We meet lots of talented people doing what we do. Lots of them at wedding fairs. We met Charlie & Jess at the Most Curious Wedding Fair (where we’ll be again in a couple of weeks) and we fell in love with them a little bit. Lovely girls, beautiful flowers, and a good name. Who doesn’t like a literary reference? We thought we’d ask them a few questions about why they do what they do.
Hey Charlie and Jess. Thanks for having a chat with us. Tell us about yourselves and your company.
We met at Nottingham Uni, and began test trading as One Flew Over in the evenings and weekends around our other jobs. We felt there was something missing in the London floristry sector – an affordable, completely bespoke, approachable florist. We heard stories of couples getting married who hadn’t even met their florists, or had little choice in taking up a previously designed wedding package. We believe flowers are an incredible luxury, that can add so much to a wedding, event, a space or a home, but a luxury that should be made available to everyone. And that’s what we try to do at OFO – we meet brides and grooms as many times as they need, we visit venues, we listen and work out the best way to achieve what they want for the price they can afford. We have recently moved into weekly business and personal flower subscriptions, and one off and gift deliveries in our excellent new OFO tote bags.
How did you both get into floristry?
Jess: I always wanted to be a florist. There was always something about the wrapping up warm, getting dirty and creating something out of raw materials really appealed.
Somehow though, I found myself at Law School and working in Finance having a fine old time but always wondering what the weather was like outside the concrete buildings.
Charlie: I always wanted to work for myself and never imagined myself at a desk. I met the idea of floristry through a friend, and found it offered the creativity and practicality I craved.
At that time though, it didn’t feel romantic, more like we were just trying to find a way to be happy at work, but then we both enrolled in Professional Floristry courses and fell further in love with the process and idea of working with flowers.
Over a cup of tea one day, we decided to stop mucking around, join forces (as two is always better than one, or at least less frightening!) and see what would happen if we gave this a go. That really still feels like where we are, as each day, month, and year brings new challenges in moving forward.
What are the best things about being florists?
So many things. The mornings – getting back from the market just as everyone else is heading off to work, making a brew and putting a podcast on and conditioning the flowers. It’s ritualistic and calming, and nothing you can ever experience in an office! Meeting people and being a part of something special (whether it’s a wedding, a valentine, a birthday). Driving away from a wedding venue on a Saturday with a total high thinking, ‘yeah, that was a good one’. Hanging out with your mate at work all day. And obviously, the leftovers.
You’ve recently gone full time and moved into a new studio – how exciting – how are you feeling about that big step?
50% terrified, 50% utterly elated. Suddenly this isn’t just us having fun, it’s our income and we have to worry about cash flow and paying rent and feeding ourselves and our pets and our fellas, and ensuring that the weight of the responsibility doesn’t become heavier than the reasons we did this in the first place. So yeah, it feels big! But it feels like the right step, mainly because our houses were looking like something from ‘The Hoarder Next Door’ and the fear of being reported to Channel 4 meant that it was entirely necessary to move vases and flowers elsewhere.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d like to give to a couple choosing their flowers?
Pick the right florist! We do our best to get the most out of someone’s budget, helping them work out the best way to allocate it to suit their floral and spacial priorities. We are totally bespoke – we will not force our tastes or processes on a couple, but listen to their ideas, creating something wonderful with them.
Couples shouldn’t think they have to settle for something they don’t want; of course they can be guided in terms of seasonality, a realistic budget and what is feasible, but they should never feel that it is all running away from them or that they have lost their voice.
We’ve seen on your twitter that you often do workshops – have you got any events coming up?
We run workshops at Stories on Broadway on Broadway Market quarterly, which we announce on our social media channels. We also offer private workshops for groups as part of a package catered by and held at Plump Cafe in Hackney. These are really great fun and an excellent idea for birthdays, hen parties or a group of pals treating themselves.
We agree. Thanks Jess & Charlie. Head over to their website to see more of their beautiful flowers.
And if you’re planning your wedding, make sure you check out the other companies we recommend.