What an incredible week it’s been! On Wednesday, we held our very first Branding for Florists workshop and we were blown away by the wonderful feedback from the delegates! Thank you so much to everyone who attended. I’ll be featuring footage in my Flowerona Reflects video on Saturday and photos shortly.
Back to today, Florist Friday, and I’m delighted to feature an interview with Sarah Richardson of Leafy Couture.
Could you tell us what prompted you to become a florist?
I was looking for a creative outlet after studying Sociology at Newcastle University. I grew up in a very creative household, tried to rebel but always enjoyed creating things and flowers, generally make people happy. So it seemed a good way to go. One day, someone bought me a huge bunch of flowers after starting a temp job in a bank. I was more excited about the flowers, so started researching courses that evening and I’ve never regretted it. Every day is something new. Every wedding and client brings something different.
How has your floristry career progressed?
I worked in a few local shops whilst training, then left to specialise in wedding flowers. I thrive on the last minute, the crazy emotion and the beautiful details of weddings! Who needs sleep!? As the business was growing, I worked in part-time jobs but then we got too busy. I’ve worked on intimate weddings for twenty in Michelin restaurants to fifty table marquee weddings. I’ve taught flower crown classes for hen do’s, DIY classes for brides and delivered flowers in every season to incredible brides. Last year, we provided the flowers for the start of the Tour de France at Harewood House and we were nominated for the Wedding Magazine Blog Awards. Our work is featured in the national wedding press and on blogs. We’re now developing the mentoring and teaching side of the business. We’ve aligned ourselves with some of the best wedding suppliers in the industry. So we’re working on some truly wonderful weddings this year.
When did you start your business and where are you based?
I started Leafy Couture 8 years ago. We started in my mum’s basement. Then moved to a workshop in an old mill. I bought a huge Victorian house in West Yorkshire and now have the whole bottom floor of my house. The time has flown by in a whirl of wedding seasons and I must get round to painting the workshop!
What kind of floristry services do you offer?
We offer whole wedding styling, gift bouquets, event and corporate flowers and our flower school. We’re also developing our flower school to involve floristry training courses too. Our bespoke nature means that every event is totally different. So we get super excited over ultra modern as we do a huge glamorous event. We have a huge range of beautiful props, vases and vintage treasures which we’ve found over the years to add more to any occasion.
Where do you get inspiration for your floral designs?
Inspiration comes from nature, art and the flowers themselves. We’re big fans of colour and so look to interior trends to see what looks good together. I adore magazines such as Elle Decoration and Living Etc for colour and texture. Mother nature is incredible and so often inspiration comes from just the flowers. Every season brings with it new inspiration and also the development of new products keeps things exciting. For example, I adore the cut clematis that is now available. My parents are art teachers and so I’ve always been surrounded by colours and textures and beautiful textiles growing up. My mum collects beautiful fabric samples and stunning ceramics that have always inspired me. I’ve taken the batten on this and now love antiques and vintage fayres to find beautiful one-off pieces, especially 1920’s hand-painted china. I also get inspired by florists from all over the world. It’s great to see how people put different flowers together. I’m a huge fan of Paula Pryke and the late Jane Packer. They are my flower heroes and when I was starting out, they just captured my imagination.
How would you describe your style?
I guess you would say romantic, seasonal, textured and with a big love of colour. I adore using quite a monochromatic scheme but then adding a strong pop to give it a wow.
What are your plans for 2015?
We have some gorgeous exciting weddings coming up in marquees and grand houses all over Yorkshire. We’ve launched our mentoring service, so we’re looking forward to helping florists develop and also a few training courses for florists and DIY brides. I’ve also launched a YouTube channel with tutorials. And I have a few inspiration trips planned to London to go to the V & A and wander around and some holiday time to Texas where my brother lives. I’m hoping to meet up with a few wedding suppliers there.
What is your favourite flower?
I adore anything seasonal and en masse. My love affair with ranunculus will never end. You just need to look at my Instagram account to see that! White freesias and muscari for the scent, peonies for the texture and hydrangeas for volume. Sweet peas.. oh my the list is endless. Some times foliage is just gorgeous, like eucalyptus.
Thank you so much to Sarah for all her help in compiling today’s blog post. If you’d like to see more of her beautiful designs, do pop over to the Leafy Couture website. Social media wise, you can find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.