I’m sat on a plane returning from a lovely holiday, my mind has wandered back in time to 2013 when I started dipping my toes into wedding floristry. A decision I have never looked back on at all. Having my own business has meant flexibility, opportunities, confidence and many new friends. People often ask me how I started my business so here we go...
It’s December 2013 and I am driving home from my last day teaching my gorgeous class of 4 and 5 year olds. I absolutely loved my job and adored making a difference to the children and their families for 15 years. However I also had my own family that I wanted to fully enjoy before my boys started school. I felt nervous but excited on that drive home with a tear in my eye but knew it was the right thing. Wahooo!
I loved being at home bringing my children up but I needed a focus. I had studied creative arts and textile design at University so all my creative cravings came back. I think my curiosity in flowers began when I put together a few posies for a family funeral. I had never looked at flowers so closely and soon realised what a fabulous medium they are to work with.
I certainly didn’t follow the usual route into wedding floristry, who says there has to be one path for everyone?! I bought every book possible and immersed myself into flowers and spent hundreds of hours practising and refining skills. If you were to ask my husband he would say I was obsessed but I prefer dedicated and passionate to learn new skills.
Skip a couple of months and I was looking for one day courses in floristry to see if I was any good and if it was worth pursuing. I attended a one day bridal bouquet class at ‘Flowers by Passion’ in Bath. That was it... I was hooked. I searched for other courses and then discovered Sabine Darrall, florist extraordinaire! As soon as I saw her work and spoke to her I knew I needed to learn from her. I can truly say I have not seen anything that compares to the detail, intricacy and design in Sabine’s floristry work. Very much an inspiration. Hooray, a one day bridal flowers course booked!
I was slightly terrified the day of the course, I had no floristry qualification, no business but I did have a creative eye and bags of determination and passion for learning. I just went for it and it seemed to work as I had a fantastic day. Sabine was amazingly patient and taught me how to create a bridal bouquet, buttonhole and heart wreath. I was in awe and so excited! By the end of the next day I had booked onto another course with Sabine, then another and another...
I must have been doing something right as Sabine asked if I would like to help her out on a couple of her weddings. Oh my god... I couldn’t believe it! This amazing florist who works on beautiful weddings and that I hugely admired had just asked me to help her... it sounds silly but I had no words!
So I began gaining work experience with Sabine which then turned into paid work. I was totally hooked and there was no going back. By this time I had gained some other incredibly valuable work experience with two other talented florists the very lovely Jodie from Acacia in Malmesbury who I really admire. Also Jude from Judith Searles who was the first person to offer me guidence. I can’t thank these people enough for giving me experience and confidence; all very generous and inspirational people.
Sabine then started running several hugely popular day and residential courses. I have helped out with my trusty broom on many of these always learning and picking up ideas. Also being exhausted and sneaking the odd gin and tonic at the bar!
All the encouragement, trust and friendship from Sabine has undoubtedly helped me get to the point today where I can proudly introduce myself as ‘Caroline, owner of Foxy Buds Floral Design’!
I remember back in 2014 I decided I would give myself two years to get training and all the skills I needed to confidently put myself forward as a wedding florist. I always knew it would happen but there were times I remember saying to Sabine ‘How will I ever get my first client?’ but I did and here I am now almost booked up for Summer 2019.
It started with jam jars, selling to mums at the school gate and through a lot of determination, passion, confidence and support from family and friends I find myself now providing luxury wedding flowers for many wonderful clients across the South West UK. If you would like to talk wedding flowers please get in touch here!
Please do take a look at Sabine’s courses, they are excellent!
All photos by Sabine Darrall