KERI WALKER – KERI THE FLORIST
From being sprawled semi-naked in the Daily Mail to chivvying her neighbours into buying their girlfriends’ Valentine bouquets, there is little that Keri Walker won’t do in the name of flowers. A force of nature in her native Wallingford, Oxfordshire, she is delighted to be joining the GFG.
I was a Saturday girl at a florist in Wallingford when I was 14! It’s all I’ve ever done and I love it.
We’ve had our shop for coming up to 10 years and it’s in a small industrial estate on the outskirts of town. The rates are much, much cheaper than in town and we have great parking which is a unique selling point. We’re also next to a service station so boys on a Friday night spot us and think ‘better get the missus some flowers!’
I’m delighted to be part of the GFG. The way I explain it to people is that it’s like being in the Good Pub Guide except for florists! They really seem to get that. It’s great to be recognised in the industry and we use the logo on our van and on the door.
We’re trying to go down the environmental route and are doing ‘naked bouquets’. It just means more flowers and less packaging and who doesn’t want better value? We did a naked calendar for a local charity and my nipples were covered with Anthurium! It was fine till it got into the Daily Mail and my mum nearly choked on her coffee!
NICOLA HANNEY, WILD AND WONDROUS FLOWERS
A chance encounter with a careers’ officer at 15 sent Nicola into the world of floristry. After brief encounters with the fashion industry and a masters degree in enviromental management, she now runs her very own eco florist in Lancashire. Less packaging means more flowers!
I’ve always been environmentally minded and when I started my own shop it made sense to stick to my own values. We use less packaging and I can trace my flowers back to the farms where they are grown. It goes down really well with the customers. They get more value for money as there’s more flowers and less packaging. I also think what’s the point in buying an 80cm lily if you’re going to cut it down to 50cm to fit into a box?
I’m happy to be a member of the GFG because it’s a standard that has been achieved. This is a very trusting industry. The customer has to trust us because we can’t show what’s in our heads. Being part of the GFG gives the customer a sense that they know they’re going to get a high standard.
When I was 15, my mum dragged me to a careers’ officer. I told him I’d worked in a shop and that I liked art so he said ‘right, you’re going to be a florist’. I said ‘OK’. I didn’t even know what a florist was! It has turned out to be the right decision though.
SARA SUGGITT, OOPS-A-DAISY
Her flowers have been presented to Robbie Williams on live television and now she runs her own thriving shop in the Yorkshire seaside town of Bridlington. Inspired to go into floristry by her green-fingered aunt, Sara lives and breathes flowers so much she hates to leave her shop!
A famous flower arranger called Joyce Grimley moved into our tiny village and my Auntie Mary took me along to her classes. After that, I was totally hooked. I’d spend time with my aunt in her greenhouse. She’s very proud of me. She’s in her eightieth year now, still grows everything from seed and always wins the Village In Bloom!
This is my first shop of my own and we’ve been open for three and a half years. My son suggested the name. He said you’re always saying ‘oops-a-daisy’ so why don’t you call it that?
I find that people are much more interested in flowers these days and we get lots of request for modern designs.
I’ve always been so inspired by the GFG website so I’m really happy to become a member. I find other GFGers so helpful and it’s great to be connected.
I love my job so much I could do it all day. My husband comes down at 10 o’clock and says ‘when are you coming home?’. I always say ‘just one more bouquet!’