0Florist Friday: Interview with Derek Isaac of SuperNature Flowers

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Back in May, I was wowed by Liz Earle’s Chelsea in Bloom entry! So much so, that I asked one of their staff who had created it…it was Derek Isaac of SuperNature Flowers. I contacted Derek and am delighted to feature him today on Flowerona.

Could you tell us what prompted you to become a florist and how your floristry career has progressed?

There were a number of reasons. My previous career in Human Resources was very unsatisfying and I was looking for a career change. My partner, Mark Siredzuk, is the in-house florist at the One Aldwych hotel and I used to work for him, whenever he needed an extra pair of hands.

When I finally left the HR industry, he put me in touch with Bloomsbury Flowers, where I started a 3 month work experience placement. I absolutely loved working there. It really helped that I have always had a keen interest in plants and flowers and an artistic eye that I never had a chance to utilise. I haven’t had any formal training, but I picked up the basics very quickly and soon after starting, Mark and Stephen (the Bloomsbury Boys) gave me a full-time job.

One of my main responsibilities was managing The Soho Hotel contract, which at the time was the most fashionable hotel in London. This was an invaluable experience, as I was given a lot of creative freedom on a high profile client. I worked at Bloomsbury Flowers for a year after that, before setting up SuperNature Flowers with my first hotel contract. I’m very fortunate that the business has grown organically by word of mouth.

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When did you start your business and where are you based?

In 2007. We’re based in Oval, SW8, London. Very handy for the Flower Market!

What kind of floristry services do you offer?

90% of our work is contract floristry. Our main clients are hotels, shops and restaurants. We also provide wedding and event flowers.

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Where do you get inspiration for your floral designs?

There are a number of factors that influence our floral designs. Obviously, whatever is in season is very important. For our contracts, I can only use flowers that are guaranteed to last a full week. The flowers have to be in keeping with the client’s brand. Hotels and shops, in particular, have certain styles and types of flowers they prefer. I have my own likes and dislikes too.

I also like to see what other florists are doing…not to copy someone else’s work, but I would take certain elements and mix it with my own ideas to give the design a new twist. Mark is an amazingly talented florist and his work has been very influential. New ideas also evolve accidently out of problem solving. i.e. how to make certain flowers last longer by doing x, y and z. Before you realise it, you’ve created a new look.

The choice of vase or container is also important. Finding unique vases that no one else has is quite a challenge. I love reading fashion, architecture, interior design and gardening magazines. It’s important to know what’s new and current in these areas.

How would you describe your style?

It really depends on the client, so our style is a mixture of traditional and modern. I enjoy being creative, but at the same time, I prefer to keep designs as simple as possible. I’m not keen on fussy or overdesigned flowers.

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What are your plans for the remainder of 2014?

Well, the wedding season has started and soon we’ll be planning our Christmas installations! As we’ve taken on a quite a lot of extra work recently, we’ll be expanding and hope to take on more staff. I’m probably one of the few florists that doesn’t tweet. But I’m planning on setting up an account after one of my photos was recently tweeted by a client during British Flowers Week and I got a phone call 10 minutes later from someone who saw it hash-tagged. I was impressed!

What is your favourite flower?

I don’t have one single favourite as it changes with the seasons. I love peonies, eremurus and hydrangeas during the summer months. I also love hellebores. Unfortunately, we don’t get to use them very often, but now and again I treat myself to a bunch and take them home. Roses and orchids are favourites all year round.

Thank you so much to Derek for all his help in compiling today’s blog post. Do pop over to the SuperNature Flowers website to see more of his stunning designs!

Social Media

To keep up-to-date with Derek’s news, here’s where you can find him on social media:

Facebook: SuperNature Flowers
Twitter: SuperNature Flowers
Instagram: SuperNature Flowers

(Images: Derek Isaac / SuperNature Flowers )

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0Wedding Magazine Blog Awards…Flowerona has been short-listed for Best Flowers Blog!

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I have some VERY exciting news! Flowerona has been short-listed for ‘Best Flowers Blog‘ in the Wedding Magazine Blog Awards! Thank you so much to everyone who nominated me.

I now have a favour to ask…I would be very grateful if you would vote for me. It’ll only take a few seconds and it would mean so much to me. Simply click here to vote.

By voting, you could win a pair of golden tickets to the awards ceremony at The Savoy on Friday, 10th October! (You can even vote once a day.)

Voting closes on Monday, 1st September and the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony.

Thank you SO much!

P.S. Here’s a link to last year’s winners.

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7Social Media for Florists workshop – London, 1st July 2014 : Part 1 – Content

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July 1st was a very special day for me, one which I’ll always have fond memories of…our inaugural Social Media for Florists workshop in London! The weeks upon weeks of planning all came together and my co-host Fiona Humberstone and I were absolutely thrilled with how it went and the wonderful feedback from all the attendees.

This is the first of three blog posts about the event, featuring beautiful photographs by the talented Katie Spicer. Before I carry on though, I’d just like to say a huge thank you to some of our very generous sponsors…Anthropologie for the stunning crockery and glassware, Graeme Diplock of Zest Flowers at New Covent Garden Flower Market for the gorgeous flowers and Bluebellgray for sponsoring our styling competition.

Now, onto the day itself…our venue was the fabulous Brixton east, a 19th century warehouse.

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On arrival, we greeted the delegates, who’d travelled from all over the UK, with tea and coffee, before they started to get to know each other in the downstairs room. It was so lovely to meet up with familiar faces, plus get to know people who I’d connected with online.

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At 9.45am, everyone went upstairs to the ‘classroom’, where they were presented with their goody bag, literally bursting full of floral-inspired delights from our wonderful sponsors… Cutture, Designers Guild, Emma Ball, Illumens, Jane Means, LSA International, Original Beans, Rosehip UK and Serax. (I’ll be sharing more details in a forthcoming post!)

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Fiona and I had created special hand-outs for everyone including a set of ‘Social Media Explained’ cards, a worksheet to document actions, plus details of all the attendees and sponsors.

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The room upstairs, with its rustic feel and garlands of hanging lights really was the deciding factor for me when booking the venue. Isn’t it just wonderful?

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After introductions, Fiona ran the first session on finding your compelling brand voice and style.

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And to help the delegates focus on what makes their floristry business distinctive, we asked them to create a mood board. They’d brought along images and objects that they felt represented their business. For example, tear sheets from magazines, images from Pinterest and their own marketing literature.  Plus physical objects, such as ribbon and fabric. Here they are in action…

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Having completed their mood boards, the aim was for the delegates to be able to use them to pinpoint exactly how they should portray themselves on social media. It was then time for delicious elevenses by chef Maddie Hatton. Recharged and refreshed, I then talked about Facebook, followed by Twitter.  Using PowerPoint slides, I explained what to use each platform for and showed examples of content that works well. Questions were asked by the delegates throughout the morning, but just prior to lunch, we also held an informal Q&A. Then it was time for food…and oh my, weren’t we all in for a treat! (Look out for my forthcoming post for details.)

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Fiona started the afternoon session with Instagram. We asked the delegates to style and create an image using flowers, foliage and props. And there was a prize for the best one! I loved this design…

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And this is Chikae from Okishima & Simmonds styling her winning photograph, which you can see here.

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Many congratulations to Chikae (left), who was presented with the prize by Wendy (right) from Bluebellgray! A gorgeous limited edition Bluebellgray Anniversary Butterfly cushion.

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Pinterest and blogging were then covered in detail, before we asked the attendees to put pen to paper for the last time, to set clear objectives for the coming weeks and months.

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And to finish off the day, there was summer cocktail-making downstairs, with a final chance to chat with everyone, before we all made our way home. What a truly amazing day it was! Thank you so much to all the delegates for coming. We look forward to watching your social media journey! Here are just a few of their comments on Twitter:

Every aspect was perfection #socialforflorists day – thank you @Flowerona and @fionahumberston - Simon Lycett

Many thanks @Flowerona & @fionahumberston for a truly inspirational day #SocialForFlorists. You must have worked very hard. Learnt lots! – Sarah, Simply by Arrangement

@flowerona @fionahumberston Thank you so much. Feeling educated, inspired and well fed!… – Katie at Mary Jane Vaughan

Super day at #socialforflorists thank you @Flowerona @fionahumberston. So lovely to meet everyone, gorge venue and wow the goody bag! – Marianne at Sweet Pea Flowers

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I’d like to thank my co-host Fiona. I had such a wonderful time working with her, not only when putting together and preparing for the workshop (which involved lots of late night Skype calls and mountains of emails!), but also on the day. I love how we complement each other…her creative attention-to-detail and boundless positive energy with my logical attention-to-detail and background in training. Last, but not least, both Fiona and I can’t thank Katie, our photographer, enough. Not only for taking such amazing photographs, but also for all her help in setting up the venue the day before and for assisting on the day.

***Hot off the Press! Date for next Social Media for Florists workshop!***

Since the workshop, I’ve had lots of people contacting me asking when the next one will be taking place. So, I’m thrilled to let you know that Fiona and I can confirm that we will be running the second Social Media for Florists workshop in London at Brixton east on Wednesday, 1st October. Places will be strictly limited to 22 delegates. So, if you’d like to book your place, simply click on the Buy Now button below.

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Look out for the next two blog posts about this month’s workshop, which I’m planning on featuring later this week!

P.S. Here’s a link to Fiona’s write-up of the day.

(Images : Katie Spicer Photography)

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2Time to reflect by the sea…Salcombe in South Devon

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Hello! Long time, no ‘speak’! Thank you very much for all your messages…and sorry that I wasn’t able to schedule blog posts before I went away, like I normally do. I’ve been taking some time off to reflect and recharge…a lovely week’s holiday in Devon with friends, followed by family time to celebrate two special birthdays.

I thought I’d share with you some photos of my time away (all taken on my iPhone), including some of flowers, of course! When you scroll down to the bottom of the blog post, you’ll see details about each of the images. But, before you do, I’d just like to share some news with you…some decisions that I’ve made further to my recent Flowerona Survey, our Social Media for Florists workshop (where I learnt lots too!) and my chance to take time out and really reflect on the best way to move forward with my blog Flowerona.

From this week, there will be a few changes. I’ll be writing blog posts every Wedding Wednesday, Florist Friday and on Sundays, Flowerona Links. However for the other days of the week, I’ll only be writing posts when I’m truly inspired. Some weeks there will be new posts every day, but there will also be weeks when there may just be three posts. Now, on to my holiday snaps….!

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1. Pale pink hydrangeas by Victoria Quay in Salcombe.
2. Love the colourful sails in the Merlin Rocket race in the estuary.
3. A wonderful walk around Snapes Point, with a view of Salcombe.
4. Walls covered in Mexican daisies, also known as Erigeron karvinskianus.
5. Looking out towards The Bar in Salcombe.
6. The evening sun over Mill Bay Beach in East Portlemouth.
7. Highly recommend lunch at The Crabshell Inn in Kingsbridge.
8. Yet more beautiful pink hydrangeas. There were blue ones too!
9. Last evening on holiday & looking forward to visiting the Island Street Bar & Grill.

Well, that’s what I’ve been up whilst I’ve been away. I’ve several hundred emails to deal with today and I can’t wait to download Katie Spicer‘s photos from our Social Media for Florists workshop, which I’ll be featuring on Flowerona tomorrow!

(Images : 1-8 – Rona Wheeldon for Flowerona, 9 – Millie Rose)

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