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Meet Sam Raindle – Founder of Stock Florist

Stock Florist - Team Member

We know that Stock Florist wouldn’t be where it is today without the people that work with us. We’ve got such a wonderful and dedicated team who all bring such a range of talents to the table.

We know how great they are, but now we’d love to share (just a little bit) of them with you. Our new blog series will give you a glimpse behind the scenes at what makes our shop what is it.

Without further ado (or, ‘I do’ as might be more appropriate) let’s meet our co-founder, the fabulous Sam Raindle.

Hi Sam. Let’s jump straight into it; Have you always wanted to own a florist?
Oh absolutely, yes. My uncle worked at the Covent Garden Flower Market, so I’ve always been surrounded by flowers.

I love that you can create an arrangement for anything; there are no limits. That’s always something that inspired me as a little girl.

And why this particular shop? What was it that drew you to it?
It was a bit serendipitous really — we were walking through the village, which is now also our home, and we stumbled upon the shop. It was a hairdresser at the time. My husband mentioned how beautiful it would look like a flower shop and it almost took me back to being a little girl again.

He was right; the location is perfect. If you could draw a perfect location for a flower shop; Stock would be what you sketched out. The narrow streets, the old houses full of character, the locals who always stop to say good morning. I really couldn’t have pictured it better in my mind.

Stock is the wedding capital of Essex. There are four very special and very different wedding venues close by. People travel far and wide to come here, though, because there’s something so romantic about Stock.

Ian, my husband, sketched out the shop and it’s a pretty accurate sketch of what it looks like today! We had a few minor disagreements about the colour of the shop (he wanted black, ahem…) but we eventually settled (I persuaded him) on grey!

You’ve been open for 5 years next year & have had great success in the industry. How have you seen the industry change through those years? It has gone so quickly and it changes year on year. We’ve always stayed true to our core values. We’ve never used faux flowers, for example. That’s just one of the trends that didn’t suit our style. We’ve seen colours change, the type of arrangements change and the vase ware change.

At the moment, as an example, we’re investing in some beautiful ironwork. We’re having the pieces made bespoke for the shop and for our clients. They’re subtle, well-designed and really show off our flowers. I’m so excited to share them with everybody! 

What do you think the future will look like? Both for us at Stock Florist & the industry as a whole?
Brexit will make it really interesting for us. Even at the moment, swings in currency make a real difference to us. We import all of our flowers from Holland. If we’re in the wedding capital of Essex then Holland is the flower capital of the world!

We go there 2-3 times a year to meet retailers and source the best products for our brides and grooms and clients.

Some of our readers might not know that you got married recently. For somebody who works with flowers every day, how did you go about picking what you wanted?
Thank you! It was such a special day. The song ‘I’ll bring you flowers in the pouring rain’ was sung as I walked down the aisle because it was pouring down outside. There’s nothing like a bit of good, old English weather! When Ian and I started dating, he bought me the most stunning bouquets of bright flowers, so I knew I wanted all the colours!

The venue — like our shop — looks stunning when there’s colour added to it. We wanted real showstoppers and our fabulous team did us so proud!

Based on your experience, what advice would you give to brides and grooms who are struggling to decide what they’d like?
Be yourself! It might seem like an obvious piece of advice but it’s so important. Most brides have a good idea of what we want. Most of us have been dreaming about this day for their entire lives.

We are here to bring the best out of you. Tell us your style and what you like and don’t like and we can make suggestions based on our years and years of experience. We have a beautiful consultation room and we love having a cup of tea or coffee with our brides and grooms and making lots of suggestions.

Because we’re a working flower shop, we can show our brides and grooms flowers in real time. If they aren’t sure whether a flower would suit their style, we can bring it out and take a look at it mixed in with other flowers. I really, really love that we can do that with them. It makes the whole experience extra special.

How long before a wedding is the optimal time to book a florist?
Honestly, it can be any time from two years to two weeks! Typically, it’s 3-6 months before the wedding. We usually come after the venue has been booked and the wedding dress has been selected – as a general rule.

We think picking your flowers should be like that wedding dress moment. We usually have lots of the family come by to give their thoughts and we make it into a really lovely, collaborative day. We like you to feel that you know us and you can give us a call if you’ve had a new idea or a change of plan. We’re here to help and that’s what we pride ourselves on.

And, what’s your plan for the future of Stock Florist?
Winning British Wedding Florist 2018 at the British Wedding Awards was a huge surprise for us and something we truly didn’t expect. So, in that respect we’ve stopped trying to guess what’s round the corner because we could never, ever have predicted this. We will never get complacent and we do have some very exciting plans in the pipeline. I’d keep an eye on our Instagram because all will be revealed throughout the year! Dum, dum, dum….

OK and here’s the final question. For people visiting Stock for the first time, is there anywhere you’d recommend them visiting (aside from Stock Florist, of course)?
Stock is stunning. If you’re thinking of paying the village a visit, I’d highly recommend it. We’re in the heart of Essex and just ten minutes from Chelmsford city. We have Greenwoods – a beautiful luxury Hotel which was also our wedding venue. There’s Crondon Park, an incredible barn wedding venue.  

Oh and it wouldn’t be a village in Essex without some gorgeous country pubs. We’ve got The Hoop, The Bear, The Harvard Inn, The Baker’s Arms and a lovely bistro called Dandelion & Burdock. And let’s not forget our wonderful neighbours Mr Edward Taylor Hair. Everybody needs good neighbours, especially ones who can do a brilliant blow dry!

*Making notes* Amazing. Thanks Sam!

Make sure you keep and eye out on the blog for more of The Stock Spotlight blog series! If you liked hearing from Sam, give us a follow on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook and you can hear from our wonderful co-founder a lot more!

  

Florista

The big day was finally here, after weeks of organising, designing and planning – it was time to set up in the world-famous Covent Garden Market for the Fleurs de Villes exhibition.

Our team had worked through the night packing her up and making sure she would make it one piece – and we arrived at Covent Garden at 5am. As expected, it was an early start! The best things always begin early in the morning (or so we’ve been told!) so we headed into London excited and ready to take on the challenge.

The photo above of us setting up was actually award “Photo of the Day” by The Evening Standard Newspaper – one of the biggest newspapers in London. So that was a great surprise on the day – and added a little more excitement to everything!

Setting up in the market was a fantastic experience. Covent Garden, usually bustling and busy, was absolutely empty and quiet – except for all the florists working hard against the deadline to get their designs finished. As the sun came up, more and more curious people were poking their heads around the corner, curious to see what amazing designs had popped up over night.

It was really something to see, and we loved seeing the other designs take shape just like our own was. Below you can see the team at Bloomsbury Flowers working on their mannequin too!

When our design was finished – What a sight to behold! She was beautiful, and we were so happy with the finished result!

Meet Florista. Dynamic, passionate and here to peel back the curtains of the secret word of fragrance. In her workshop-styled apron of delicate roses, clematis, orchids, scented jasmine and rosemary herb rich with natural fragrance, her jaw-dropping floral gown celebrates beautiful foliages, wygelia, and cinerea combines with other gorgeous scented flowers. She epitomises the elegance and warmth of every woman. Powered by flowers, born in London.

There was no doubting how eye-catching she was – and she demanded the attention of everyone who walked past. The colourful apron dress was the epitome of ‘up-lifting design’ and the fun headpiece and bright colours finished her off perfectly.

But the hard work wasn’t done! We still had a launch event to attend in the evening, which was wonderful fun – especially meeting all the other florists and brands taking part. We sipped Champagne, wore flower crowns and enjoying soaking in the atmosphere – it’s not often you get invited to a private event in Covent Garden!

Over the next few days, our mannequin stood proudly in Covent Garden for all of London to see. Each time we visited the market to check on her, and top-up the design, we saw people smiling, taking photos and texting their friends. It was a joy to see how happy the Florista design was making everyone.

Alongside the mannequin, we also had a pop-up store in Covent Garden during the week, another fantastic opportunity we couldn’t pass up! It gave us a wonderful chance to meet the public and chat about our mannequin design, but it also meant we could launch something very special…. The Florista Bouquet!

Our new bright, bold and beautiful bouquet, inspired by our mannequin for Fleurs de Villes. The idea is to bring the bold, bright colours of our mannequin to life again on a much smaller scale – so you can take a little bit of that vibrance and beauty home with you. A mannequin might not fit in everyone’s lounge – but our florista bouquet will!

Take a look at this beautiful bouquet below, and just how special it is.

This stunning bouquet will be available all year round too, making it the perfect choice for any occasion – Buy our Florisa Bouquet for someone special here

Fleurs De Villes

As florists, there is nothing we love more than a creative brief. When Fleurs de Villes got in touch with us a few weeks ago, we knew it was a creative brief too special to pass up or turn down. The application involved a letter to Fleurs de Villes, a sketch and a brief about our brand/business and we knew we’d be able to create something incredible.

As a small, local business we’re always looking for ways to challenge ourselves, and this was the perfect chance to do just that.

What was the brief?
To creative a floral couture outfit, dressed on a mannequin, in partner with the perfume brand Floral Street. The design would stand alongside other incredible Uk florists inside the central market of Covent Garden – one of London’s most iconic landmarks. The chance for a small Essex-Village florist to display in the world-famous Covent Garden… How could we say no?

The opportunity was something that got everyone excited, and we dived into the designing process almost immediately. We discussed colours, textures, patterns and shapes – and took a look at their past designs and past shows for inspiration.

The brand we were partnered with, Floral Street, had to inspire the design in some way, so we knew that getting to know their team, and visiting their store would be really important too. We took a trip to London to meet with Michelle, their MD, and were given a tour of the shop and the products.

We were greeted by a rainbow of flowers in the store (their floor is a multicoloured floral design!) and from this point we know our design had to be bright, bold and uplifting. We sat with the Floral Street marketing team and hashed out exciting designs, sketches, and bounced ideas off each other – what a fun way to spend the day! We decided to promote their colourful floral apron worn by al staff in Floral Street and identifying their brand.

The next week of so was full of anticipation and excitement. Waiting for our mannequin was like waiting for Christmas morning – we didn’t know yet what shape she would be in, or exactly how the design would come together. But then she got delivered, and her pose and stance was perfect – we could already see the design coming together in our imagination.

The design team worked behind the scenes to carefully select the sweetest smelling roses, vibrant orchids and deep scented foliage for our design. We wanted the dress to not only look incredible but smell incredible too. We wanted people to stop and stare, and then stop and smell too!

We chose the flowers that suited the Floral Street scents best too, as we wanted our mannequin to be a visual representation of the brand and the beautifully-smelling professional women who wear the scents.

Then the hard-work began….
The first step when designing her, was making the skirt for her out of canes and chicken wire, using a local ironmonger to help build a frame. Flowers weigh a lot, and we knew we wanted a lot of flowers in our design, so keeping the design structurally safe and secure was a major concern. We worked so hard to ensure she not only looked fantastic, but was strong and sturdy too.

Once the structure was in place, the fun began…. And the whole thing took 3 days to construct. What an incredible feeling to see something come to life in front of your eyes, and as each flower was placed – more and more personality shone through. She was going to be magnificent!

A big thanks to everyone who helped during this stage of the design…

Sara – Head designer
Sam – Manager
Installation Crew – Ian & Ben
Florists – Hannah, Carla, Claire, Raynor

Stay tuned to read about the event itself and how we constructed our design in the middle of Covent Garden!

Stock Florist Wins Best British Wedding Florist!!

It was a night of glitz and glamour at the 2018 British Wedding Awards this year as we headed to the beautiful No.1 Whitehall and the stunning Gladstone Library. Being nominated was enough but what happened next was truly magical.

Finalists at previous award ceremonies we had got used to being the bridesmaid but never the bride! Award-winning was always the missing piece of the business we had dreamed off.

After a stunning champagne reception, it was time to take our seats for a beautiful meal and the award ceremony commenced. The mood was hyped by the excitement, the chitter chatter of folk and laughter rang out along with and constant clinking of glasses as people settled at the at tables introducing themselves to others. It was a great feeling to be part of such a wonderful atmosphere.

And there we were, halfway through the dinner, before desert it was time to announce ‘Best Wedding Florist’. We were there to enjoy the experience, never in a million years did we expect to hear our name called out! There’s a scene from my favourite film Four Weddings and a Funeral when Scarlet and Charles realise they were late for the first wedding…that was us!!!

‘And the winner of Best British Wedding Florist goes to…Stock Florist’.

That was it, we WON! As the crowd cheered we walked to the stage to collect our prize. The photographers were clicking away, it felt like a scene from the Oscars!

We have met some amazing people in the relatively short time we have been open. Industry legends, established suppliers and lots of beautiful bride & grooms. As a wedding florist, we love the early preparation on the wedding day, from sourcing the finest flowers, creating amazing displays, arriving at a venue where flowers are the perfect finishing touch to light any room.

From a humble little flower shop with a big heart to The British Wedding Florist of the year it has been a remarkable adventure. We could never have done it without our beautiful brides and the venues we dress. We have been humbled by the support and love from our Stock Florist brides, loyal customers, amazing suppliers, stunning venues, family, and friends.

We have a very exciting year ahead…

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