For my Florist Friday blog post series this week, I’m delighted to feature an interview with Joanna Carter of Joanna Carter Flowers.
Could you tell us what prompted you to become a florist?
I used to work in HR and was struggling to combine my career with 2 small children.
So, I decided to start my own business so that I had more control over the hours I worked. (Ha-ha…not sure that worked!!)
I love flowers and cooking but decided to give training as a florist a go! I was instantly smitten.
Could you tell us how your floristry career has progressed?
I approached a local shop for a part-time job and applied to the local Further Education College to do an NVQ Level 2 part-time.
The balance of the two was brilliant as I had tuition and hands-on experience.
Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas in a busy flower shop were the best possible training. 25 hand-tied bouquets in a morning quickly gets you up to speed!!
When did you start your business and where are you based?
My shop experience made me feel that brides wanted more attention and time than a busy shop environment could give them. So I decided to start a business that just did weddings and events.
I knew that an hour or two on a one-to-one basis looking at photos /magazines etc. really helps a bride build up ideas of the look and feel for her day and starts the really important process of partnership between me and her.
Most brides comment that by the time their wedding day approaches, they feel we know them and their plans for their day so well that they feel totally relaxed about the flowers.
That’s really my goal for each client. I set up in 2005 and have grown since then from 3 weddings in my first year to over 80 each year now.
We’re based in South Oxfordshire and cover Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
We don’t have a shop, just a workshop, which is fine for our events-based approach.
What kind of floristry services do you offer?
We focus entirely on weddings, corporate dinners and parties. Very occasionally, an existing client will ask us to do a special one-off event like a funeral or even a spectacular bouquet too, but this isn’t really our core business.
We’re a core team of 5 with extra help at busy times. My team are amazing, enthusiastic, dedicated and talented. I’m lucky to have them.
Where do you get inspiration for your floral designs?
I also look at all the bridal magazines to see the current dress fashions, as I think these influence flower fashions.
The best ideas sometimes come by accident. I was once at the wholesalers and had too many buckets to fit in the boot to come home and combined two buckets of flowers. When I looked at the accidental mix I had just made it was lovely and a new bouquet was born!!
Also sometimes I see something at the wholesalers, fall in love with it and am then determined to find a wedding where I know it will look stunning.
Recent discoveries include the new Black Jewel lisianthus which is a stunning dark midnight shade of burgundy and I adore it. It will feature in several weddings next summer!
How would you describe your style?
Our strap line for the business is ‘stylish, timeless, desirable’ which really means flowers that are modern classics, elegant and pretty.
We’re based relatively rurally so most venues are older stately homes, barns, University college buildings or marquees.
Our flowers need to suit those environments. So beads, coloured water and funky just doesn’t work.
Also, we want brides to love their wedding flowers on the day, but also to look back 10 years later and still love what they chose. Hence the timeless classic look.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2013/2014?
We’re planning several Christmas weddings full of candlelight, foliage like ivy and mistletoe, and roses. I love these weddings.
After that, it’s back to loads of appointments for next year’s weddings.
We’re already quite busy in July and August next year which is a real compliment.
(I’m also determined to fit in a holiday somewhere for a couple of weeks with my lovely children!)
What is your favourite flower?
Impossible to choose. In December, I fall in love with parrot tulips like ‘Rai’ or large bunches of white ranunculus.
Then in April and May, I love pale pink peonies and lily of the valley. I also adore the washed-out petrol blue hydrangea heads you see in autumn.
Basically, I love flowers!
Thank you so much to Joanna for all her help in compiling today’s blog post.
To see more of her beautiful floral designs, do pop over to her website.
Social Media Links
To keep up-to-date with Joanna’s news, here’s where you can find her on social media:
(Images : 1. & 3. The Bridal Photographer, 2. McKinley Rodgers Photography, 4. Neil Hanson Photography, 6. Stefan Zabel Photography, 7. Rachel Tweedale, 8. Catherine Mead, 9., 11. & 16. Kate Hopewell Smith, 10. Stephen Gormley Photography, 12. & 15. Barker Evans)