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!