A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting florist Lindsey Kitchin of The White Horse Flower Company at one of Fiona Humberstone’s workshops. I’ve long admired Lindsey’s beautiful pictures on her Instagram account and today I’m thrilled, as part of my Florist Friday series, to feature an interview with the lady herself.
Could you tell us what prompted you to become a florist?
I used to be a community midwife at King’s College Hospital before taking a career break. It was during this time that I decided it was the perfect opportunity to do something completely different. I’ve always been quite creative. I loved art at school and so floristry was in some ways a natural change of direction. An introduction through a friend gave me the opportunity to work for event florist Louise McGregor. She taught me everything on the job. I absorbed every last detail from planning and arranging, to the setting up. She always had the most wonderful clients and dazzling events to flower up and her flowers were always extravagant and beautiful. From the very first day, I knew that this was what I wanted to do and it’s fair to say I’ve never looked back. I was totally hooked…the rest, as they say, is history!
Could you tell us how your floristry career has progressed?
I began with just a handful of commissions around 2002 and steadily increased my workload as I honed my skills. This year, I will arrange well over seventy weddings as well as my non-wedding work. My business has grown steadily around my family commitments and the eldest is now at university. Over the last five years or so, The White Horse Flower Company seems to have really take off beyond all expectations. Apart from busy weekends when I enlist the help of some amazing florist friends, I remain an independent…just me arranging and delivering the flowers, meeting with clients, answering the emails and making the tea. I absolutely love my job. Every day I learn something new and am happy to share this enthusiasm through teaching and writing about what I do.
When did you start your business and where are you based?
The White Horse Flower Company is based in Newbury, Berkshire but I do travel around for work. I started in 2002, back then I had small children and school runs to work around, but I’ve only ever worked from home and for many years from the garage. Poorly lit, freezing cold in winter and generally far from ideal, nowadays I’ve a lovely light and airy studio, properly kitted out. Meetings are always very relaxed and homely as we can wander from the sitting room to my office or studio to discuss and plan the flowers at leisure.
What kind of floristry services do you offer there?
I’m a wedding florist first and foremost. This is what most of my clients know me for, although I do all manner of other flowers besides. I love the variety an all-round florist presents me with. I think my midwifery background has also had a positive effect on what I do as I’ve a very relaxed approach, even when I’m flat out and up against it time wise. I’m calm and laid back. Nothing really stresses me, not after you’ve delivered lots of babies into the world like I used to!
Where do you get inspiration for your floral designs?
My starting point is always the event itself…a theme, a colour or a look will often be my starting point. There will always be a strong seasonal element to my arrangements. I go to the market every week to buy my flowers and am constantly on the lookout for new varieties and colours. My mind is often overflowing with ideas after this. I’m a bit of a chameleon in that I constantly change my mind set to suit the occasion I working on.
How would you describe your style?
I’m a modern day Constance Spry! Intuitively I lean towards the more natural and a relaxed style, as this is how I was taught. My work tends to have a degree of luxury and opulence and I never skimp. I love bold colours and often incorporate lots of textures into my designs. That said, I do like quirky details and I can turn my hand to most styles. I think versatility is important as florist. Fashions are constantly evolving, so I’m quite eclectic in my taste and because of this my enthusiasm is constantly being renewed.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2014 & 2015?
I’ve just a few more weddings to work on, but December is mainly all about Christmas and my wreath workshops. And there’s a bit of house styling too. I’ve clients who invite me each year to make their houses look wonderfully festive for parties and entertaining. I really enjoy these as I’m always looking to do something different. The wreath classes are the mainstay of my December though and through these, I raise money for a children’s charity. Come Christmas Eve, I will be ready to put my feet up for a few weeks off! 2015 is looking really exciting. The diary is full with lots of weddings all the way through to 2016. It really is a huge privilege to be given a creative hand in flowering up some of the best days in other people’s lives.
What is your favourite flower?
I love flowers which have a finite season. You see them for a few weeks or months and then they’re gone for another year. Hellebores and anemones are absolute favourites. I never miss an opportunity to use them in my work. But ultimately a bucket of sweet peas, picked from the garden have to be my favourite…pretty, feminine, in a myriad of colours and smelling divine.
Thank you so much to Lindsey for all her help in compiling today’s blog post. If you’d like to seem more of her stunning floral designs, do visit The White Horse Flower Company website. You may also like to watch this wonderful video where you can ‘meet’ Lindsey and hear her being interviewed about her work.
To keep up-to-date with Lindsey’s news, here’s where you can find her on social media:
(Images : Lindsey Kitchin/The White Horse Flower Company)