Everything in my business has happened more or less organically. Take our faux flowers as an example. Gem and I all those years back never imagined that the first time we bought a few bunches of faux flowers as a prop for the store would ever turn out to be one of the hugest parts of our business. We’ve gone from spending a measly €2,000 to now (take a breath) over 6 figure-sums on our flowers stock.
High demand for our flowers have seen us sell out every season, for years… It’s a happy problem to have had but it’s been a frustrating one. Also we’ve been at the mercy of trends, whims and what other suppliers stock rather than what we want to create. Until now that is.
After a lot of work, and schlepping to the Far East (5 times so far this year, with more trips scheduled) we’ve found the solution. We’re now manufacturing ourselves. More specifically we are now manufacturing our own faux botanicals. We’ve dreamed about this for ages, to design our own blooms to our exacting specifications (and fussiness) and hue and texture and scale and variety!
I’ve been so excited by this range that when the samples came in in early summer I ditched everything I had in the house and put winter blooms all over the house in July! Crazy – but I am obsessed.
Even more exciting is that a few months back Heal’s approached us to open a “faux florist” within The Heal’s Building on Tottenham Court Road. So now we’ll have our own Abigail Ahern Flowers store in the West End. We open on the evening of September 23rd (more on that in another post as there as a big party and you’re all invited)!
Gem and I have seen a gap in the market for ages now. There are faux flowers in so many stores now, including department stores, but they’re so DEPRESSING. People tend to play it safe with ubiquitous colours not to mention boring blooms like orchids, plastic-y roses, sweet peas and lavender in metal buckets – all OK in the right time and place but they don’t exactly set my world on fire! We want more unusual varieties like realistically velvety peonies, trailing catkin branches, feathery foliages and so on. What’s more we want to create a florist which does to faux flower fanatics what Disneyland does to kids. A place that you never want to leave, that’s a visual treat, and so inspiring that it makes you want to go home and create. I reckon our fauxs deserve the same love, attention and expertise as real cut flowers, and we want to deliver the most fantastic experience for you all at our new florist.
Our aesthetic for our own label is very organic… foraged, wild and most of all seasonal, which you never really see with fauxs. This means in winter months we are using far more foliages and evergreens such as mossy branches, catkins and lots of autumnal berry bundles. We’ll also be accenting the range with cones, dried berries, a selection of mosses, feathery ferns, even amazing dried but faux looking sunflowers on and on I could go. It truly hasn’t been done before – anywhere – so we’re breaking new ground here. I’m super nervous but totally fired up and excited.
You’ll find real touch roses, wintery blossoms, hydrangeas, foliage to die for as well as things that have been foraged, like I just mentioned. I’ve been dreaming of introducing ornamental kales, snow berries, having allotment style workshops and talking of workshops and courses we’ll be running those regularly in the store. We’ve also created a flower club, we’re doing weddings, product launches, PR events. See why I am so excited!
A top team of florists headed up by Gem will be in the store (she’ll be in four days a week) so you can call in and have a personal consultation should you wish or just amble by and choose from the most amazing selection of single stems, bouquets, plants and trees that London indeed the UK has even seen. The selection is a cross between an old Dutch Master’s still life and the coolest most extravagant blooms and wild foliages ever gathered. Effortless, decadent to die for!
We’re designing the space like a cabin, I’ve got reclaimed wood cladding being flown in from the States as I write, and we’ve got the hugest plans to make this the next big thing in London. We can’t wait to open. I’ll show you the range tomorrow (with some more news). They will all be available to buy from the 23rd our opening day. So watch this space…