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Amazing Graze: Angel’s journey to success

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Raine Cabral-Laysico
Raine Cabral-Laysico
Raine Cabral-Laysico is Senior Writer at The Philippine Times. For comments or feedback, email Raine at rainelaysico@gmail.com. Follow @rainewritesdaily on Instagram.

July 2018 marked the beginning of a new chapter in Angel Manuel’s life. Going through her own internal struggles as well as reeling from her mum being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, her partner, Russell, signed her up for a florist therapy class. 

From there, Amazing Graze Flowers was born. When asked why she was fascinated with flowers, Angel replied with reverence, ‘A flower has a short amount of time to bloom, but at that moment, it makes someone happy, and brightens up their day.’ This profound realisation is the foundation of why Angel decided to start her own business. The goal is to make other people happy. 

Striking out on her own and leaving a corporate job was not without its challenges. Angel, together with the support of her family, took the plunge in December 2018. ‘This newfound passion got me going and injected a new sense of purpose into my life. My mum’s diagnosis served as a wake-up call. Life is too short not to take the leap. There are always going to be moments of self-doubt but challenge yourself. Don’t be scared to level up. Opportunity will just unfold.’

She still recalls her first customers who walked in on the first day of operations and remain loyal four years later. As a florist, Angel creates free form arrangements. While she is able to make traditional arrangements, her signature style veers towards those organic and, to a certain extent, abstract in nature. It is ‘inspired by how I feel in the moment.’ Plainly speaking, Angel knows the rules of floral arrangements but chooses to create her own. They have a ‘trust us’ option on their website, which caters to customers who want to experience Amazing Graze’s unique take on flowers. From a business perspective, this competitive advantage of customised arrangements, together with timely and excellent service sets Amazing Graze apart from other flower shops. 

Amazing Graze Tea Rooms offer a relaxing ambiance in an elegant and luxurious fashion | PHOTO: Supplied
Amazing Graze Tea Rooms offer a relaxing ambiance in an elegant and luxurious fashion | PHOTO: Supplied
Angel Manuel speaks the love language with flowers | PHOTO: Supplied
Angel Manuel speaks the love language with flowers | PHOTO: Supplied
Angel (second from left) with her family | Family and Moonee Valley Mayor
Angel (second from left) with her family | PHOTO: Supplied

From a brick-and-mortar store, Amazing Graze has embarked on an e-Commerce presence headed by Russell Brooks, Angel’s partner. Russell has a strong background in digital marketing, which has been utilised to grow and nurture the business. Being deemed an essential service during the pandemic has served as a silver lining for the shop. During COVID times, flowers were the main currency to spread love and positivity to all. 

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Following the success of the flower shop, Angel wanted to marry their two passions. Russell, being English, loved tea and cakes. November 2021 marked a new adventure with the opening of Amazing Graze Tea Rooms. Now operating out of Rose St, Essendon. Having the tea room next to the flower shop made complete sense. Having only Cristina Re tea ware in the shop imbues a sense of luxury amidst the traditional afternoon tea setting. The interior pays homage to both form and function with clean lines and a hint of whimsy. The Rose room, now taking bookings for private events, has Gucci wallpaper, elevating the space.

Walking into the tea room was both calming and invigorating. It is a reflection of Angel’s personality and the manifestation of their grand vision. The intention is always to support the local community while offering a welcome respite for friends and family. 

Indeed, what Angel has accomplished in a short amount of time is admirable. Working with her mum also paved the way for a stronger bond. Going into business with the family has done nothing but cement the love and care they have for each other.  

Every day new challenges come her way, but when things happen, ‘I’m always in solution mode. Just getting things done.’ This positive mindset is the reason why the Amazing Graze businesses continue to be a success. 

Today, the sky’s the limit for Angel. Being a Mum to her two-year-old, Isla, remains her number one priority as she continues to grow both businesses. When asked what her advice to her past self would be. Angel candidly states, ‘It gets better. Just go with the motion. You are exactly where you are meant to be. There’s a reason for everything. Stay hungry.’

You can find Amazing Graze on:


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Raine Cabral-Laysico
Raine Cabral-Laysico
Raine Cabral-Laysico is Senior Writer at The Philippine Times. For comments or feedback, email Raine at rainelaysico@gmail.com. Follow @rainewritesdaily on Instagram.

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