I hope you had a lovely weekend…
This week, I’m starting off with an interview with Christopher Harrap, Creative Director of Boutonniere of London.
His company make exquisite porcelain boutonnieres.
I’ve never seen anything like them before and thought that you may like to read about this fabulous floral find, which was kindly brought to my attention by florist Karen Woolven.
Over to Chris…
When did you start Boutonniere of London and where are you based?
Boutonniere of London was launched earlier this year and we’re based in East London, in an amazing shared creative office near Broadway Market in Hackney.
It’s fantastic. There are lots of different early stage businesses and we collaborate a great deal.
I also spend some of my time working from a cottage in Wensleydale in North Yorkshire, which is one of my favourite places in the world and somewhere I get a great deal of ideas and inspiration from.
Who are the people behind the company?
I set up the business myself and currently it consists of me, my mum Glenys (a tremendously capable lady who’s frustrated with retirement!) and my good friend Nik Jackson, who is a whizz on social media, which helps me to concentrate on ‘doing’ while he ‘talks’ online.
It’s so important to engage with people who like your products in the social media environment. So Nik’s work on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest is invaluable.
At the moment, we’re also in the process of appointing a PR consultant to drive things forward in the wedding industry, which is a solid market for the product given the interest in buying sets for groomsmen, which we can also engrave with a personalised message.
Where did the idea of creating porcelain boutonnieres come from?
I used to be a Chartered Surveyor, but I’ve always had a passion for design and craftsmanship.
So when I moved to London to work for a firm in the City and was advising a client on Savile Row, it was fascinating to spend time around all these beautiful suits, watching the cutters plying their trade through the basement windows of each of the tailors.
Their skill and attention to detail is phenomenal, but I always saw (and still do see) so many suits and jackets with buttonholes on the lapel, where nobody ever wears anything in them. So I decided to design an accessory for this purpose.
The perceived etiquette is that a flower is for weddings or very formal occasions only, when in fact historically this is not the case at all.
We’re trying to open peoples’ minds to the buttonhole being something which is just as valid an accessory for gents as a silk handkerchief or pocket square, particularly with ties being worn less frequently these days.
The pinnacle is to wear a real fresh flower and I would love people to do this day-to-day when they’re so inclined. But for various practical reasons, this is unlikely to happen.
Once we had established that our product needed to be reusable, I wanted to work with the most beautiful, finely detailed materials to recreate certain flowers that I could be proud of – capodimonte porcelain from Italy very much fits that bill.
Could you tell us about your collection?
We have two collections at present – 925 Sterling Silver and Centenary Stainless Steel.
Each of the collections can be bought with one of three flowers – an ivory matt camellia, an ivory glazed camellia and also a slightly smaller pink rose.
The porcelain flowers are handmade to our bespoke design in Vicenza in Italy and everything else is made in Sheffield.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2013 and 2014?
We’ve enjoyed significant interest in the press and the style/wedding industries since launching. And since featuring in the Metro newspaper nationally a few weeks ago, have had various interesting enquiries that we’re working to fulfil.
One is a certain type of rose for a major sports team. And the one which I’m really excited about is a stunning solid silver camellia (recreated from a mould of an antique ivory piece that I bought years ago), which followed a request from a high-end London retailer.
My other passion is Harris Tweed from the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland…it’s an extraordinary industry and cloth…so I’m working on a collection of flowers made from that, for a collaboration with a well-known organisation.
The next year or two we will be continuing to work hard and grow the business by building a wider product range, building the team and exploring international markets.
Thank you very much to Chris for all his help in compiling today’s blog post.
I think his boutonnieres are wonderful and that they’d also make the perfect birthday or Christmas present!
Social Media Links
To keep up-to-date with news from Boutonniere of London, here’s where you can find them on social media:
(Images : Boutonniere of London)