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TEAM ZOELLA MAY 19, 2021

Three of Our Favourite Dried Flower Brands Talk Business, Blooms & The Future of Floristry

With the sales of dried blooms up 115% and lockdown living inspiring many budding florists to quit their office jobs in favour of creative pursuits, we caught up with three of our favourite dried flower brands, The Happy Blossoms, Phohm and Three Sisters Farm, to chat business, blooms and the future of floristry.

Dried flowers are back from the dead and the options are wild, with fluffy pampas grass displayed in chic af vases and everlasting bouquets taking over our Instagram and our homes.

Fun fact: back in the 70s, planting the feathery plumes in your garden was considered rather risqué after rumours spread that pampas-proud homeowners were into none other than… swinging. Bold of them to assume an innocent, albeit a little phallic-looking, plant was code for wife swapping but OK.

Since then, the humble species has gone up in the world and enjoyed some great pr – with a little help from a certain Kardashian – cementing itself as a millennial must-have and putting that silly gossip well and truly to bed.

Not only are dried flowers a more affordable way to enjoy a bit of nature in your home, they’re also highly convenient for lazy girls and failed flower parents like @ me, meaning you can leave them sitting pretty in the curves of Anissa Kermiche’s love handles without having to worry that they’re casually dying of thirst.

Whether you’re into statement grasses, bushy bunnytails or dainty gypsophila, these versatile blooms are a simple way to add some personality into a room and incorporate some natural texture throughout your home. They also get a big fat tick where sustainability is concerned, since they’re often locally sourced and free from plastic.

Far from the outdated posies once associated with dusty B&Bs and granny’s bathroom, you can now get your hands on all kinds of bougie arrangements from earthy neutrals and tonal designs right through to Wes Anderson worthy pastels and bright ‘n’ bold creations. If you can dream it, you can buy it.

With the sales of dried blooms up 115% and lockdown living inspiring many budding florists to quit their office jobs in favour of creative pursuits, we caught up with three of our favourite dried flower brands, The Happy Blossoms, Phohm and Three Sisters Farm, to chat business, blooms and the future of floristry.

PHOHM

What inspired you to start your own dried flower business?

I was inspired by the everlasting nature of dried flowers and creating displays that are designed with the intention of permanence. 

Have you always been interested in floral design?

I’ve always loved flowers and some of my fondest memories are of going to Columbia Road Flower Market. My passion for floral design came later. I studied Fine Art and have always had an eye for arranging things as well as a skill for creating. I started working as a prop-maker and during that time I worked on a project which used lots of artificial flowers. I really enjoyed the project and decided to start creating flower arches for local Brighton businesses. I got a lot of commissions and quickly launched my own floral design business in 2018. 

How did you turn your passion for dried flowers into a business?

PHOHM started as a floral design company trading solely to commercial businesses. I used artificial flowers and foliage to create large scale installations for bars, salons, shops and restaurants. These were mainly commissions, so whenever I could add my own personal touch to the installations I opted for dried flowers over artificial. 

The aesthetic of dried flowers are much more my style so when Covid hit I had to think fast and decided to start creating dried flower bouquets for people’s homes.

A friend of mine had a shop in The North Lanes and let me rent the space to start a dried flower pop-up. We opened the weekend that the first lock down eased. 

The trial weekend went really well and PHOHM pop-ups quickly became a weekly affair. As well as having the space in The North Lanes I also hosted multiple pop-ups outside cafes and bars in Brighton and Greater London. All the handwork paid off and I now have a permanent space in The Lanes Brighton and I couldn’t be happier.

Why do you think there’s been such a resurgence in the popularity of dried flowers over the last few years?

Fashion goes round in circles. It always does. I think this time around it has more significance because people are much more aware of being wasteful.  It’s very en vogue to be environmentally conscious which means home interiors are much more focused around the concept of slow living. 

What does an average day in the life of floral creative look like?

Wake up at 7ish get washed and dressed followed by Coffee (Oat Mocha) & Crumpets (Marmite) stick on 6music and reply to enquiries, send out quotes + invoices & complete general life admin.

I live locally so I walk into town and open the shop at 11. On busy days it’s back to back creating bouquets and vase stylings for customers. On the quieter midweek days my studio is inside the shop which is great because I can focus on my commissions for larger scale designs such as vase stylings, custom wreaths and pampas clouds.

On the days that I’m not working in the shop, I’ll be going to meetings with potential clients, visiting antiques fairs to source vases or out installing larger projects. 

How do you go about sourcing your flowers?

I use a few different suppliers depending on what I need. Sourcing the fluffiest pampas or the perfect shaped palm can be tricky so I take my time when researching to ensure that I get the best stems to stock in the shop.

What’s different about working with dried blooms compared with fresh flowers?

I keep to a neutral earthy palette for my everlasting displays which are mainly focussed around dried grasses. This is very reflective of my own personal style, I dress in a very neutral palette and as you can see from the interior of my shop this is my style preference in terms of interiors too.   
What I love about working with fresh flowers is that I can be really playful with colour. I find this a lot harder to do with dried because I don’t particularly like the look of dyed dried flowers.

Working with fresh also enables me to practise mindfulness, patience and being more gentle in my approach. I really enjoy editing fresh flowers, an example of this is flexing. Flexing is where you gently fold back the petals of the flower to change its more recognisable appearance. Roses and Lisianthus look incredible when flexed. It’s these little tricks & techniques that make the difference between floral design and traditional floristry.  

Are there any trends we should be on the lookout for, what’s going to be the next pampas do you think?!

In terms of trends Mantelscaping. The rise of sculptural ceramic vases, ornamental candles and of course dried flowers are all major players when it comes to Mantelscaping. Mantelscaping is where you arrange your favourite objects in your home candles, vases, mirrors, artworks etc and display them on your mantelpiece to curate a design feature that fills you with joy each time you look at it. The beauty of this is that it will naturally change and evolve depending on the flowers and objects you choose to display. 

Having flowers in your mantelscape is crucial. Fresh, dried or in my case both,  always look fantastic in sculptural ceramic vases. In terms of what’s going to be the next pampas, who knows. I would like to see larger floral installations in peoples homes, such as wall-based displays as pieces of art and floating cloud designs above peoples dining tables. 

For anyone new to dried flowers, what’s the easiest way to introduce them into your home décor?

Come and visit me in my shop, bring your own vase or purchase one from our antique collection and I’ll style it for you. These custom vase stylings are excellent because we create a bespoke arrangement that is completely unique to you and your style. 

Part of the beauty of dried flowers is their longevity, but do you have any top tips for making sure they stay looking their best?

Each stem differs but some good guidelines to follow are:Palms away from sunlight (if you don’t want them to fade), anything fluffy i.e Pampas + Reed grass away from any moisture. For extra fluffiness use a warm hairdryer on the stems, do this outside if possible, then hairspray to reduce any shedding. Give your dried flowers a little wiggle every now and then to avoid any dust gathering. 

What’s the best thing about owning a dried flower business?

The business is a creative outlet for me. I love designing and creating new displays every day. I’m an ideas person for sure so coming up with interesting concepts for brands + larger scale installations is definitely my favourite part of the job.

What do you think floristry will look like in the next 5-10 years and what sort of changes do you hope to see happen, any predictions?

Probably not too dissimilar from now I imagine. Nothing ever really changes that much. I think the permanence of dried is very appealing so I can’t see it going anywhere anytime soon. It really would defeat the object of the long lasting appeal if everyone decided to just throw them away. Prediction wise I think that dried flower weddings will be extremely popular.

What’s your best advice for anyone else looking to start their own floristry business?

Find your own style, appreciate but don’t imitate. I think having your own style is super important, you can tell the difference between floral designs when none of the personality of the florist has gone into their work and they’ve just replicated. It’s hard to be original nowadays when everything everyone else is doing is presented to us all the time on Instagram. All the images we see seep into our subconscious and we recreate often un-intentionally.

My advice would be to find inspiration from real things that you truly love. And if you are using platforms like Instagram for inspo one tip I have would be to save images that you’re inspired by, look at them all together in your saved section then put your phone down and create your own interpretation of the amalgamation of images that you’ve seen. 

In terms of styling and making your own dried arrangements, are there any dos and don’ts to consider?

Colour-wise I prefer sticking to a neutral earthy palette. Complementary tones where you can’t really go wrong would be beiges and lights alongside minky coffee tones. Avoid dark colours with lights and have contrasting textures of the same tones. When it comes to larger sculptural elements like palms stick to just one  and have it front facing. If you’re using small sculptural stems like floral heads or bunny tails stick to odd numbers. Taller fluffy stems like pampas look best arranged in threes or fives. A loose guideline to follow would be to arrange in triangles playing with differing heights. Floral design is just about having the eye for arranging and having the confidence to know when to stop. 

What’s the biggest misconception or assumption about your job?

I suppose the biggest assumption would be that my house is filled with flowers. That assumption would be correct, my house is of course filled with flowers.

Let’s get whimsical, what do flowers mean to you?

Some of the frills, textures and colours of fresh florals I find mesmerising. Sometimes I think the world can’t be so bad when something so beautiful can naturally grow from the soil. I love the ceremonial aspect of flowers. We give them as gifts, carry them around at weddings, and have them laid on top of us when we die. Flowers are a big part of our culture in Britain and I think that goes fairly unnoticed.

An impossible question to answer BUT, what’s your all-time favourite flower / dried grass?

All-time fresh favourite is a Cafe au lait Dahlia, Dried Strelitzia leaves are my current crush, each one is so unique and adds a gorgeous sculptural element to my displays. 

What’s next for you and your business?

Launching our events program from June. Expect lots of floral design workshops as well as, life drawing, ceramics & Silversmithing. The space will also be hireable allowing creatives to use the space outside of shop hours to host their own workshops or pop-ups. 

Three Sisters Farm Shop

What inspired you to start your own dried flower business, have you always been interested in floral design?

We saw a gap in the market and decided to go for it! We didn’t know much about floristry at all. Having just left a long career in banking I decided why not give blooms a go! After an online course and a bit of experimenting my creative side was unleashed!

How did you turn your passion for dried flowers into a business?

There is something very whimsical about Dried Flowers, the way they fall, the colours and textures are so unique and interesting. It was love at first sight. I thought if I can see this, so will others and be gone with their old 80’s reputation!

Why do you think there’s been such a resurgence in the popularity of dried flowers over the last few years?

Dried flowers are the perfect finishing touch to the ever-popular boho scandi type interior that is very on trend. The soft textures and fluffy pampas add warmth to a room like no other accessory can. Not forgetting the low maintenance attribute. I for one struggle keeping plants alive and always get sad throwing flowers away once they have died. Dried flowers solve this problem by giving you a low maintenance fresh-looking bunch for years! 

What does an average day in the life of floral creative look like?

It is cliché but no two days are the same. We are super busy right now and staying on top of orders is our number one priority! It is a tricky job trying to get each bouquet unique in its own right but uniformed and measured correctly for each customer. So much care and attention goes into each one of our bouquets. We recently installed a flower wall at Westfield shopping centre. This was so much fun to create and we hope to increase our installation and wedding side of the business very soon!

How do you go about sourcing your flowers?

We have worked in this industry for almost a year now so have developed great relationships with key suppliers in both the UK and The Netherlands. We purchase from the auctions in Holland as you would with fresh flowers. Stock is quick to sell and change so we need to be planning our stock demands in advance.

What’s different about working with dried blooms compared with fresh flowers?

I think the biggest difference is the fact they are dried! When working with fresh they are in water and its cold! However, dried flower stems are so fragile so it takes a different type of skill to perfect a spiralled bouquet! These are quotes from our floristry team headed up by Rachel, Eleanor and Julie.

Are there any trends we should be on the look-out for, what’s going to be the next pampas do you think?!

I think pampas will be around for a while yet as there are so many different colours and textures that you could refresh an interior space just by changing your pampas! There is certainly a demand for faux pampas as well but I can’t bear the thought of more plastic! Stay natural people!

A simple statement piece of some short pampas is a great way to add a minimalist look. Depending on your colour choice a small bouquet would also be a great starting point!

Part of the beauty of dried flowers is their longevity, but do you have any top tips for making sure they stay looking their best?

We include some tips on a care card when purchasing but dried flowers adapt to their environment! For this we advise they are kept out of direct sunlight and away from moisture! You can also dust them by giving them a blow with a hairdryer, every six months or so! Some of the stems may drop but this is fine and adds to the texture and look of the flowers.

What’s the best thing about owning a dried flower business?

The chance to work with nature and beautiful flowers every day! We absolutely love to hear when customers receive their orders and they are happy.

What do you think floristry will look like in the next 5-10 years and what sort of changes do you hope to see happen, any predictions?

I think it is an industry that needs to accept its place in the climate change discussion. The amount of water consumption that is required for fresh flowers alone is damaging. There are many sustainable benefits from using dried. I would like to see dried installations being used in commercial and corporate spaces as well as securing its place in mainstream society. Moving away or reducing our use of fresh and artificial flowers seems like a great choice for the planet! I would love to see dried flowers have a large share of the market when it comes to buyers choice.

What’s your best advice for anyone else looking to start their own floristry business?

Why buy? And why buy from us? We ask ourselves this question all the time and I think its great. The ‘us’ part gives you a purpose and the why buy, gives you direction. What do you want to sell? Bouquets or wreaths. Arrangements or stems. Figure out your purpose and direction first!

In terms of styling and making your own dried arrangements, are there any dos and don’ts to consider?

We have come to realise there really isn’t any rules when it comes to dried flowers! I feel like we are creating arrangements that have never been done before as there so many different variations. I do tend to stick to colour blocking as I think this helps the customer decide on the bouquets purpose. For example, we have pinks and purples but also greys and blues. Something for everyone! But we really do recommend you purchase some single stems and have a go at creating your own unique arrangement! Its so easy and fun!

What’s the biggest misconception or assumption about your job?

That’s easy! It really isn’t. We have worked so hard and have sacrificed a lot. Time with my son being one of them. We are hoping as we expand that it allows an option to be flexible but right now it’s day and night and it’s hard work.

Let’s get whimsical, what do flowers mean to you?

Flowers are beautiful and I think they can represent so much! I have a bunch that my son made for me for my birthday and every day I look at them and think of him! Dried flowers are the gift that keep on giving and so does their beauty.

An impossible question to answer BUT, what’s all-time favourite flower / dried grass?

It is a very hard question as I love them all! However, the bunny tail / lagurus holds a special place in my heart. It’s so soft and fluffy and delicate. I love them.

What’s next for you and your business?

We have big plans. We want to be the biggest dried flower supplier in the UK! This is going to take a lot of hard work but with the amazing team we have behind us we believe anything is possible so why not aim to be the best!

The Happy Blossoms

What inspired you to start your own dried flower business, have you always been interested in floral design? 

We already had a successful floral business before we launched the Baked Blossoms, but I was very worried about Brexit impacting on supply chains and thought adding an extra arm to the business would be a no-brainer! Also had seen lots of dried flowers around that were very colourless and plain and wanted to create a product that was super vibrant and happy, so I started to investigate and contact suppliers to trial products and create the Baked Blossoms!

Why do you think there’s been such a resurgence in the popularity of dried flowers over the last few years? 

I think Instagram is amazing at sharing interior trends and this has been massive in us creating the colourful dried flower trend introduced by the Baked Blossoms. Our customers love that they can have flowers in the house for such a long time. 

How do you go about sourcing your flowers?

We have amazing suppliers that we have brilliant relationships with from being in the floral industry for several years.

What’s different about working with dried blooms compared with fresh flowers? 

Lots of dried flowers are actually grasses, therefore in each bunch, there is often a much higher stem count than you would get in a fresh flower bouquet. They don’t require conditioning in the same way, and no bucket – scrubbing which we do a lot of with fresh flowers!

Are there any trends we should be on the look-out for, what’s going to be the next pampas do you think?! 

I think that protea could be the next pampas grass for sure!

For anyone new to dried flowers, what’s the easiest way to introduce them into your home décor? 

Grab your favourite jug, vase or pot and cut your new bunch to size!

Part of the beauty of dried flowers is their longevity, but do you have any top tips for making sure they stay looking their best? 

Keep away from direct sunlight, humidity, temperature changes and sit them in a vase so that they’re supported.

What’s the best thing about owning a dried flower business? 

Being surrounded by gorgeous flowers and colours on a daily basis and getting to work with a wonderful team of humans! 

What do you think floristry will look like in the next 5-10 years and what sort of changes do you hope to see happen, any predictions? 

I think that this last year has made us appreciate our homes & interiors in a whole new way and introducing flowers whether fresh or dried will be a massive part of continuing this. Flowers have a hugely positive impact on mental health and I think everyone has started to really realise that.

What’s your best advice for anyone else looking to start their own floristry business? 

I undertook a 1-year college course before getting a job in a local florist. I don’t think it’s necessary to go to college, but would really recommend gaining work experience and learning on the job! 

In terms of styling and making your own dried arrangements, are there any dos and don’ts to consider?

If the colours make you happy, then go for it! 

Let’s get whimsical, what do flowers mean to you? 

They are my world, I love them and they make me so happy! The flower industry is an incredible industry and brings me so so much joy each day.

An impossible question to answer BUT, what’s all-time favourite flower / dried grass? 

Favourite fresh flower is lilac, favourite dried flower is hillflower.

What’s next for you and your business? 

Keep spreading happiness through flowers, in every way we can!

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Zoey

I love the happy blossoms – such a cool brand. x

Zoey | http://www.zoeyolivia.com

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