Interview: Natalie Lauraine Floral Design
Based in the South West, Natalie is a trained and qualified florist – passionate about the art of lifting the human spirit through floristry. With her keen eye for detail and design, she uses eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable methods.
Hello Natalie, thank you for chatting with me. How are you?
Very good thank you! It’s been a long few weeks moving house, and working on some amazing projects but with the sun shining I can’t complain.
Tell us a little bit about your background?
Well, I’m originally from Brighton and worked in the hospitality and events world in three cities, Brighton, London and then Bristol then fast forward to my current career! I went back to college a few years ago, so I was doing a course, holding a full time job down and doing work experience in a florist. I then worked full time as a florist, which is where I gained lots of confidence, but I wanted to focus on events, weddings and collaborations and really experiment to find my true style.
When you did realise you had a passion for floristry?
This is hard to put my finger on as flowers have been a staple in my life from loving floral prints - flowery scents to making huge headdresses from faux flowers for festivals from way back being a teenager. But I guess I realised my passion for floristry was my first workshop I held, showing some friends of mine how to make dried flower wreaths, as I could just natter on forever about all the flowers and techniques for drying. I have a true passion for making with flowers, from buttonholes to hours making garlands.
Was starting your own business something you’ve always wanted to do?
In short, YES. I have always loved the idea of having a business of my own, both my mum and my step-dad are entrepreneurs’ and wonderfully creative so they have always inspired me.
How competitive is the florist industry and how do you stay original?
I think community over competition is a better way to live. There is a lot of florists in Bristol but everyone has their niche.
Where do you find your inspiration for your work?
I’m very inspired by the South West Countryside, or any countryside to be honest. Other places I find inspiration are urban architecture and art galleries.
Your photo-shoot with the models is what really caught my eye - do you collaborate a lot for your business?
Yes! I love collaborating with other Bristol creatives, its an amazing way to connect with so many talented people. I have to shout out here to my amazing photographer pal, Tammy Snipe, as she takes the things I make, and even my face and turns it into the most wonderful photos.
You also run hen parties and workshops! What’s that experience like?
I like to start a lot of my evening workshops with a glass of Prosecco, I feel it helps ease everyone in especially if you haven’t tried floristry before. The venue or my workshop is FULL of flowers and all the tools you could possibly need and then there are always lots of places to take lots of photos of your creations!
Does being part of the makers’ community in Bristol help with your business?
I’m so lucky there are so many wonderful artisans in the community who are always there to lend an ear when you need it, which is often what you need to keep going when you have a lot going on!
Where do you source your flowers from and what’s the best process for keeping your plants alive?
I have a wonderful local grower, her flowers are the most delicious smelling flowers I’ve ever worked with… you can check out Floral Acre out! I also use the local Bristol flower market, Flower vision. My biggest tip for keeping your plants alive is, take time to work out where they seem to like being best and also the most common cause of killing plants is over watering – so take five minutes looking up your plant online (there are SO many websites) to see on average you should be watering your plant.
Do you have a favourite arrangement or type of flower?
I have so many favourite flowers, it changes almost every day! But you may notice in my work I tend to use a lot of Limonium as it’s so versatile and is just as great dried! I love making bridal bouquets, it’s so much pressure but I just love them. Otherwise I love making garlands, which I don’t think you’d hear a lot of florists say as its time consuming and laborious.
Lastly, what advice would you give for future florists and start-up small businesses?
Say YES! This may be controversial advice, but say yes to any opportunities that come your way as you never know what may come out of it, its not always the work itself it’s the amazing people you meet along the way!