Today, as part of my Florist Friday blog post series, I’m delighted to feature an interview with Rachel Husband of The Rose Shed. I first met Rachel when she came to our Social Media for Florists workshop last October and since then have avidly read her blog, often featuring her posts in my Flowerona Links series on a Sunday.
Could you tell us what prompted you to become a florist?
I got my first job in a florist at 13 as a Saturday girl and quickly became very competent in floor sweeping, bucket bleaching and tea making! Although the florist was more of an old-fashioned, traditional one, my love of flowers began here. Opening the shop door in the morning to the smell of lilies and conditioning hundreds of chrysanthemums are memories firmly stuck in my mind. And I soon learnt how to make bouquets and enjoyed spending time with customers.
I carried on working at various florists through school and college, gradually picking up lots of experience along the way from wedding work to the business side of floristry, and spending many a late night helping out at busy times. Deep down, I thought I’d always wanted to open my own florist. However, I felt I should carry on with my education. When I skipped college once to help work at the shop over Valentine’s, I always remember my psychology teacher saying to me angrily when she asked where I had been, ‘Well do you want to be a florist?’ and I kind of thought… yes I do!
Could you tell us how your floristry career has progressed?
After working full-time as a florist for a few years, I got a new job working for a design and manufacturing company who made artificial flower arrangements and home interiors for companies such as Next, Laura Ashley and BHS. I stayed here for a few years working as a designer, which gave me a great insight into the business aspect of large companies, costings, every day running of the business and dealing with big clients. It was a lovely change to work Monday – Friday too, but I was desperately missing the fresh flowers!
I then left Somerset and moved to Bristol to be with my boyfriend and back again with flowers in a beautiful shop in Clifton Village, where I spent the next few years working in a very busy shop focusing on contract work, shop bouquets, funeral work and wedding work. After two years there, I felt it was the right time to open my own business and begin to work for myself, a decision I really haven’t looked back on!
When did you start your business and where are you based?
I started my business The Rose Shed in May 2012 and I’m based in Bristol supplying wedding flowers across Bristol, Bath, the Cotswolds and Somerset. I work out of my workshop, which is a just a little stroll to the end of my garden!
What kind of floristry services do you offer there?
I specialise in wedding flowers as I love the process of meeting couples and working with them to create a beautiful vision for their big day. I know I’m biased, but I do believe flowers can add so much beauty to a wedding and set the scene for the whole feel of the day. I also love how my clients are always happy as they’re talking about their wedding day!
The variety of wedding work is also great. One week you could be dressing a country garden marquee, and the next weekend a lovely city centre hotel! I also provide bouquets across the busy occasions such as Christmas, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day, and event and corporate flowers throughout the local area.
Where do you get inspiration for your floral designs?
I get inspiration from all over the place, and with the way social media has taken off over the last few years, it’s easy to be inspired by just popping onto Instagram for five minutes! I like to think that the flowers themselves inspire me. I’m not into fussy floristry and do think flowers are so beautiful in their own right. You just need to arrange them in a natural looking way with lots of other complementing components that show them off to their best!
I love being outdoors and when not in the workshop can be found out walking the dog in the countryside. So nature itself is a big inspiration to me. When the spring blossom starts growing or you see a woodland packed full of moss and ferns, it’s easy to be inspired by our surrounding environment.
How would you describe your style?
I like to think my style is natural, loose yet elegant, with the simple emphasis on the flowers and foliage themselves. I always work with seasonal blooms, and love how in floristry the content of your work is constantly changing and defined by the seasons. The flowers I use are constantly evolving, as a new variety arrives in season, others fade out until the following year. You’re never bored as a florist and this keeps things fresh for me and my clients!
What are your plans for 2015?
I have another busy year working on beautiful weddings, and am continuing to focus my business on providing wedding flowers. However, I have started to look into how I can grow other aspects of my business by branching out into running workshops. I have my first workshop coming up where I’m teaching a group how to make a spring hand-tied and spring door wreath. I think more people are becoming interested in floristry and want to have a go at making something for themselves in a fun environment with their friends!
I’m also giving myself the challenge to grow some flowers. I have huge respect to all the flower growers out there! Last year I grew sweet peas and I surprised myself with how well they did, churning out flowers which are perfect to use in summer weddings, or to even fill a vase for my kitchen table! The slugs got to my ammi and cornflowers. So I soon learnt quickly, growing flowers can turn from a satisfying experience into a disheartening one!
What is your favourite flower?
I would definitely say I’m a fickle florist because my favourite flower certainly changes alongside the seasons. One of my favourites are parrot tulips because when I came across these for the first time they really opened my eyes, to the amazing variety of flowers out there. Ranunculus and hellebores are firm favourites for spring, and then of course you have peonies and sweet peas! O’Hara roses I adore for the scent and then moving into late summer/autumn dahlias and zinnias are a massive favourite… see, I told you I was fickle!
Thank you so much to Rachel for all her help in compiling today’s blog post. If you’d like to see more of her gorgeous designs, do pop over to The Rose Shed website. Social media wise, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
*Little Note : I’m taking some (much-needed) time off from today, so there won’t be any Flowerona blog posts until next Friday, when I’ll be back…fully-energised!