us through your morning routine.
My alarm goes off at 4am three times a week to go to the markets and 6am other days. When I wake up I love the scent of a small bunch of white flowers by my bedside (gardenias, Lily of the valley, a few peonies, tuberose). I drink hot water with lemon and cuddle our puppy that is always there waiting for me to wake up then I walk up the garden path to start my day, often in the dark.
Once I get to the flower market I’m completely invigorated by the flowers, no matter how many mornings I spend there. For almost 30 years I’ve started my morning with a coffee from Champs’ cafe at the market - the best coffee in Sydney.
How did you initially adjust yourself to such early morning starts? Was this difficult in the beginning and did anything help you?
Yes, this was a process of adjustment but my passion for the sight and scent of all those flowers en masse has always pulled me out of bed. The multiple alarms help and fresh clean sheets always make for a sound rest. I love a fresh organic cotton towel to dry my face after a splash of seriously cold water on my face.
How do you manage to keep yourself energised on the days you start at 4am?
I have energy from all the inspiration I get from the colour, scent, and movement of flowers. Clients are a source of activation to keep me on point with special requests to help me stay alert. There are constant conversations and decisions to be made. I’m always interested to hear people’s thoughts and feelings.
What are three things (besides coffee) that help when you’re too tired to function?
A green juice or an apple always make feel energised. Or a smile is always so lifting.
What do you normally eat for breakfast to kickstart your day?
I rarely have breakfast - only on Sundays when I can sit and really enjoy it with the family. I look forward to it every week.