When Gabriella decided to sign up to a floristry course on a whim, she did not realise that it would lead to a successful business. “I wanted to do something creative, which was very different to my usual working environment. When I did the course, something just clicked”.
She decided to pursue this new found interest,and enrolled on the ‘Classic Flower Design Diploma’ at The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers. In order to do this, she had to reduce her hours at her sales and marketing job, so that she could study for two days a week. “It was very demanding both physically and mentally having to juggle work and study, but it was also very exciting”. As a way to get feedback on some of the work she was creating, she posted pictures on Facebook, and soon gained interest with people approaching her to make arrangements for them. “It all started through word of mouth and recommendations. I didn’t intend to launch my business whilst still working and studying, but it all developed organically and I didn’t want to turn clients away.”
Since finishing her course in 2016, her business has been growing steadily, and some of her arrangements have even been featured in national bridal magazines. She describes her style as “very natural”, and she likes to use lots of foliage within her arrangements. “Using foliage, gives my work that slightly looser, just picked from the English country garden look. I also love mixing classic well known flowers with more seasonal, wild flowers and grasses.”
Gabriella, who is based in Maida Vale, works in venues across London and the surrounding areas, and believes it is essential to meet with each customer for an initial consultation either at their venue or home. “It is important to me to get to know my clients, and understand their needs. I love being able to help people build on their own ideas and ensure they really get the look they have in mind. After the first consultation, I create a mood board and proposal with suggestions, themes and styles that we can then discuss. Although her product is high end, Gabriella is always open to making suggestions of what can be achieved by clients on various budgets.
Before their initial meeting, Gabriella encourages clients to gather ideas themselves. “It is always good to have a starting point, even if it is just a colour, a shape or a theme, to work with. Knowing what you don’t like is also useful. Looking at Pinterest or Instagram can also help inspire you and help you visualise what things you may like or dislike. She also recommends that all her customers get several different quotes, as this gives them a better idea of overall costs.
Being an event florist, means the work she is involved in varies from charity galas to private functions, bar/batmitzvahs to dressing chuppahs and creating bridal bouquets. She says “this is why I love my job. Every event is different and is a new challenge.” As an Orthodox woman, she works very much within the Jewish community, and recognises the great potential that can be tapped into within this environment. “Anyone starting a business is very lucky to have a launch pad within the Jewish community, and for me having that support and network has really helped me”. She has also had the benefit of learning about work ethic from her family. “My family has been in the jewellery business for 7 generations and they all work really hard. It is because of them that I have always wanted to run my own business and create something in my name”.
For anyone who might also be looking to set up their own business and move into a more creative industry, Gabriella recommends getting work experience before giving up your current job completely. “To be able to develop creatively takes a lot of trial and error before you get things right, I’ve realised that for me, taking photos is a really important learning tool. I can post photos on social media and other sites to get feedback from people, but the pictures also serve as a visual reminder of my work for future reference.
Every arrangement Gabriella makes, also includes after-care instructions to ensure that flowers last as long as possible. It is this attention to detail and personal touch that she prides herself on. “I always give very specific instructions to clients about how to look after flowers. My product is not cheap, so I want my clients to get the most out of the flowers they have paid for”.
As well as her floral event service, Gabriella also runs floral workshops, which can be adapted to the needs of different audiences, from charities to hen parties. The sessions start from £45 per person, and last up to 2 hrs. “I really enjoy running the workshops, and being able to share my knowledge. The people who attend find it really relaxing and for many it is an opportunity to try something creative and new”.
For Gabriella, the most rewarding part of her job is working closely with her clients to deliver their perfect flowers. “The look on people’s faces when they see their flowers for the first time is an amazing feeling and getting good feedback from them makes it all worthwhile”
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