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Flair Care Deliver


Kally Ellis, founder of London’s McQueens, on the evolution of her iconic business

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Canvassing opinions on how to encourage new talent and shining a spotlight on young people to watch


The Brand Stylist Fiona Humberstone explains how to unlock your business’s potential


www floristbusiness co uk

TRENDS & TOOLS Inspiring ideas and handy products, from lush foliage to Japanese scissors – and unicorn horns

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MEET THE TEAM Hannah Dunne Editor Natalie Ross Sales Executive Perri Turner Account Manager Jim & Lisa Wilkinson Directors

elcome to the very first edition of Florist Business, your new magazine for the UK flower sector. We’re a totally fresh title with big plans for what we as an industry can achieve together, and we hope we can help to connect the florist world and flower chain, boosting business for everybody. Each month we’ll deliver a bundle of inspiration, practical business information and a host of ideas from fellow flower people, straight to your doorstep. Flick through the magazine for some respite from the digital world with an in-depth look at the wider industry, and follow our website and social feeds for all the latest updates. Written about the industry, for the industry and by the industry, we want this magazine to act as a community pillar, where people from all parts of the chain can get to know each other, while supporting organisations that work to benefit floristry. Times are changing for everyone in business, whether it’s technology making us totally rethink the way we do things, or new and unusual competitors changing the retail landscape. Whatever your outlook, we believe that by understanding our industry and networking together, we can improve possibilities for everyone. Today’s retailing sees successful businesses carve out all sorts of niche markets, so we’re here to celebrate all your USPs. For this first issue, we’ve spoken to some of the sector’s biggest names, including Kally Ellis, founder and director of famous London florist McQueens. Her team has been immensely supportive of our first issue, even designing a signature autumnal arrangement exclusively for our cover. Check out their Instagram ( mc ueensflowers) to see it created on film. Other contributors to this issue include Neil Whittaker, Susanne Hatwood, Dennis Kneepkens, Matthew Richardson and many more. We’d like to thank them and everyone else we’ve spoken to when putting this issue together. Special thanks go to Moreton Morrell College tutor Jane Benefield for helping out from sunny Majorca! Please do let us know your initial thoughts and, of course, whether there’s anything you would love to see from us. Have a great September, see you next month.

Emily Maltby Circulation & Data FOLLOW US @FloristBusiness Leader.indd 3

Hannah Dunne Editor



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CONTENTS EDITORIAL Editor – Hannah Dunne ADVERTISING Business Development Manager – Jamie Wilkinson Sales Executive – Natalie Ross Account Manager – Perri Turner PRODUCTION Production Manager – Susie Duff



Production Editor – Charlie Cook Subeditor – Kate Bennett Design: Mark Hudson, Mandy Armstrong CIRCULATION AND DATA Emily Maltby MANAGEMENT Managing Director – Jim Wilkinson Editorial Director – Lisa Wilkinson


16 Eljays44 Ltd

3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 2DA Tel: 01903 777 570 Published by ©Eljays44 Ltd – Connecting Horticulture Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Gwent, UK The 2017 subscription price for Florist Business is £95. Subscription records are maintained at Eljays44 Ltd, 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA, UK. Articles and information contained in this publication are the copyright of Eljays44 Ltd and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publishers. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, uncommissioned photographs or manuscripts. Whilst every effort has been made to maintain the integrity of our advertisers, we accept no responsibility for any problem, complaints, or subsequent litigation arising from readers’ responses to advertisements in the magazine. We also wish to emphasise that views expressed by editorial contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly forbidden.



Contents.indd 4










Our monthly roundup of industry news keeps you informed


Talking shop with Kally Ellis of London’s legendary McQueens

A rundown of all the upcoming dates for your diary


Design Element and The Blue Carrot share their favourite work

Stay in the loop with the latest news from the BFA


Stay ahead of the curve with foliage and tropical arrangements 22/08/2017 09:21




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41 18


Why is there a skills shortage among new florists

Unlock the power of your brand to draw in the crowds










SEASON SETLIST A selection of the standout stems you need this month Contents.indd 5


Keep up with the social media unicorn’ trend and the latest in foam, scissors and more

How to create a successful internet presence


We profile the young talent and unsung heroes that keep our industry going

What to consider when costing buttonholes

LITTLE INTERVIEWS Quick-fire uestions to the people who make up our industry

Considering using a courier Here’s what you need to know

#FLORISTPROBLEMS Letting off some steam about those little niggles that every florist faces



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NEWS pdates from across the flower industry



e Are Florists is a new consumer-facing platform developed by specialist website developer Florist Window. “We have launched We Are Florists so that consumers can buy flowers directly from our

community of trusted local florists, said Florist Window director Tim Cartledge. It’s different because customers pay the florist directly many other websites involve a middleman who takes a cut before passing the order on, or charges a service fee. At We Are Florists, of the money goes to the florist. It’s open to all Florist Window clients and they won’t be charged to be on it. We are supporting local florists, many of them on the high street. In a world of globalisation and international corporations, we believe that the best way for flowers to be prepared and delivered is by a passionate local florist.



est Midlands florist Louisa Cooper will be in Belgium from - September to compete in Eurofleurs . Open to florists aged 25 and under, Eurofleurs takes place once every four years, and will see designers from countries carry out a number of design tasks over two days. BFA manager Tracy Tomlinson will take on the role of President of the Technical Committee. Louisa works at the School Farm Shop in the West Midlands, and trained at South Staffordshire College. I was encouraged to enter WorldSkills UK, where I won a bronze medal and fell in love with competing. I’m so looking forward to Eurofleurs , where I hope to make my country proud.



loral stars will gather at Leeds Castle in Kent this month, to transform the historic venue into a floral feast with over , different flowers. It will be open to the public on September. Working to the theme ‘An Enchanted Castle’, the design team will be led by Louise Roots, head florist at Leeds Castle. She will be joined by some of floristry’s top names, including Simon Lycett, Dennis Kneepkens, Phil Hammond from The Dorchester, Hong Kong-based designer Solomon Leong, RHS Chelsea Florist of the ear Di Marvell, and the team at The Academy of Floral Art with Tina Parkes. Flowers will be supplied by Southeast Flowers, while OASIS Floral Products, Country Baskets and the newly launched Colombian Flower Council are taking part with major installations and demonstrations. Pictured here is Dennis Kneepkens with his design at last year’s event.

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holesaler Hugh Scott, who has over years’ experience in the trade, is launching a brand new business, Hugh Scott Flowers. He will be supplying high-end florists and event planners across the UK, America and the Emirates, with a focus on uality and a personal touch. Hugh has gained support from Tim Huckabee of Floral Strategies among several luxury florist names. www. g



ward-winning Manchester florist Neil Whittaker has been demonstrating his work at the Changzhou Flower Show in Shanghai one of the world’s biggest trade shows to launch China’s search for its next competitor at the Fleurop-Interflora World Cup, which takes place in the USA in . Neil joined the most recent world champion Alex Choi and third-placed Pirjo Koppi to demonstrate. The event was organised by Rain Wang of Uniflorist, whose flower school Neil is a principal director of.

We had an unlimited budget to work with, and spent four days preparing three designs and one joint design for the show, said Neil. After our demonstration, we launched the search for China’s next World Cup competitor. Over entrants across five different cities are expected to compete for the coveted privilege of representing China in the next World Cup. Simon Ogrizek, the next president of Florint, and the presidents of Interflora Pacific Unit were there to support us and the Uniflorist team. www. esigne




orrisons has expanded into the online flower market with the launch of its Flowerworld website. While the supermarket has owned and operated Flowerworld since , bou uets will now be available on and in Morrisons supermarkets nationwide. The launch follows a series of pushes by supermarkets to highlight their flower offering, with Waitrose emphasising its British flower credentials and Sainsbury’s launching an edible flower range. www.flowerwor .co. News.indd 7


hen selecting new flower varieties to produce in uantity, South American growers have been opting for mutations over new varieties, according to Plantec, the largest rose propagation company in South America. Plantec represents five breeders Kordes Roses, Interplant Roses, Fazari Rosaplants, Delbard P pini res, and randiflora. Plantec president Carlos Krell announced that Explorer and Mondial mutations are being adopted unusually uickly in South America. One particular variety generating interest is Pink Mondial’ from Kordes Roses. Pink Mondial’ has seen incredible acceptance in the market., says Carlos. This almond pink rose isn’t damaged during transport and enjoys a long vase life. www. antec a


fter years working for his family nursery business in Cornwall, James Cock is starting his own specialist all-British flower wholesale business. The nursery will be sold and from September, James will take ownership of the Flowers by Clowance brand to focus on the online part of the business, specialising in Cornish flowers by post and direct sales of British flowers and foliage to UK florists from a new site. c



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WARM UP FOR WINTER WEDDINGS Make winter wedding sales sparkle with Corsage Creations Products and accessories designed especially for florists


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ctober PROFLORA Bogota, Colombia Aimed at wholesalers and other volume buyers, Proflora is the biggest flower show in South America, and the place to go if you want to see all the latest varieties. www proflora org co

theflorist co uk


ctober BFA FLEUREX ilton etropole irmingham The British Florist Association’s trade show features exhibitors, demonstrations, masterclasses, competitions, an award ceremony and a gala evening dinner. www bfaflorist org Out & about.indd 9

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY 17-18 September EUROFLEURS 2017 Sint Truiden, Belgium Celebrating the skills of young and trainee florists who are under the age of 26, the European Championship of Young Florists is organised by Florint, the International Florist Association. www eurofleurs com

22-25 September FLEURAMOUR PASSION FOR FLOWERS Bilzen, Belgium Heritage site Alden Biesen will be opened to , visitors, who will see it immersed in , flowers, with creations and demonstrations by international top designers. www fleuramour be

illiam rmellini

lowers nd ents org

8-10 November ROYAL FLORAHOLLAND TRADE FAIR alsmeer olland Hundreds of growers, breeders and flower industry suppliers will be exhibiting in the grounds of the Royal FloraHolland flower auction. www royalfloraholland com

8-10 November IFTF i fhui en olland The International Floriculture Trade Fair is open to 15,000 visitors, showcasing flowers and hosting exhibitors. www hppexhibitions com floriculture



23-28 September LEEDS CASTLE FESTIVAL OF FLOWERS eeds astle ent See the rooms and grounds of this spectacular castle adorned with floral creations from some of the UK’s most talented florists this year’s theme is ‘An Enchanted Castle’. www leeds castle com



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THE BRITISH FLORIST A S S O C I AT I O N n update from your trade association

SIX REASONS TO JOIN THE BFA TODAY: l Promotes your business to consumers – for free in a orist listing on www. ritis l Keeps you in the know l Helps you network on business that matters l Saves you money l Acts as your hotline to education, training and competition

l Represents florists’ interests to the government and the media. We are the UK’s only trade association for the florist industry. We’re recognised by the government and by the media as the florists’ representative so be part of it, and make sure your voice is heard.

WHY IS THE BFA SO IMPORTANT FOR OUR INDUSTRY? The BFA is proud to represent the voice of the independent florist ithout an association there s nothing to bind us all together e are growing fast and ha e ambitious plans to dri e our profession forward he more florist businesses sign up the more we can achie e together as an industry


e are becoming stronger, and we’re fighting for better education and for an industry where those that call themselves florists are truly local, independent florists with real skill and business acumen. Join us today: www. em ers i Got a question? Email us at: in o ritis



ere at the BFA we’re busy sorting out all the last minute bits and pieces for this year’s FleurEx. Taking place on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 October, this year we have a brand new venue, fresh new content and free entry for BFA and Institute of Professional Florists (IoPF) members. If you haven’t booked your space already, do hurry: we’re almost full to the brim!

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Events like FleurEx are vital to keep our industry innovative and fast-paced. It’s weekends like this that can leave you feeling energised and inspired we all know how difficult it can get when you’re running a business on your own. Why not come to the Saturday evening gala dinner, too? It’s an excuse to dress up that we florists hardly ever get!

Book tickets online now at www. e r ocation Hilton Metropole, NEC, Birmingham, 21-22 October 22/08/2017 09:28



A BREED APART A simple vision: to create and develop more beautiful roses. A collection of 14 roses that capture beauty and fragrance that set David Austin Roses apart from any other. Available to florists from wholesalers nationwide and the Real Flower Company (UK only). Visit our website for further information and to order a copy of our latest brochure.

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21/08/2017 11:42 15:12 22/08/2017


OPINION y is t ere a s ills s ortage a ong ne florists and e e doing to elp encourage e erging talent

Morgan Douglas Nuth, florist and business owner, Old Oak Floral Designers Ltd ’ve visited several colleges and found that at least two thirds of floristry students just don’t know what they want to do – they’re there because it was a fall-back option, and they just don’t have the passion. It’s as though certain people think our trade is just a hobby, rather than a hard, highly skilled vocation that takes years to master. When I first trained as a florist, my boss told me that I wouldn’t touch anything for retail for three years, and that if I didn’t like it I could walk out the door! But I was passionate to learn, and with the way we were bench-trained, you just wouldn’t have done it if you didn’t love it. It sorted the wheat from the chaff very quickly. I looked up to big names such as Ian Lloyd and David Denyer, who were so talented and inspiring – that spurred me on. It meant we didn’t go into the business with rose-tinted glasses: I knew what I had to do to better myself and I knew what I wanted to become, so I worked hard and stuck at it. When I interview for new staff, I want someone who’s passionate, and that’s very hard to find. I’ll get lots of people who have done a one-day course




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at s ould

and think it makes them a florist. In March, for the first time ever, I had three candidates sending in CVs who’d only done a week-long online course. That is astounding! The concept that training as a florist is even remotely possible through an online course completely degrades our industry. Nowadays, good candidates are like gold dust. When you’ve got them, you’ve got to pay them well according to their skill level, look after them with incentives, be flexible, and keep them inspired and interested. I’m lucky that I’ve now got 14 amazing team members on my books, but my goodness it took a long time to find them. Tracy Jane Benton MDPF, TAQA, AFIoPF Cert Ed, principal moderator for City & Guilds TechBac The British Florist Association (BFA) is the only trade body recognised by government that represents the UK’s 7,000 independent florists. It established the Training and Education Committee (T&EC), which represents all sectors of the floristry industry. The BFA is passionate about raising and maintaining standards through qualifications, assessment and competitions, and is constantly

promoting that fact that floristry is a recognised, skilled profession. The BFA and the T&EC developed the Institute of Professional Florists (IoPF) in 2015, to provide training and continuous development opportunities for both self-taught and college-trained florists. The IoPF provides a structure and a benchmark for all florists, whether they have years of valuable on-thejob experience or a stack of formal qualifications. As a member of both committees I strive to uphold the professional status of florists in the UK, and to ensure that consistent high standards are maintained within the floristry industry through training, qualifications and competitions. Hadlow College, where I am a full-time lecturer, has had 100% success rates for many years due to the highly qualified, award-winning and industryled roster of lecturers who ensure learners gain a wider experience. All floristry staff have the opportunity to stretch and challenge students with additional personal development through work experience and competitions. We strive to uphold the rigorous standards set by the BFA and the IoPF, which is why we were ‘Training Provider of the year’ at FleurEx; Tanya Henton of Folkestone florist Stem by Stem said to us that she “can’t do without” the floristry students coming out of Hadlow College. My work as a consultant and principal moderator for City & Guilds allows me to set national standards and highlight the importance of education within the industry. Together, we will give them the knowledge, skills and understanding to propel our future florists and create an ambitious vision for the future of British floristry. 24/08/2017 11:44


Melanie Webb, owner and tutor, The Melanie Webb Flower School There are a lot of unskilled people applying for florist jobs, but of course most business owners need skilled staff, and they automatically look at people who have gone down the college route. The problem is, many people can’t afford not to work. Encouraging people to be work-based in their learning helps the employer, because they can train to their house style, but it also helps the learner as they are upskilling while they earn. Students who come out of college often aren’t work ready, because while they’ve gained all sorts of design skills, they’ve never had business experience. This includes working at commercial speed, which is a crucial and often missed skill. There are also a number of people who are setting up businesses against the industry, rather than working within it – those ‘kitchen sinkers’ who might undercut professionals. These people haven’t gained the commercial knowhow to understand that what they’re doing is damaging. Our workplace training isn’t fighting against the industry – it’s training new florists at established businesses within it. Commercial talent is key, so my learners work with real orders, which means the designs in their portfolio have actually been put up for sale. Not only does this boost their confidence, it’s also beneficial for the employer. These days, profit margins are so tight that employers can’t afford to spend time training staff themselves, or to take on students who are away at college. Why not think about getting an apprentice and helping them to realise their talent within the workplace? Opinion.indd 13

“WHEN I I N T E RV I E W FOR NEW S TA F F, I WA N T SOMEONE WHO’S PA S S I O NAT E , A N D T H AT ’ S V E RY H A R D TO FIND” Morgan Douglas Nuth I always try to encourage my learners to participate in absolutely everything they can, whether that’s entering competitions, looking at other people’s work, going on florist forums or buying magazines. It all helps with their development, and the more confident they get, the more useful they are to their employers – it goes hand-in-hand. Sandie Griffith, employer, Jemini Oxford Ltd; training and education director, British Florist Association Floristry is a passion – highly skilled and often underrated. It is difficult to earn the sort of salary that should be paid to such talented individuals, and therefore, it’s not attractive to parents who are helping their teenage children choose a career. The BFA works to encourage emerging talent in partnership with WorldSkills UK, running the floristry heats and final at the Skills Show. As the organiser I have had the privilege of seeing some of the newest talents come through the industry, and the opportunities open to those that enter this competition can be amazing. The WorldSkills competition focuses on all the essential requirements for a successful career in floristry,

and provides an opportunity for competitors to demonstrate creative and technical skills at an advanced level. In running these competitions, we have identified skills gaps, especially at a European and international level. This has given us the opportunity to feed back to tutors, awarding bodies and colleges through the Training and Education Committee, of which I am chair. This should help to improve our qualifications and raise standards. The Training and Education group participated in the writing of the new Level 2 and 3 City & Guilds standards, and we were delighted when Tracy Benton from Hadlow College – a valued member of our group – was invited to be the principal moderator for City & Guilds. This will ensure that standards will be set nationally. As lead employer I have been given the opportunity to develop a Trailblazer apprenticeship for floristry. For this to be seen alongside all the other Trailblazer apprenticeships will give the floristry industry a much-needed identity, and should help add value to this amazing skill. Employers are now at the forefront of the development of these Trailblazers, creating people who have workplace skills that are relevant to business and industry. Next month’s question will be: “Should we strive to only buy British flowers?” Got an opinion? Get in touch at



24/08/2017 11:44


C R E AT I N G A D E S T I NAT I O N B R A N D FIONA HUMBERSTONE, THE BRAND ST LIST Visionary entrepreneur and bestselling author Fiona Humberstone has worked with swathes of florists to unlock the power within their brands. Here she explains why branding your flower business is becoming increasingly important in these changing times


reate a destination brand and magical things will happen. You’ll be able to pick and choose the projects you take on, charge what you’re worth and run your business on your terms. You’ll work only with flowers and foliage that make your heart sing, for clients who trust you implicitly. ou’ll build a portfolio of work that you can be overwhelmingly proud of, and you’ll work in venues that feed your inspiration and play to your strengths. Work will be a pleasure. All of this is totally within your reach, but it starts with much more than a great logo. It’s about focus. More specifically, understanding what makes your brand brilliant and celebrating that through everything you do. I’ve been running branding and social media workshops with the wonderful Rona Wheeldon of Flowerona for three years now. Between us, we’ve worked with hundreds of florists, from some of the top international names to those just starting out on their journey and everything in between. What we consistently notice is that a strong brand will go a very long way to unlocking the potential within your business. s o florists care a o t creating a ran The right brand will help you elevate your offering and enchant your audience. When you’re fighting for every piece of work that comes along and



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constantly trying to adapt your style and taste to suit every client, it can be hard to see that another way can be possible. It feels counterintuitive, but finding and celebrating your uni ue floral style is key to realising the power within your brand. Work out what really inspires you, notice what makes you different and think about the kinds of clients and venues you love to work with. Build your brand around that and don’t be afraid to say no’ to the wrong projects you can do it with a smile! The way we market our businesses has changed massively over the last years. In the noughties, marketing’ was all about networking, leaflet drops and cold calling. It was only really the big companies who invested in corporate identities. Now, it’s all about building a brand, connecting with your audience and generating quality content. Consumers are more discerning. It’s essential you create the right impact from the get-go. t ing o r ran Branding is about so much more than your logo. As a modern entrepreneur you need an incisive vision for what your brand stands for and where it’s headed. You need to communicate your brand’s story across an ever-increasing number of channels and do so in a way that enchants your audience. Nurture and celebrate your distinctiveness –you’ll start to see what you and your company are truly capable of. Focus on creating a brand that showcases your floral style and the things that make your business brilliant. Embrace the fact that none of us can be all things to all people. If you love romantic English flowers and natural containers, don’t even try to take on a project with directional, tropical blooms in an edgy location. Leave that to someone who’ll adore it, and put your energy into winning the work that plays to your strengths.

Ask yourself How do I want my business to feel when a customer looks at it Investing in your brand identity is something that’ll elevate you above the competition and give you confidence in your offering. Think about how each piece of communication works to create the right impression at every level. There’s lots on this in my latest book, Brand Brilliance, from proposals and invoices to creating a media kit’ that inspires prospective clients in a snap. o on o one t ing... Take a fresh look at your portfolio. Streamline it down to the work that you want to be known for. Resist the temptation to include a little of everything. Edit to amplify. Learn about colour psychology it’s an incredible tool for understanding your customers and finding clarity in your brand. ou can find tons of free information on my blog and I’ve just launched an online course that’ll totally transform the way you look at colour.


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FIVE FLORISTS WITH AN INSPIRATIONAL BRAND Floret Flower Farm Erin Benzakein and her team have created such a compelling brand story; their idyllic lifestyle, magical growing hands and deft floral design totally captivates me. I was sold on their imagery but after reading the words on their website I fell headlong in love with the whole setup. Ruby & The Wolf Kirstie Deane’s business is just a couple of years old but proves what you can do with vision. Kirstie’s moody imagery, wild floral style and professional marketing communications are truly inspirational. Real Flower Company Here is a business with a strong visible brand running throughout everything it does, from the style of every bouquet to its website and instantly recognisable gift boxes and packaging. Firenza Floral Design Fiona Pickles attended our branding workshop and has undergone a whole transformation, and she sent us a lovely quote: “Now I’m getting enquiries from people who value me, not just people who want me to ‘do the flowers’.” Eden Blooms Hazel Shaw is particularly good at communicating and really shines at marketing her business because she has a real focus. More information about Fiona’s books How to Style your Brand and Brand Brilliance, plus her workshops and online courses, can be found on her website – ou’ll also find reams of inspirational blog posts providing advice and guidance on unlocking your brand potential.

“ F I N D I N G A N D C E L E B R AT I N G YO U R U N I Q U E F L O R A L S T Y L E I S K EY T O R E A L I S I N G T H E P OW E R W I T H I N YO U R B R A N D ” Business-Branding.indd 15



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Today, 3.4bn people use the internet, and 75k purchases are made online every single minute. Retail is changing rapidly as more and more people use small devices for everyday tasks, and technology doesn’t care about leaving people behind – social media is taking over direct mail, and two taps can replace a telephone call Each month we share tips, tricks and advice from people in the know, and single out a special website that ticks all the boxes. Think yours makes the cut? Let us know and you could see your name in print.



hile it might sound daunting, florists everywhere are embracing the brave new digital world and making it work. Chloe Milligan is creative director at Mud Urban Flowers, a baby business (just six months old) that is moving at lightspeed thanks to its tech-savvy attitude. With business partner Nick Priestly, she brings a breath of fresh air to news feeds everywhere; Mud’s social media is fun, personal and flower-filled, and it also has a fantastically easyto-navigate website. Every word and image meticulously matches the laid-back brand, including their (often sell-out) daily bouquets. l Keep it short and sassy. Nobody likes a long caption, or reads it for that matter. Think about what the photo says to you – is it sexy, magical, dark yet feminine? Don’t state what people can already see: ‘blush and ivory roses in a tall vase for the bride and groom’s special day’ – snooze! l With the new era of smartphones, there’s no excuse for blurry images. If it’s blurry, people don’t want to see it. l Post regularly, but don’t over post – there’s a big difference. People like a bit of consistency, and you want to remind them every day how great your company is – but if you start double or triple posting, you’re going to lose followers. l Think about the feed the way your Instagram looks when you first click on it (the first nine photos) is important. Consistent use of colour blocking, space in photos, themes and filters can all be helpful in creating a great-looking feed, and a great feed means more followers. l Keep your website simple. Think about what you want people to be doing on your site, such as sending flowers or subscribing to flower deliveries, and put these things in the header. Everything else should be in the footer. Only put the things you want them to click on at the top – take out any other options. If they want to find your gallery, further information and so on, they’ll find it.



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Mud Urban Flowers is starting a franchisee programme at the end of autumn 2017. A Mud Urban Flowers franchise can be a start-up venture, or an add-on to an already established flower business. If you’re interested in joining the programme, email c oe m r for more information. 22/08/2017 09:34




tep back once a month, put on your customers’ glasses and look at your website with fresh eyes, as though you’re visiting it for the first time. It’s important to experience the customer’s journey on your website so you can identify whether there are any areas that need to be changed; this will help to ensure that visitors want to, and can, order with you. Research has shown a website has seven seconds to capture a visitor’s attention, so it’s vital to get it spot on!

SOME KE QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER AS OU HA E A BROWSE l Is it easy to understand who you are and what you’re selling? l Is it simple to navigate using the menu and find what you’re looking for? l Are there call to action (CTA) prompts such as ‘order now’ or ‘call us to book an appointment’? l Is the ordering process clear and simple? l Uni ue selling point (USP) does

your website give the customer a reason to want to shop with you? l Have you tried browsing other retailers’ websites (not just floristry ones) to see, as a customer, what you like and don’t like about using them? Remember, customers want a website to be user-friendly otherwise they will give up and find another one to order on!



oots, Fruits & Flowers wins this month’s website accolade. Not only does its site reflect an elegant and earthy brand, it’s also beautiful and easy to navigate, with simple impulse buys on the homepage so that a customer doesn’t have to look far to make a purchase. Business-Digital design NEW.indd 17

Roots, Fruits & Flowers www.roots r itsflowers o .com Manager: Phil Hunter



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unning a successful business means costing every item, right down to the buttonholes. While buttonholes might seem a small sale, the labour element means they need to be costed properly. Customers also rarely only order one at a time, so they can add up. In addition, they’re hugely variable: a style with intricate gluing and wiring will take more time and skill than a simple one-head and stem – so the time costed for skill and business will need adjusting. Skill and business charges are often used together as a total labour charge, which should be at least one third of your costs.

FIVE SMALL ROSE BUTTONHOLES FLOWERS/SUNDRIES Rose Sundries (wire/pin/wrapping) Foliage Skill charge (10 mins of an hourly rate) (10 mins of an hourly rate to cover rent, electricity, tax)

About Nikki Meader Nikki is a Good Florist Guide panellist and the owner of West Malling Flowers, voted two-time Retail Florist Shop of the Year at the BFA awards. She has a background in accounting, building her business on a foundation of impeccable costings.

INDIVIDUAL COST (£) 0.50 0.20 0.50 1.66

x5 COST 2.50 1.00 2.50 8.30






Customer pays



ro t



weddings per year with five buttonholes each Buttonhole profit per year



Basic one-stem buttonholes might seem boring, but there’s a world of ways to jazz up the simple sale – especially for school proms and quirky weddings where you have more freedom to be creative. Corsage Creations is widely recognised as the UK’s ‘one stop shop’ for wearable blooms, and as an arm of sundries veteran Douthwaite & Co, it’s no stranger to the florist industry. This is why every item is designed with florists in mind, to make their lives easier from special plastic attachments for gluing blooms, to handy picks, pins, clips, disks, magnets and more. Ask your wholesaler for Corsage Creations products or visit their website at





3 1 Florentine Boutonniere 2 Gold Filigree Swirl Buttonhole 3 Silver Rose Leaves & Silver Bullion Wire 4 Monstera Boutonniere 5 Gold Calla Lily Buttonhole




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© Emma McDonald, Stems © Kerry Booker, Stems by Tineke


very day we’re opening our eyes to new ideas that were never before thought possible. Take a small, independent florist sitting deep in the Scottish Borders who suddenly sees an opportunity to deliver her designs to millions of would-be customers on the Continent – it’s a dream come true for Emma McDonald of Stems, who is now able to ship her work all over the UK and beyond. More and more florists are embracing the chance to take their business up a notch by offering nationwide delivery, while retaining their reputation as a ‘proper florist’. Working with a courier doesn’t come without any difficulties, however. We found out what happened when three independent florists saw their opportunity and took it. EMMA MCDONALD, STEMS Launched in 2012 in Innerliethen in the Scottish Borders, Emma’s business Stems has already seen two shop moves – and now has its sights set worldwide. She’s scooped awards for design and customer service, and is gaining a reputation for her beautiful Scottish designs. “We only recently went live with the news that we now deliver nationally, so we’re still just getting

the word out, which is proving trickier than you’d imagine. A lot of customers – especially the older generation – instinctively associate sending flowers with Interflora, so they’re disappointed that it’s not Interflora and can’t understand why. “It’s great because it’s a step away from relay systems where a middleman takes a cut. We need to teach people that it is possible and that flowers will arrive fresh. We’ve been getting good feedback and hopefully word of mouth will help. “We’ve got some exciting plans that break the mould and will mean we’re competing with traditional relay systems, involving a mini production line at our little flower shop in Scotland. We hope it will bring more money into the Scottish Borders from the rest of the UK and Europe. “We use APC because it was the best recommended company for fragile freight, and we’ve found it’s the only one that will take alcohol and glass bottles. We’ve not had any problems yet, but we’re still in the early stages.For packaging, we use Widdups boxes and Flower Bags from OASIS Floral Products. They stop the boxes getting damp when knocked, and since our flowers come drypacked from Holland, I think it puts us a step ahead. “In terms of prices, we always ask for 30 or more – mostly so that the bouquet doesn’t look too small in its box. Our delivery charge is around 10, but I’m still testing it at the moment – we don’t add much mark-up other than covering courier and packaging costs, and I’m planning to introduce a slightly higher standard charge that should even out losses from cheaper orders.” KERRY BOOKER, STEMS B TINEKE Kerry Booker, owner of Tineke Floral Designs, has been in the industry for over 20 years. She has been named one of the UK’s best wedding florists, and has garnered acclaim for her work and her Derbyshire flower school. Business-Couriers.indd 19

Kerry has spent the last year embarking on an exciting new project, Stems by Tineke, which delivers letterbox flowers and luxury hand-tied bouquets nationwide. “The numbers vary, but we send out around 0 nationwide orders a week. We started out using courier companies, but they caused too many problems; we now use Royal Mail. Since the changeover we’ve had no problems or complaints, and have found that Royal Mail is cheaper too. We do have to drop orders off at a depot, whereas a courier would collect, but for us that’s easy as the depot is nearby. “We pay just 5.70 to send a box for next day delivery, though Royal Mail doesn’t actually guarantee it will arrive the next day. We’ve found they do always arrive on time, but that’s something to be wary of. Courier companies guarantee timed deliveries but at a high price, often charging over-the-odds for timed and weekend deliveries. “In terms of packaging, we send our flat-packed flowers in slim boxes without water, but each stem is individually wrapped in net with tissue. We send our hand-tied luxury bouquets in a normal branded gift-bag, kept watered with Arrive Alive from Chrysal.”



24/08/2017 12:27



SIÂN WILD, THE FLOWER LOUNGE National Wedding Florist of the Year 2017 Siân Wild is a Good Florist Guide panellist, a member of Chapel Designers and retail director for the BFA; her seven-year-old shop, The Flower Lounge, has gained a reputation as one of the best in Manchester. “We used to courier flowers10-15 times a week, but we’re now only doing it every now and again because of the charges involved – although we do still do it at peak times. The courier we use is a franchise, which means each part of the country has different pricing; we’re hoping that a standard pricing structure will soon be introduced so that we can use the service again. “We only send bouquets, never plants or arrangements. Our customers love that they can choose their flowers in the shop and send them anywhere in the country by the next day, and even include their own handwritten note. “We use Widdups courier boxes with our own hand-tied gift bags inside, but always put flowers in gel rather than water, which drastically reduces the number of complaints. We charge extra for the service as we have to cover these costs.”

C O M PA N Y P R O F I L E S This is by no means a full breakdown of every courier or an endorsement for any company in particular, but here’s a selection of companies to spark your research. Every location and usiness speci cation ill a e different needs, so make sure you ask as many questions as possible, and always test, test, test.


Shutl lets your customers decide when things will arrive. Used by Bloom & Wild and Hotel Chocolat, it’s a modern service with a new appstyle booking system, promising deliveries in as little as 90 minutes. 0333 999 3126



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APC Overnight claims to be the UK’s largest independent delivery network, with more than 115 local depots. It’s gained some of the best florist industry reviews as it offers fragile and liquid services. 0800 373737


Diamond Logistics works primarily with SMEs and calls itself the ‘local national’ courier, promoting its services with ‘VIPs’ (Very Important Parcels). 0333 567 0391


Royal Mail has a trusted reputation, and feedback says that costs are low. It offers special rates for those that send more than 20 parcels a week, as well as tracked delivery and compensation. 0800 731 4564


On the dot’s unique technology enables retailers of all sizes to offer customers convenient one-hour delivery timeslots of their choice – reaching 99% of the UK, freeing up valuable employee time and enhancing customer experience. 0207 880 1444 24/08/2017 12:29




s online bouquet-sellers do booming business and the largest relay companies start to deliver boxed flowers, there’s a growing sense of if you can’t beat them, join them’. But alternatives do exist. The rise of Etsy-es ue online selling allows for a whole new type of flower buying, drawing on the benefits of both the old relay systems and modern independent branding – and there are several organisations doing it. One of these is Florist Up My Street, headed up by Tom Le Mesurier. Florist Up My Street acts as a

digital platform, helping florists sell their own uni ue designs locally. We have seen the use of couriers and boxed flowers increasing, but feel there is still always that risk of damage or poor service we’ve all seen and heard those horror stories from pack-house and relay couriers. In my eyes, floristry is still very much about that personal touch, with a local florist bringing you flowers to your door. With the tools and products we offer at Florist Up My Street, you can reach a national audience in a modern way, while keeping your deliveries truly local.



A patented foam that Chrysal says will keep flowers hydrated without the need for water for three to five days during transport. It also means that you can ship horizontally without risking spillage.




iddups offers a range of delivery boxes in different sizes, printed with your own brand artwork they can assist with graphic design if you’ve not got your own designs ready to send. Prices start at . each for , to , boxes.


Available in three sizes from cm to cm, OASIS Flower Bags are the original nappy sacks’, designed to wrap around stems and retain moisture.


Developed by a UK company that specialises in plant rooting gel, el Flowers is used by Fortnum & Mason and is s uirted into cellophane as you would with water it then firms up and doesn’t spill. el Flowers hydrates all stems and can be safely washed down the drain. Business-Couriers.indd 21



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Kally Ellis Interview.indd 22 24/08/2017 11:50



e su ect of our rst ad to e one of t e est and e ere pri ileged to eet ally llis o ner of c ueens at t e co pany s et nal reen pre ises e told us a out er start in floristry and o c ueens eca e t e ulti illion pound usiness it is today


ally, can you tell us a little about how you came into the industry? What were you doing before?

I started McQueens 27 years ago, and how it started was very bizarre. I read languages at university and worked for a French bank for a few years before I had this ridiculous dream, and it really was a dream, triggered by a visit to Paris, where I was visiting the mother of a friend who had sadly passed away. I felt I couldn’t go empty handed, so on passing a flower shop I picked up a few bunches of tulips; when I took them in to pay, instead of just wrapping them in brown paper, the florist opened them all up, stripped the leaves off, and created this incredible gift-wrapped bouquet. I was surprised and completely mesmerised, it was just the most divine thing. I remember thinking, why haven’t I seen this done in London? Not long after, I woke up one morning from a vivid dream where I was in a little flower shop making the very same bouquet. At that time in my life, I was unhappy working in a bank, and felt Kally Ellis Interview.indd 23

I should have been doing something much more creative. The first step in making the change was announcing to my bemused parents that I was going to become a florist, and the next three months were spent researching all the top florists in London. I approached some of them asking for work experience and attended relevant trade shows, while also looking for premises. Just by chance, I met the wife of my boyfriend’s boss, and she happened to own a small florist on the border of the City and Shoreditch – it was on Great Eastern Street and called McQueens. She had tried floristry but decided it wasn’t for her, so we agreed that I’d buy into the business, she would become a sleeping partner, as it were, and eventually I’d take it over from her once I’d found my feet. Christmas was approaching, and one of the florists I had approached for work experience – Paula Pryke – took me on for three weeks to drive vans and decorate trees over the busy Christmas period. While I was working there, I met an Italian freelance florist called Ercole Moroni, and we hit it off immediately.




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I started trading on 1 January 1991, and agreed with Ercole that he would work for me for the first year, and if we became successful he would be made a partner in the business, buying out our sleeping partner. Without him and his experience I definitely couldn’t have done it. We worked together for years before we went our separate ways, and the business has gone from strength to strength. I’ve learned a lot along the way. What was harder to learn: how to run a siness or w ic ants flowers an products to buy? I was so passionate and still am and at the time I could see nothing but this little flower shop and how I was going to make it work. I was really inspired by Ercole because he was extraordinarily creative and I loved watching him work and learning from him. Day by day, I developed the business, made mistakes, learned from them and moved on. I still take it one day at a time. In the early days I never spent a penny on marketing I decided



Kally Ellis Interview.indd 24

that the best advertising was word of mouth recommendation, and I’d rather invest the money in the business more staff, and bigger and better premises as we grew. It was a gamble, but it paid off. Did you always have an idea of where you were going to position the business? Was it always top end rather than commodity? I wanted to create something similar to what I had seen in Paris to get away from flat packs and the Interflora style that dominated at the time. It was what I had in my head, and after doing my research I realised it was already out there, so I gained more and more inspiration, and the courage to take it one step further. i o e er get an o cia training No, but I was hands on from day one. I didn’t mind getting my hands dirty very dirty and I loved it. I still like to get stuck in occasionally, although my job is much more client-facing now my priority is running the business side of things. 22/08/2017 09:47


Were you ever tempted to name the business after yourself? No, I liked the anonymity. McQueens was the name when I bought the business, and I liked it better than my name. Because Ercole and I were going to become business partners, we decided it was better to have a name that neither of us were associated with. Interestingly, the shop had once belonged to a woman called Carol McQueen, who was Alexander McQueen’s aunt – and coincidentally, he became a very loyal customer of ours. Having started out in Shoreditch, where did you move to as the business grew? We outgrew Shoreditch after about four years. We were getting very busy and acquiring new contracts, and it was never a high street shop because we were on Great Eastern Street, which was the first red route in the City of London. At first I was worried that nobody would stop in, but actually the majority of our business was telephone orders, contracts and events. We used our window as a

floral installation, and people would see it on the bus and take down the number. We needed bigger premises, but didn’t want to move too far away, because most of our clientele was City-based at the time. We looked around Shoreditch and Clerkenwell – there was an empty watchmaking shop on St John’s Street that was up for sale for a lot of money, but we pooled our resources and managed to buy it. It was a Georgian property, set over four stories, and we were there for about 10 years. After a while we started to burst at the seams again; we had launched the school, and as contracts grew we were also accumulating lots of stock vases and needed storage. We purchased an old pub in Victoria Park that had previously been used by a printing company. It was a lovely property, housing our school with the warehouse in the basement, but the logistics of having the main business in Clerkenwell and the school and warehouse elsewhere meant that we were constantly driving between the two – it became too disjointed. We

found a 5,000ft² premises in Old Street, which had a wonderful loading bay, as well as enough space to house the school and warehouse in the basement shop, and offices on the ground floor. Two years ago we moved to our current building, a converted warehouse in Bethnal Green. It took five months to renovate, but we have everything under one roof now; it works well, with the shop and workshop on the ground floor and the warehouse, school and offices on the first floor. We also have a shop in Claridge’s, which makes sense because we’re in charge of all its floral installations. Why diversify with the school? We were getting a lot of interest from students abroad, particularly in Japan and Korea. They would come over to do work experience, which gave us the idea to open a school. It’s a good business model for us because our name gets known all over the world, and it gives us the chance to teach our style of floristry to a whole new generation of talent. It started quite slowly, but soon snowballed.


3 Kally Ellis Interview.indd 25



24/08/2017 11:52


1 (Previous page) Kally Ellis in front of a seasonal flo er display of snapdragons roses ydrangea a flo er and i urnu 2 Pre ious page a ade of c ueens in et nal reen 3 Pre ious page tudents of t e c ueens flo er sc ool focusing on a neat tulip posy c allenge 4 la orate ta le setting of spring flo ers including lilac cle atis roses and i urnu 5 ild and a undant ou uet in t e a ing ydrangea lilac roses i urnu 6 c ueens signature and tie ou uet a a ia elp iniu elle oses le atis atrec aria ou ardia

4 5



Kally Ellis Interview.indd 26

6 24/08/2017 11:52


“WE NEEDED BIGGER PREMISES, BUT D I D N ’ T WA N T T O M OV E T O O FA R AWAY B E C AU S E M O S T O F O U R C L I E N T E L E W E R E C I T Y- BA S E D AT T H E T I M E ” What types of course do you offer? We do a vocational course, which is four weeks and aimed at anybody from beginners to the more experienced – but people can join it at any point because it’s very well structured. In the first week we teach the basics, and the second week is when we’re starting to do table centres and large vase arrangements. The third week is all weddings and wiring work, which gets very technical, and finally is the design week, where you do big installations. The course is designed so that people can dip in and out. We then have a week or so break before the course starts again, and the courses stop at the end of September because Christmas takes over. Is Christmas the busiest time of year for you? It’s mad. It’s very busy, not so much for the events, but on the installation side. All the London hotels go big on Christmas installations and it seems every year they have to outdo the one before. What’s the structure of the business now? As we’ve got bigger we’ve had to become much more organised. I’ve created departments for our main areas of operation – at the beginning we would all just muck in and help with everything. We’re a team of 47 now, so we have a full support staff: office administrators, drivers, events team, contracts team, retail shop, school team and social media team. Duncan McCabe, who had previously run our flower school, took over as our social media director after realising the photos and videos he was posting were gaining a fantastic response and finding a new international audience. We also have a brilliant blog with a dedicated following. Do you have any staffing challenges? When you have 47 staff you have to look after them and invest in them, and I’d say our staff retention is very good. It’s always difficult recruiting Kally Ellis Interview.indd 27

new staff, because many of them want to freelance now. Freelancing is more flexible and floristry can be physically demanding, we all know that. When we have very large events, like most businesses we will bring freelancers in to complement the team. Is each of the business s sectors similar in their turnover percentages? No, the school is currently growing at a rate of knots, now being twice as big as it was when we were in Old Street – the turnover increased massively when we moved here because we have a fantastic space in Bethnal Green with natural light, and our tutors are just amazing, inspirational florists. Events is about 25% of our business, contracts are around 50%, and then the school and retail makes up the rest. Our contracts include five star hotels and we’ve just taken on two new big ones, so that’s going to increase our bottom line quite significantly. The contracts’ margins are much tighter because it’s very competitive, especially since the downturn. Is the industry quite competitive? I don’t feel it, but I’m too focused on our business to worry about what our competitors are doing. Obviously my staff do keep track of what’s going on, and with the social media side of things, everything moves very quickly these days. We have a very healthy Instagram following and our blog has recently been nominated for a prestigious award. I think you can always tell when businesses are too busy looking at what their competitors are doing because they take their eye off the ball – that’s when service slips and things can start to go wrong. We know you work internationally, both with installations and training. Is that something that’s important to you? We do travel a lot. We send our tutors over to China in collaboration with a school we teach at,

and we also do events all over the world. One of our biggest clients is Vanity Fair in New York – we’ve done its Oscars party for 20 years, and we also do the opening party for the Tribeca Film Festival. There’s a fabulous job we do in San Francisco called the Breakthrough Awards, which basically elevates scientists to a level of celebrity status because they’re really making a difference in the world. It’s a massive event and is televised live. We’ve also been at Cannes Film Festival this year. The international element is important and great for our profile. Where do your ideas come from? We make a strong point of listening to the client and tailor-making to their needs. I get inspired by all sorts of things – looking out of the window, art galleries, anything, really. Because I wasn’t trained, I quite often employ people who weren’t trained, but I make sure they come from an arts and creative environment because that’s something that you absolutely cannot teach anyone. You can teach someone to be a florist, the technique and the mechanism and how it all works, but you can’t teach them ideas or give them an eye. What issues do you feel the industry has, and where could it improve? Flowers could be cheaper – they get more and more expensive and we can’t keep passing that on to the clients. However, this industry is always improving. Year on year we’re getting really spoilt, especially being London-based – you get such choice and variety with all these new hybrids coming along, and they keep you interested and give you something to look forward to. I’m inspired by the change of seasons; I get so excited at seeing the first of the seasonal blooms. We don’t stock tropicals because they have to be flown in, and we do try to keep our flowers as British as possible.



22/08/2017 14:03


ST LE ac ont e ll as t o talented florists to select t eir fa ourite or and s o it off


DESIGN ELEMENT anc ester ased flo er s op esign le ent is co o ned y national treasures of floristry eil itta er and nt ony illia s ince its launc in eil as or ed tirelessly all o er t e orld strengt ening is s ills and tec ni ues running or s ops and de onstrations and ta ing part in inspirational e ents seasoned co petitor eil as on any national and international titles including a co eted second place at t e nterflora orld up Name Neil Whittaker AIFD NDSF Business name Design Element Flowers Location Irlam, Manchester Age of business 36 years How would you describe your style? Influenced by Finland, as I was trained by a Finnish designer who taught me about attention to detail. What inspires you? I’m inspired by the shapes in nature and by modern art – I look for ways it can be used within my work. Favourite kind of design to make? A carmen rose for a bride, as it allows me to show my skill as a florist. Three favourite flowers? Batflowers, calla lilies and Heliconia ‘Teddy Bear’. Can you name one or more florists who inspire you? The two most important people to inspire me and my career were Coral Carter and ouni Seppanen.



Style pages.indd 28 24/08/2017 11:54


2 1



1 Neil with a tree installation created for a recent demonstration in Shanghai 2 An installation for Leeds Castle Flower Festival in Kent 3 A table setting with suspended orchid heads 4 oral at design 5 A modern commercial arrangement which Design Element might sell 6 A contemporary display featuring wired tropical o ers and foliage

5 Style pages.indd 29




24/08/2017 11:54


1 1 A demonstration bouquet from one of Susanne’s one-to-one classes 2 Susanne teaching a class in San Francisco 3 A large urn with lots of late summer abundance from the garden 4 A picture of Susanne’s studio 5 Susanne loves to include seasonal foraged materials in her designs


Bootom left image and top right image © Sarah Falugo




Style pages.indd 30 24/08/2017 11:55



THE BLUE CARROT Susanne’s business began with a row of sweet peas between her spinach and runner beans. She set up The Blue Carrot as a market garden, selling vegetables from the gate; the name was a joke, as she claims that she couldn’t gro carrots e flo ers soon too over the garden – and Susanne’s life. Now boasting over 66k Instagram followers, she runs classes all over the world. This October she will be travelling to Belgium to run a workshop with Emily Avenson of Fleuropean.

4 5 Name Susanne Hatwood Business Name The Blue Carrot Location Roseland Peninsula, Cornwall Age of business Eight years

Bootom left image and top right image © Sarah Falugo

How would you describe your style? Wild romance. What inspires you? Nature, dance, art. Favourite kind of design to make? Minimal bowl arrangements. Three favourite flowers? Hellebores, vines, roses, and many more... Can you name one or more florists who inspire you? Sarah Ryhanen from Saipua was my first total crush and big influence. Style pages.indd 31



24/08/2017 12:34




Clockwise from top left: Laurustinus, variegated Portugal laurel (images supplied by GB Foliage), Bismarkia palm, Photinia ‘Red Robin’ (images supplied by Porters Foliage)



Trends DPS.indd 32

Top left and main image © New Covent Garden Market for British Flowers Week


ince Pantone announced that Greenery would be its 2017 Colour of the Year, the trend for foliage-only floral designs has skyrocketed all over the country. While in the past florists might have chosen between Ruscus, salal, eucalyptus and little else, there’s so much more available now, and specialist companies are working to offer florists more options. Designers are mixing all sorts of textures and shades of green, but it does make a minefield out of selecting foliage as there is so much more out there. Wholesalers at New Covent Garden Market offer a fantastic selection, with GB Foliage specialising in British-grown while Porters Foliage source varieties from around the world; they’re both always happy to share their knowledge. Outside of London, many wholesalers across the UK have spotted the trend and increasing foliage supplies and tightening grower relationships, to offer more variety and better quality. 24/08/2017 11:56


WHO’S DOING IT Several florists were a step ahead before Pantone announced its Colour of the ear. Cool East London florist Grace & Thorn has garnered a reputation for green designs, and Matthew Richardson at Urban Flower Company, current frontrunner in the botanical movement, selected British foliage as his favourite stem for this year’s British Flowers Week photoshoot, organised by New Covent Garden Market. Bryan Porter, Porters Foliage “Florists need something different, especially for events, so we work directly with hundreds of suppliers throughout the UK and around the globe, enabling us to source many different varieties from all over the world. The world has become smaller and logistics are different these days, so we can tap into a niche and source unusual products that might not be commercially viable in the Dutch auction.” Trends DPS.indd 33

Matthew Richardson, Urban Flower Company “All our arrangements are foliage-orientated as the main focus. I love the combination of an urban setting with greenery as the oxygen of the city. Greens can calm the chaos of urban living. It’s a massive part of what we do, so we wanted to use British Flowers Week as a platform for putting greens on the map in a bold new way. Our style is industrial and always very botanical, with a apanese aesthetic. ”

Matthew Richardson with David Gorton

David Gorton, GB Foliage “I’ve been in the business for 2 years; foliage was a big trend when I started, then it slowed, and now it’s gone full circle. British foliage is very important – it goes with the seasons, so there’s always something different. It’s also got a special look because it’s not uniform, it’s wild and adds movement.”



24/08/2017 11:57







Trends DPS.indd 34

This page: Far right and top image © Joseph Massie Flowers, Amy Faith Photography

ith its plastic texture and weird shape, the Anthurium often gets a bad reputation, but lately it’s enjoyed a resurgence: top designers have begun to showcase the quirky stem in a new light. It joins Monstera, dwarf pineapples and Strelitzia in spearheading the tropical look, seen adorning venues and social feeds all summer long. The Flower Council of Holland, a promotional body for flowers and plants that invests in annual trends analysis, has selected exotics as its September focus flowers. Its trade and consumer promotions will feature Strelitzia, Gloriosa and Anthurium throughout this month – proof that the tropical trend is set to continue when summer is over. Continually diving in and out of fashion, the Monstera was huge in the Seventies, when its sliced leaves cut a striking shape among the bright colours and patterns of the decade. In recent years it’s returned as a firm favourite among bloggers and stylists, thanks to trend-setting companies such as Geo-fleur; fashion and interior brands are still pushing tropical prints, and florists continue to use cut Monstera stems and other striking exotic leaves in their work. 24/08/2017 11:57

WHO’S DOING IT Internationally famous floral artist regor Lersch favoured Anthurium Terrasol’ at a recent workshop, while Simone ooch of iconic flower business Fjura has also shown she’s partial to the special stem, with it making a regular appearance on her social feeds. Dwarf pineapples are now easily accessible to florists in both cut and houseplant forms, while letterbox flower company Bloom & Wild are in on the trend with their bou uet The Carmen’, which features five pineapples, Dracaena leaves, Astrantia, freesias and snapdragons. ose assie flora artist an esigner i er oo We’ve definitely seen a rise in re uests for tropicals this year, through our event studio Joseph Massie Flowers. Tropicals are having a moment right now, and this includes the use of tropical foliage standing alone and aside from the usual mix of tropical blooms. Monstera, Philodendron and Anthurium leaves are all popular, and are being re uested more and more. Eight per cent of our wedding clients so far this year have selected a tropical theme, or included a tropical element in their d cor while this isn’t a huge percentage, it’s more than last year. We’re also seeing more tropical prints on custom stationery (palm fronds being a favourite), and as such we’re matching custom linens more and more to reflect a colourful, vibrant theme. ara o g re ennings i ing in t e it owers on on I designed my first tropical wall back in , using statement tropical leaves with interesting silhouettes for clean lines. It felt really fresh compared to the fluffy walls that had been seen before, and shoehorned in my massive love for foliage, too. The tropical trend has grown since then, and like every trend, it diversifies and moves on. At the start of this year we saw a real increase in customers clutching mood boards of pink and teal, to add a fun Miami twist to their event. Think flamingoes, and palm leaves on pink backgrounds. To keep things feeling fresh we have super-sized everything during the past few events go big or just go’ has been our motto. We’ve used Alocasia leaves that are as big as an elephant’s ear, Livistona leaves big enough to shelter you from a hailstorm, and banana leaves over a metre long. We’ve also been playing around by mixing tropical and British foliage where we can, creating interesting tones as opposed to just waxy green leaves. My favourite leaves at the moment are Alocasia and Bismarckia leaves, which satisfy my obsession with teal tones.

This page: © Hiding in the City Flowers

This page: Far right and top image © Joseph Massie Flowers, Amy Faith Photography


GET THE LOOK nanas (pineapple) nt ri m nt ri m ea es (especially A. Exciting Love’, A. clarinervium and A. gabriella) Trends DPS.indd 35

an sia s eciosa o gain i ea rome ia e osia (cockscomb) rem r s (foxtail lily) comis (pineapple lily

particularly E. Aloha Lily Waikiki’ and E. comosa Johannesburg’) inger a io s oriosa (flame lily)

e iconia i isc s ni o a (red hot poker) onstera rc i s (particularly anda) i o en ron ea es

rotea o o en ron oeni roe e enii (pygmy date palm) tre it ia (bird of paradise) ro ica r its



22/08/2017 10:00





lower breeders work tirelessly to create new and unusual flowers but if they re not sold growers won t in est in them o draw in new customers you ha e to offer inspiring products so each issue we ll share a selection of special arieties hether they re new unusual or on trend old fa ourites these are the stems to put you one step ahead

This month’s top spots are chosen by Niels Dekker, UK/Ireland sales manager for De Gooijer International. He tells us, “I visit the growers and auction clocks daily to find the latest seasonal flowers. Niels blogs his findings at @gfreshniels D I is the founder of -Fresh, where florists and designers can order flowers online. Flowers are harvested after you place your order, not before, as when you buy at auction. Fallen head over heels for a flower Let us know at florist sinesse itor e a s .com

S T E M E N V Y. . .



Products-Flower varieties.indd 36

© Mick Stubbe

a anese isiant s Dutch designer Dennis Kneepkens is one of floristry’s biggest globe-trotters, and while abroad in Japan he fell for this special breed of Lisianthus, pictured right. “In Japan, growers produce smaller quantities and the process takes more time, but each stem is as thick as a finger and contains five or more flowers, which can become as big as peonies, says Dennis. During the process, growers pick flower buds from the stem so that the remaining flowers can become bigger. It doesn’t come without a cost, though. The average wholesale price for a stem at the market is around to . 22/08/2017 10:01

© Mick Stubbe


AMARANTHUS Availability Through September in various shapes and colours Grower Various

EUCOMIS Availability Two colours until mid-September, depending on weather conditions Grower Fa. A. Langedijk

MALUS Availability Through September Grower Various

RUBUS Availability Through September Grower Various

SYMPHORICARPOS Availability Through September – various colours Grower Various

ZANTEDESCHIA ‘RED ADAIR’ Availability Through September Grower Cle Fleur

PHYSALIS Availability Through September Grower Various

PHASEOLUS VULGARIS ‘BEAU BELLE’ Availability Through September Grower Artiflowers Sevenum

VIBURNUM OPULUS ‘COMPACTUM’ Availability Through September – stunning yellow or red berries Grower Various Products-Flower varieties.indd 37



22/08/2017 10:04


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This incredible foam unicorn was created by Cassandra Thompson and her team at Frames for Florists. rames

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ora i e meta ic in a oo r OASIS Floral Products oasisflora .co. rice £6.07

Hot pink water dye OASIS Floral Products oasisflora .co. rice £2.09

in re wire woo Lehner Wolle e nerflora .at rice . ( . )



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e flo er frog as een so e at out of t e picture since t e ad ent of foa ut t is intage arranging tool could e a out to a e a co e ac as a ne generation of florists disco ers its uir y c ar

N 1 3


1 Florist Susanne Hatwood of The Blue Carrot has discovered the joy of using frogs as a natural alternative to foam. “I love using a flower frog,” she says. “I love the simplicity, and that the mechanics are on show. I think there’s a great honesty about it.”

4 5

2 Bespoke foam shape Carved by Val Spicer

6 Products-Foams & frogs.indd 41

o longer a relic of the past, the flower frog – used to hold flower stems in place – is emerging again as florists are experimenting with unusual ways to arrange. The typical frog, often made from glass or pottery, can be traced back to the 1 th century and reached its heyday in the Twenties and Thirties. They came in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from metal structures studded with pins for spiking stems, to ornate glass bulbs dotted with holes for slotting flowers into. They lost their appeal once floral foam took off and revolutionised the way we work with flowers. Today, OASIS Floral Products supplies foam in a range of shapes and flavours: Light for soft stems, Event for heavier work and Ideal for every day. Chrysal, market leaders in flower food, also supplies a range of foam, while dedicated companies such as Val Spicer and Frames for Florists specialise in carving incredible foam shapes for artistic floral creations. While frogs are popping up on social media feeds as a natural way to create unique designs, floral foam is still the groundbreaking product it has been since VL Smithers’ water-absorbing science revolutionised the industry in 1 54. Since then, a whole host of companies have been working hard to progress florist products in both quality and environmental aspects, and there are some exciting new concepts to come soon.

3 Metal pin holders Available from sundries wholesalers Image supplied by Excelsior Wholesale

4 Foam Bricks OASIS Floral Products 5 Chrysal Floral Foam ELITE intage glass floral frogs Available on eBay, Etsy and similar sites Image supplied by eanette McCabe, owner of Maude and Lola Etsy shop



24/08/2017 11:46

orist eddingcraftsupplies co u Our extensive range includes artificial flowers, trees and plants, cellophane, ribbons, balloon weights, floral foam, florist tools, wedding and craft items, greetings cards and a large selection of coloured envelopes. Bespoke prices available for the trade with discount codes for the website.

No minimum order, one postal charge for unlimited product amounts, same day dispatch on all orders that are received before 2pm Mon- Fri (excluding bank holidays) Trade / Retail Warehouse open from 6.30am until 4.30pm Mon - Fri and 6.30am until 11am Saturdays. Located in the south of Stoke On Trent, 10 miles from Uttoxeter, Leek, Hanley, Stoke On Trent, Alton Towers. Florist Folding Cards trade price only ÂŁ1.20 ( this includes VAT) C7 Envelopes Contact for trade prices Plastic Balloon Weights Over 18 different Colours Contact for trade prices Unique Paw Print Cellophane Contact for trade prices

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Japanese Florist Scissors Brand The Florist Scissors Price £28 These floral scissors have been imported directly from Japan, and are a modern update on the classic Ikebana scissors. They cut like a dream without compressing the stem. marketplace

anekoma Blue Steel Blade Brand Niwaki Price £29 Traditional design from Kanekoma, featuring a brass handle and hand-forged 3in folded Hitachi Blue Steel blade.

Carbon Blade Scissors Brand OASIS Floral Products Price £8.44 High quality universal scissors for cutting and trimming fresh flowers, small garden plants and arts and craft materials. Products-Scissors.indd 43

SCISSORS & KNIVES Rounding up the essential tools of the trade

OASIS Snip Brand OASIS Floral Products Price £3.66 A strong tool for cutting stems, featuring a secateurs-style blade – best for thinner, woody stems. Japanese Florist Scissors Brand Sakagen Price £29.50 These carbon steel blades are strong and incredibly sharp, coated with a fluorocarbon polymer to ensure they do not rust. The oversized handles make them a joy to use. chantrygreen

Japanese Florist Scissors and nife Brand ARS Price £20-22.50 ARS’s apanese scissors, knives, wire cutters, pruners and secateurs are known for their quality and longevity. These scissors come personally recommended by Claire Cowling, who’s been using them for the last 15 years. OASIS Penknife Brand OASIS Floral Products Price £4.73 A handy penknife that folds away for easy storage. For cutting stems when conditioning or arranging.



24/08/2017 11:42


R I S I N G S TA R S It’s important to nurture and celebrate the next generation of talent in our trade, so each month we ll be pro ling two young florists who deser e industry recognition his month we speak to ane arie orrison and oe immons to nd out how their interest in floristry was sparked where they hope to be in the future and what their mentors ha e to say

JANE-MARIE MORRISON Plantation Florist From Kingsway, Gloucester Age 17 at o o o e a o t floristr I always knew I wanted to be a florist because I love the fact that you can be creative with flowers, and see the joy and happiness it brings to people. at are o most ro o I’m proud that I knew what I wanted to do and that I’m going for it; I’m not giving up until I reach my goal of becoming a ualified florist. o ins ires o Tracy oodman inspires me to be a better florist, and with hard work I know I can achieve anything that I put my mind to. It was a big risk for her to take me on, and I hope that I make her proud. at are o r o es or t e t re Hopefully in the future I could open my own flower shop, and do what makes me happy every day. ow wo o escri e o r floristr st e I’m still learning my style, but I’m looking forward to discovering what it will be.


racy Goodman, who employs Jane-Marie at Plantation Florist, says: “Jane-Marie comes from a travelling community so she hadn’t gone to secondary school, but she came to us for work experience and was so keen to learn that I knew she should be a part of the team. She’s training for her Level 1 and is doing really well. She’s going to make such a good florist. Melanie Webb, who tutors Jane-Marie through The Melanie Webb Flower School, says: “It’s unusual for somebody in Jane-Marie’s community to start a career at the age of 16, but she’s shown commitment and fought against what was expected of her. She’s proving herself – she’s always happy and willing, and she’s got good floristry skills too.



Rising stars.indd 44 22/08/2017 10:11


OE SIMMONS Moreton Morrell College From Wellesbourne, Warwickshire Age 27 at o o o e a o t floristr I love that there are so many routes you can go down, whether that’s competition work, teaching, weddings, events or funerals. You can take a few stems and create something really unusual. at are o most ro o Achieving a silver medal at WorldSkills UK back in November. When I first started studying floristry I had never thought about competing. At first I was hesitant, but a good friend persuaded me! o ins ires o My favourite designer would have to be Neil Whittaker. I love everything about his work. at are o r o es or t e t re I’m hoping to grow my business and possibly participate in WorldSkills UK again, as well as maybe a few smaller competitions such as FleurEx. ow wo o escri e o r floristr st e Modern.


ane Benefield, who tutors oe at Moreton Morrell College, says: “I am very proud to have been part of oe’s floristry education. She’s always seeking to learn new skills and perfect techniques. I was delighted when she won a silver medal and hope that she will carry on competing.”

Do you know a rising star? To nominate someone special – they must be under 30 years old, can be from anywhere in the UK and can be training at college or already in the workplace – email florist sinesse itor e a s .com Rising stars.indd 45

FLORIST BUSINESS 22/08/2017 10:11

Folded Cards

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22/08/2017 11:44


UNSUNG HEROES Each month, we shine a spotlight over one of the many people who work hard to quietly keep our industry going ffering logistical support to florists Paul Williams (top right image) and his team at Pollen Crew have worked behind the scenes on some of the country’s most prestigious events It all began… came to the UK from South Africa in 2000 and started working at Palmbrokers, which provides natural set building and greenery for the film industry; I went on to set up my own business in 2006. The word soon spread, and I’d established an efficient, proactive man and van’ support system for florists. It filled a gap and seemed to be just what the industry needed. I traded this way until 2008, when I was prompted to set up my own limited company, Pollen Crew.


I wake up at… We’re a 24-hour business so there’s no set pattern, and about a third of our total turnover takes place in the weeks running up to Christmas. If a florist tells us to start at 3am, I’m up at 2am, or we might start working on a wedding at midnight. An average day could see me wake up at 3am, be on the move at 5am and be loading up at the flower market by am. Then we’ll get to the venue and set up we might have finished by around pm or 6pm. My average day at work is… We take all of the dirty work’ away from florists, so that they’re able to remain fresh, alert and creative. We saw that florists were installing and fabricating their structures and sets themselves, and we could see that they were suffering from a lack of sleep. We’re here to take that stress away, by doing everything from set-up through to packing down and clearing buckets. We’re constantly moving behind the scenes. Unsung heroes.indd 47

“ NO T WO DAYS I N T H I S I N D U S T RY A R E T H E SA M E ” I’ve worked with… Many of the country’s top florists, including Shane Connolly, Simon Lycett, Ruari McCulloch of Pinstripes & Peonies, and Paul Thomas. We work particularly closely with Kally Ellis at McQueens over the Christmas period, when we construct 30ft Christmas trees. The most spectacular event I’ve worked on is… Has to be the royal wedding, with Shane Connolly. We assisted with the installations for the event, including the floral altarpiece I found myself up in the rafters of Westminster Abbey. Pollen Crew has also worked on the G20 summit in 2010 for Barack Obama’s visit, and our staff have been to work in Mexico, France, Italy, ermany and more it keeps us well-travelled!

The hardest part of the job… Lack of sleep, definitely. It changes your personality drastically, but you’ve just got to roll with it. In my spare time… I sleep! I’m uite outdoorsy, too I enjoy hiking, and I have dogs so I like to get out and about in London’s parks. I love my job because… No two days in this industry are the same. It’s a really special feeling when you’re scaling the Shard 20ft in the air at 3am, taking in the spectacular views and creating a giant floral watering can to be dressed with flowers by McQueens. In the future I hope… To become recognised as the one stop shop’ for this line of work. We’re seeing year-on-year growth of about , so we just want to do the best we can and stick around for another 10-15 years. If I wasn’t doing this I would be… Probably designing gardens. I’ve grown to appreciate flowers and gardening during my time in the industry, so we’ve dabbled in landscaping although I enjoy carpentry, too.



22/08/2017 10:16


THE LITTLE I N T E RV I E W e ant to elp t e flo er trade get to no eac ot er o e featured in a ittle nter ie e ail florist usinesseditor el ays co

T AT E TON ELL , Alternative Arrangements, Ramsbottom

ELI ABET MOBBS, Suffolk Seasons Flower Farm, Halesworth What time does your alarm go off? If I’m harvesting flowers, am, otherwise 7am. Name one person in the flower industry you d love to meet Monty Don and Nigel Dunnett, as I grow the flowers as well Tell us something that would surprise people about you I don’t like heights, but I’ve tamdem skydived three times. Name a guilty pleasure Trash TV. If you weren t a florist, what would you do? Garden designer or gardener. Name the flower you like the least



Little interview.indd 48

Chrysanthemums. ainbow roses yes or yuck? Definitely yuck What trends do you see facing the industry? British-grown flowers. Name a trend you think is best left in the past Wired buttonholes. Best moment of your career so far? Having my wedding flowers featured in a wedding magazine this September.

What time does your alarm go off? am, when my husband goes to the flower market. Name one person in the flower industry you d love to meet Simon Lycett. Tell us something that would surprise people about you I’m Welsh and used to be Tom ones’s florist. Name a guilty pleasure A blow dry every week. If you weren t a florist what would you do? I’ve been a florist for 32 years – nobody else would have me ainbow roses yes or yuck? uck What trends do you see facing the industry? Foliage and moss (and lots of it). Name a trend you think is best left in the past Living cards. Best moment of your career so far? I can’t pick one... I’m very lucky to do a job I love 24/08/2017 11:43


MA TIN BA E , Martin & the Magpie, Hungerford What time does your alarm go off? .30am, but I’m lucky if my kids don’t wake me up at am. Name one person in the flower industry you d love to meet Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua. Tell us something that would surprise people about you In my teens I did ballroom and Latin dancing for three years. Name a guilty pleasure Chick flicks. I’m a sucker for a romantic movie If you weren t a florist what would you do? Either be a teacher or an astrophysicist. Name the flower you like the least Spray chrysanthemums. ainbow roses yes or yuck? uck Why on earth would you torture a flower like that? What trends do you see facing the industry? Green house plants are hip and trendy. The natural

MIC ELLE OWO T , Rosedale House Floral Designs, Horncastle What time does your alarm go off? am. Name one person in the flower industry you d love to meet onathon Moseley. Tell us something that would surprise people about you I’m a softy at heart. Name a guilty pleasure Drinking prosecco at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon. If you weren t a florist what would you do? Teach. Name the flower you like the least Chrysanthemums. What trends do you see facing the industry? Succulent success with metallics and lace. Name a trend you think is best left in the past Gypsophilia. Best moment of your career so far? Creating this beauty for a friend’s wedding (pictured). Little interview.indd 49

foraged look is much sought after. Name a trend you think is best left in the past Dyed flowers. Best moment of your career so far? There are so many – you can’t ask me to choose I’ve been lucky enough to work for top florists in London and Amsterdam and to do flowers at amazing locations, and for the rich and famous. I think the best moment of my career, however, was when we opened our shop in November 2010 – so it’s still ongoing.

JOANNA EAGELTON, Eden Florists, Leatherhead What time does your alarm go off? am – that doesn’t mean I get up then, though Name one person in the flower industry you d love to meet Simon Lycett. Tell us something that would surprise people about you My great-grandad was Lord Mayor of London (and his dad before him). Name a guilty pleasure. Pimm’s, chocolate, and sleeping on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon. If you weren t a florist what would you do? I was a PA in a previous life, so I’d probably still be doing that. Name the flower you like the least. It depends on what I need to do with it ainbow roses yes or yuck? uck. What trends do you see facing the industry? I’ll let you know when I see it. Name a trend you think is best left in the past All of them Best moment of your career so far? Achieving C&G Level 5.



24/08/2017 11:43



Waving off your friends on Friday night as you head to bed at 8pm for a market run in the morning.


Putting buckets of super-tight flowers in front of the radiator and spending all night praying they’ll open for the next day’s event.


Realising you’re weirdly over-excited about a new pair of scissors.


Watching, helpless, as fresh stock wilts before your very eyes when British summertime finally kicks in.


Sneaking around like a criminal when you’ve been out foraging somewhere you shouldn’t.


When you’ve just had your nails done so take to wearing rubber gloves at work for protection.



Leaves, everywhere. In your shoes. In your hair. In your bed. Always.

Got one to share? Post it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, tag #FloristProblems and @FloristBusiness in your post and you could see your name in print


Popping to market for “just one wrap” and coming back with a van-full.



Florist problems.indd 50 22/08/2017 10:23

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