Each month we will introduce a wedding professional to you that is at an exciting and pivotal time in their career.
Introducing Fi from Corky and Prince. Fi is a wedding and event florist based in Gloucestershire and is so passionate about floristry it's no wonder she has some super exciting news to share! Corky and Prince are off to Chelsea Flower Show!
We LOVE to hear good news at Whitewed so couldn't wait to find out more her exciting news, and also find out more about the owner behind the business.
What your light bulb moment when you decided to start up?
After 27 years in financial services, I work up one morning and decided that I couldn’t write another board paper about IT glitches so I took redundancy and pottered about the garden for a few months, deciding what to do next. The real light bulb moment came in May 2018 when I was asked to create wedding flowers for a couple getting married in the Cotswolds village where we live. I really enjoyed working with the bride and her Mum - the excitement of planning a wedding was so infectious that I realised I had found my new career. So in September I made the leap into self-employment and Corky and Prince Wedding & Event Flowers was born.
How did you start in business, why floristry?
I’m the ‘arty’ one in my family and floral design has always been a passion - in fact my first competition was a flower garden in a biscuit tin lid for the local show at the age of 5! I am originally from Cornwall and grew up on a farm so my love of nature runs pretty deep as my Mum is a keen gardener and bee-keeper. So floristry felt like the perfect choice as it combines my love of art, design and nature.
What have you loved so far?
Three things stand out so far;
What challenges have you faced that you weren't expecting?
Transporting flowers so they arrive in pristine condition has been more challenging that we expected. There have been some hairy moments - I forgot we have an automatic car, and it kept going whilst I was running to the boot to upright some flowers! We think we’ve cracked it now and my husband has invented all sorts of solutions.
Has there been anything that you were expecting to find tough but it's not been that bad?
I don’t regard myself as a sales person so the first few wedding shows were terrifying - but I found if I just focused on the couples and started talking to them about their wedding day, then it became a lot easier and more enjoyable.
Who cheers you on?
I am blessed with a wonderful husband, Alan who is my best friend and No. 1 cheerleader. My support network also includes three remarkable women, Beth, Ruth and Tess. Together we make up the Fairford Flower Collective and we are having the time of our lives - see our news below!
What did you want to be when you were older when you was a child?
My career dreams as a child where fairly random - and included Prime Minister, death-row lawyer (!) and ballerina.
Best advice you've been given?
When we were getting started, I went to a number of Whitewed shows to see how it worked and talk to other exhibitors. An experienced bridal boutique owner told me to remember that I was offering an experience, not a product. That has stuck with me and has shaped the way I work with my clients.
2020 is set to be an amazing year, because along with 40 wedding bookings, we’re off to The RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May.
It started as a bit of fun when my friend Tess suggested that we apply to exhibit in the floristry section at this year’s show. So I created some sketches and the team chose their favourite design to submit under our group name - The Fairford Flower Collective. We had no expectation of getting into the show as we’d heard they had already received 3000 entries for the eight places. It was really just an excuse to eat cake, drink coffee and dream. So when the letter arrived from the RHS in January, no one opened it for a few days - mistaking it for junk mail!
The theme for this year’s Flower Show is ‘One World’, and the RHS plan to focus on sustainability and environmental awareness - something that is really important to the four of us. We want to raise awareness and appreciation of British Flowers which we all grow without pesticides or chemicals in our gardens and allotments. Growing up on a farm in Cornwall, I have always been close to nature, and the turning of the seasons is one of the things I love the most. Whilst as a consumer, it's convenient to be able to buy things like strawberries all year around from the supermarket, I think we have lost the anticipation and excitement that comes from enjoying things in their season - from the first snowdrop in January, the short but glorious peony season in May and the dazzling display of dahlias in September.
Now that the initial excitement has died down, we are busy sowing seeds and raising plants on every available windowsill and greenhouse as we aim to create our Chelsea exhibit with mainly home-grown blooms. It’s a once in a life-time opportunity to be part of the most famous flower show in the world and we’re enjoying every moment - even the stress in the middle of the night that the flowers might not grow!
The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from the 19th to 23rd May and you will find the Fairford Flower Collective in the Great Pavilion. To find out more about events and workshops run by the Collective, visit their Facebook page @fairfordflowercollective or contact Fi at .
We wish Fi and the Fairford Flower Collective all the very best for May, we can't wait to see what they come up with!
For more information about Fi's work, check out her page Corky and Prince