Today, as part of my Florist Friday blog post series, I’m delighted to feature an interview with London-based florist, Sarah Loughrey-Jennings of Hiding in the City Flowers.
Could you tell us what prompted you to become a florist?
To follow the stereotypical pathway of education was something that was laid out for me from an early age as I come from a family that did not have these opportunities when they were younger. I always enjoyed the sciences, so decided to study Pharmacology at university. Looking back, I think this was because I’m inquisitive in nature.
But after graduating, I found myself living in London, sitting behind a desk, not being creative and project managing for pharmaceutical companies. I had just ended a long term relationship and I realised that I was pretty lost and not leading the life that I had ever envisaged. I had a little small London garden and planted and sowed seeds and cultivated them to make them grow. I was fascinated and found peace out there.
I accidentally fell into floristry. I took myself off to study garden design but realised quite quickly that it wasn’t quite hitting the spot. The bit I liked was when the gardens were in bloom. I’m too impatient to wait for flowers to bed in and establish. I wanted to see my work at its best as soon as I’d laid my hands on the flowers. So I changed tack again and here’s where I’ve stayed at.
Could you tell us how your floristry career has progressed?
I’ve got braver. I buzz off doing really big projects now. There’s something about having an absolute fear and sickness in the pit of your stomach when you wake up before a big job that makes you perform to your best. I used to shy away from large scale designs but the statement installations are what I love completing. I have a wonderful network of family and friends who are ruthlessly honest but incredibly supportive and make me strive. Nothing comes to those that say ‘No’.
When did you start your business and where are you based?
I worked from my kitchen table for a couple of years and then moved into my studio space in April 2014. I was lucky enough to be based at the top of Brick Lane in Shoreditch for two years. I was really very privileged as my studio sat underneath my sister’s beautiful fabric shop (The London Fabric Shop). Hiding in the City has literally just got the keys to a new massive warehouse space in Hackney Marshes. Hiding now has 800 square foot AND natural sunlight. I can’t quite believe I have natural light after two years in our basement den!
What kind of floristry services do you offer?
Hiding in the City Flowers mainly specialise in event floristry. The focus is on weddings and event design and we work with some amazing creative production companies. We also sell bouquets online and provide contract flowers too.
Where do you get inspiration for your floral designs?
I get inspiration from a mixture of places really. I own a little dog (don’t all florists?) so he makes me go and take walks. This is so important as otherwise I think it’s too easy to be head down working all day. He plays, I walk and stare at trees and hedges and grasses. It’s definitely not that romantic though. The UK has so many exquisite florists and I clap my hands to every one of them as it’s such hard work and they’re relentless in their beautiful designs.
How would you describe your style?
I battle with this as I feel like I’m constantly evolving and you have to depending on your client. Currently, I would say I try and be earthy, but try to add a touch of personality into my designs.
What are your plans for 2016?
2016 sees me sorting out the new workspace. I wish I could attach a picture as it’d make you cry currently. BOXES ARE EVERYWHERE! Then, there are weddings, weddings, weddings !
What is your favourite flower?
I don’t think I can answer this, eeee it’s too hard…… blush anemones will always hold a special place in my heart because they were the focal flower in one of my first solo weddings that got featured in Hello! But, I honestly can find pure beauty in any flower you plonk in front of me, whether it be the colour or texture or smell. I used to hate gerberas, but did a job that the client insisted on using and I managed to find a variety that was like pure purple velvet so learnt to not snub a flower.
Thank you so much to Sarah for all her help in compiling today’s blog post. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading her story, as much as I have. If you’d like to see more of her beautiful designs, do pop over to the Hiding in the City Flowers website. Social media wise, she’s on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
P.S. If you’d like to see more of Sarah’s wedding flower designs, you may like to read this Flowerona blog post from Brides The Show.
(Images : Sarah Loughrey-Jennings & last 3 images by Rebecca Goddard Photography)