I’m delighted to feature an interview with London based florists Jess Martin (left) and Charlie Gozem (right) of One Flew Over.
Could you tell us what prompted you to become florists?
Charlie: I’d always wanted to have my own business or at least to work for myself. And then I sort of fell into flowers watching a florist friend in Australia. Inspired, when I returned to London I enrolled in a course and looked to get some experience. Jess and I have been friends since university, and she then enrolled on a course around her job. The two of us decided there was strength in numbers, or at least some laughs, and set up One Flew Over together.
Jess: I always knew I was happiest outside, all wrapped up and mucky. And I knew I liked to build and make things. By the time I was at uni, I realised that floristry ticked all those boxes and more, although it took a good few years and a number of other jobs before I took the plunge. Luckily, I had a pal there to do it with me!
Could you tell us how your floristry careers have progressed?
Charlie: We began doing weddings for friends in 2012, around our other jobs. We’d work in the early hours and evenings, and prep from home. We did some at cost and took photos, and went from there, bit by bit.
Jess: I think those first couple of years were incredibly valuable. Because we didn’t dive straight into the business, we had little risk. So we were able to really enjoy ourselves. It allowed us to work out what kind of business model was best for us and our profitability. For example, we decided early on not to take on deliveries on days we had no other jobs to keep our margins sustainable. Because the business didn’t need to support us financially at the beginning, we were able to make decisions that were based more on reason than desperation! We both went full-time flowers in July 2014, when One Flew Over was in good enough shape to support us and it has gained momentum since then.
When did you start your business and where are you based?
Jess: We joined forces in 2012 following the completion of our career courses but went full-time in 2014. We work out of a warehouse space in Peckham.
Charlie: We do all our prep in Peckham, but we do all our admin from home, which is a nice kind of separation. The warehouse is too cold and the tea facilities are much better at home!
What kind of floristry services do you offer?
Jess: We focus mainly on weddings and events, with a number of weekly contracts to offices and cafes which go out on a Monday morning.
Where do you get inspiration for your floral designs?
Charlie: We follow millions of Instagram accounts! We love flowery ones, foodie ones, lifestyle ones. For us, it’s all about following design and seeing how different industries use the seasons and art and the environment to make things. I think we inspire each other, too. It’s a joy to do something creative that you love with your best pal who can make you laugh when you’re not quite sure what you’re doing!
Jess: When it comes to weddings, the couple themselves provide much of the inspiration. Whether they’re reserved, elegant, vivacious – it’s about designing a scheme that suits them, and also the venue they’re getting married and having their reception in.
How would you describe your style?
Charlie: Loose, natural, sometimes mad! We try and offer flowers that still look like flowers. We’re not too fond of flowers forced together to become something they’re not. We love foliage, so we tend to use a lot when we can!
What are your favourite flowers?
Charlie: Dahlias, dahlias, dahlias!! To me, they’re the Tom Hardy of flowers. You’re never sure what mood they’ll be in or how long they’ll stick around. But they look so good! They’re totally worth the heartache.
Jess: Ranunculus for me! Some of the colours coming through are amazing and the way they open over time, revealing all their intricate petals is just something else.
Thank you so much to Jess and Charlie for all their help in compiling the blog post. If you’d like to see more of their beauiful floral designs, do pop over to the One Flew Over website. Social media wise, you’ll find them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.