So you've booked your wedding childcare (go you!) but maybe you're still unsure about other wedding essentials or you're just on the lookout for some outright fun and fancy extras you would LOVE at your wedding! Alternatively, if you are a small business owner or someone who simply has a beautiful idea then read on for some great advice and support and find out just what goes on behind the scenes in the wedding and events industry!
Every month we are going to feature a fantastic supplier who we think might complement every type and style of wedding you could dream of! We're talking florists, cake makers, caterers, photographers, wedding planners, stylists, prop providers, venues, entertainers/magicians and so on...
If you would like to be featured by us then please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if you have a particular month you would like to be featured! So pop the kettle on and find out more about the person behind the business or simply more about the work they do to ensure your wedding day is even more unforgettable.
Without further ado we'd like to introduce you to March's wonderful South West supplier... the wonderful
Tell us about your company and what services you provide. Which locations do you cover in the South West?
Hello! I’m Fiona, and I own and run Emerald & Jade Flowers. I am based in Bristol, and provide flowers mainly for weddings in the surrounding areas, usually within an hour radius or so.
Emerald & Jade Flowers was born from a desire to set up my own business, which would allow me to be creative in a beautiful way. I used to be a lawyer so admittedly it wasn’t hard finding a more creative career! I believe in living a beautiful life in every way, and my business reflects this also. I am especially passionate about bright, bold colours, and I am drawn to unusual flowers, whether for their texture, appearance or colour. For example my Christmas wreath had mini pink pineapples and proteas in it!
How long have you been working in this field and how did you get into it?
I set up Emerald & Jade Flowers back in 2015. I had a great first year, and this year is already busier and more exciting than the last! After the birth of my children, I decided to take a career break from being a lawyer. I had always loved the creative arts in general, and I knew I wanted to start up my own business where I could work around my family life and make it my own. During that time, I was helping my sister plan her wedding, and I got talking to her florist. Her florist gave me a lot (!!) of information about the realities of being a florist. Shortly afterwards, I had attended a taster day at the fabulous Tallulah Rose Flower School, which led to me doing the Intensive Career Change Course. The rest as they say, is history!
Tell us about the person(s) behind the brand!
Initially from France, I came over to the UK to study law and found myself qualifying as an Employment Lawyer before making the big change! I was lucky growing up to live and travel to many different countries around the world, and this has brought up a love for the outdoors and the beautiful different cultures. Whether the prints, traditions, cultures, or colours, I feel so inspired by what I’ve seen on my journeys! At the moment, it is just me. This has been a huge learning curve! Coming from a corporate background where I had secretaries, supervisors, accounts and IT departments etc… Working under all those hats has certainly been a new challenge! But I have met some incredible people since starting my journey, from business coaches, accountants, to other suppliers and especially other florists, it’s been amazing and I never feel all alone, which is incredible when working by myself! I am keen to explore ways to live a beautiful, happy life, and I am currently exploring ways to incorporate this more within my business.
Aside from that, I am married to Barry, a very talented and passionate gardener, and we have two young children, Siena (6) and Hugo (3). We live in Bristol which I love, as there are so many places for us to explore nearby. Bristol is also packed with inspirational, incredibly talented people. It’s a great place to live!
Who are your typical customers, weddings or the event industry?
People usually come to me because they love my style. I try and post on a regular basis on my Instagram in a way that reflects my personality and work. As a result, my clients are usually people who love colour, and aren’t afraid to stand out, or at the very least do things the way they want to, rather than do what they feel they should be doing. I mostly do wedding work at the moment. I work from home, which means I can fully dedicate myself to each client, ensuring I can create the flowers that truly reflects them.I love wedding work, and always feel honoured being part of someone’s big day. I love delivering the flowers on the morning of the wedding, seeing everyone getting ready and feeling the excitement in the air. It’s such a great experience to be part of! I am also looking at other ways to expand the business into at the moment. My main wish is to incorporate my “live a beautiful” motto to these new areas, so I am working on making these come to life.
What sets you aside from the rest and what do your customers say about you?
What I love about floristry, is that each florist will have their own unique style of arranging flowers, so there truly is a florist for everyone out there! Personally, people come to me for my love of bright and bold arrangements. No two arrangements I create are the same, as I love getting creative and playing with new colours and textures.
Being a florist is a passion, but I am keen to remain true to myself and create arrangements in my own style. I am happy to seek inspiration from other works, but I don’t want to copy other styles as such. I have wonderful clients who have left me amazing feedback since I started, and creativity and colour are words that get mentioned a lot ☺
What do you enjoy most about what you do and what can be the toughest part?
I love being able to provide something beautiful for people. Whether for weddings, funerals, or “just because” flowers, flowers have such a strong impact on people, I love it. I also love how flowers are a metaphor of sorts for life. They are a great reminder at how beauty lies all around us, but also within. And we can all bloom if we let ourselves grow. Working for yourself, not matter what your business, can always be challenging. From the lack of a regular salary, unexpected throwbacks… when things go wrong it can be hard not to take it personally or knowing where to go from there. I make sure that I meet up with other business owners, whether florists or other trades, and this always helps. People who own their own businesses are passionate people, and it’s amazing to be part of this tribe!
What are your favourite trends and what is getting you excited in your industry for 2017?
I am not really one for trends as such. Whether in fashion or in weddings, I truly believe in following what makes you feel happy and your best. I believe the same applies to weddings. I love the weddings where people don’t just follow traditions without knowing what these mean, but instead tailor their day to truly reflect them.Having said that, I really love the trend in metallics such as copper, as well as the trend for foliage. In fact for my own wedding, our wedding flowers were mainly foliage!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone planning an event/wedding, what would it be?
Stick to your guns, and have it your way. Between Pinterest (which I do love) and everybody’s different opinions, it can become overwhelming when planning your wedding. When Barry and I got married, we had it exactly how we wanted, and so on the day we were really relaxed and able to enjoy every minute of it. Our friends and family have since commented how the day truly reflected us and how we are, which is the best compliment we could receive.
If you could give one piece of advice to similar suppliers starting out, what would it be?
Running your own business is undoubtedly hard, and will challenge on regular occasions in ways that will make you doubt your decision. I would say the main thing is to keep growing and learning. I think of my business as a steep learning curve, from which I am always learning and looking at ways to improve. Most of all, it should be fun, and something you love doing. No matter how hard it can be at times, I have not once regretted my decision, and love how I can take the business where I want to take it. Attending networking events and meeting other people in the same situation but at different levels has also really helped me, whether to bounce ideas off, create new opportunities or simply have a moan to someone who understands . This has been a lifesaver for me.
When you’re not working what would we most likely find you doing?
We love spending time outdoors, so when we can we like to go out for a long walk with a flask of tea/coffee and some cakes. For similar reasons we love travelling and can’t wait to be able to travel more with the children. My family live in France and Australia so the children are already keen travellers and I love it! Day to day, we love spending time with friends, cooking dinner for each other and letting the children run free.
Last but not least, tell us an interesting/funny story as a supplier?
I tend to talk about my business to many people I meet, which has led to me finding clients in completely random scenarios! My most awkward moment was having a bridal consultation with a client and her mother. When asked whether she would like a corsage, the mother told us she didn’t particularly like flowers, in her opinion flowers belonged in gardens and shouldn’t be cut… Luckily I laughed it off and didn’t think anything of it but it has to be the weirdest thing I’ve been told in a consultation!
Thanks for such a fantastic interview Fiona and thank you for kicking off our monthly blog post where our readers will get to 'Meet the South West Supplier'! It was wonderful hearing all about where you started out and how Emerald & Jade has grown as a business. We love your unique, fun and colourful style and can see how hard you work. We can't wait to see more of your beautiful floristry at the South West venues we will be supplying wedding childcare at in 2017 and beyond!
Visit: Emerald & Jade
Telephone: 07533 818 788