Having spent four years at University College London studying for a BA Hons Degree in French, I rejected the cynicism of a life in journalism to find myself helping to run a small flower shop off Baker Street. From here I joined Kenneth Turner, the number one floral ‘decorator’ - he insisted we were not florists, who counted leading socialites and businesses in London as his customers during the boom years of the late 1980’s.
Having travelled the world arranging flowers for events such as the Cartier Million Horse Race in Dublin as well as socialite weddings in the US and Europe, I eventually set up my own business in 1992 with two weekly contracts. Within 6 months, I found myself working alongside Mary Portas as one of the last independent artists to design and install the window displays for Harvey Nichols. Le Caprice and The Ivy were also regular customers. Then family came along and when the children started at school I ‘pruned’ back my operations to spend more time with them.
Once my children had grown up, I again turned my focus on the business. Initially I developed stronger links with the hospitality sector where the challenge was to ‘wow’ guests whilst balancing dwindling budgets was creating a demand for a talented designer with the ability to create dynamic, creative designs and remain attentive to pricing. We started talking to clients about expressing their brand and values in floral decor, whilst addressing their marketing strategy and making sure the right people liked what they saw.
With the demands of modern day life businesses need to focus more on engagement, which is an area we have enjoyed working on. Environments need to engage emotionally as well as intellectually and practically with the people using them - money alone is no longer enough to retain the best employees. The emphasis is on the human element not just the corporate element.
Venues like working with us because we are adaptable and can work with all of their clients - our creativity can break guests out of their logistical energy into a more imaginative and receptive space on entering an event or venue. Finally we are working hard on sustainability - our own mainly - and promoting the idea of it with our floral art installations working alongside charities such as Friends of the Earth and Floral Angels.
We recently enjoyed our first foray into the international event space with a trip to Bad Ragaz in Switzerland to decorate a memorial event for the TOY trust and increasingly are asked to fulfil styling briefs to decorate entire spaces not just a small area within a space. So we decorated Olympia for the relaunch of the Top Drawer event as a larger more comprehensive retail exhibition, as well as The Epsom Derby and The Garden Museum.
I have always modelled the business on companies such as John Lewis, where value for money is paramount but never stoops to cheap, and haute couture companies where a few top end designs are used to inspire more accessible ‘off the peg’ creations. I am also inspired by Apple as a company, which is known for its innovation and good taste. As the company grows we manage to maintain this balance between value and price by working with a wide variety of companies from large corporations to tiny start-ups. We bring their vision to life and in the case of the QEII Conference Centre create a new marketing channel by upgrading the floral designs to floral art installations focusing on ‘A Celebration of Nature, Environmental Awareness, Sustainability and Craftsmanship'.