Who doesn’t love fresh wedding flowers? But before you order your big day blooms, a quick question, have you checked out the quality and realistic look of luxury artificial flowers recently? They’re definitely worth considering as the latest high-end floral reproductions are so amazingly lifelike and botanically correct that you may even be tempted to go up to a display to touch petals and run your fingers across leaves to find out.
Artificial flowers really have come such a long way in recent years and are definitely a viable alternative to fresh wedding flowers, with so many additional advantages. They are often less expensive, without compromising on quality and bouquets are lighter to hold. Faux flowers hold up well in both strong sunshine, with no wilting and can withstand heavy downpours, making them ideal for outdoor floral displays at your ceremony and venue. They’re a great choice for allergy suffers too.
For destination weddings, a faux flower bridal bouquet can be packed in a suitcase and should emerge fresh looking and unharmed. We also love the idea of artificial flowers as cake toppers, again there’s no danger of wilting even if your cake is set up several hours before your reception, the same applies to reception table flowers. Your guests may start to look a little tired at the end of a full day’s fabulous celebrations, but your flowers will still be going strong.
And of course, you can keep and treasure your bridal bouquet for many years to come. Gosh, we think we’ve chatted on enough, so it’s time to hand you over to Natasha, owner of Ferris Heart Sloane to tell you more about her business.
Tell us a little about yourself and your business
My husband Jonathan and I bought the business from a lady who was just about to return to a career with the BBC. I planned to take a career break as my youngest daughter Lottie was six months at the time and settle into the countryside. Quite a move from a zone 1 apartment to a house with a garden.
I am a Head of Marketing by day and have found a way to successfully juggle Ferris Heart Sloane, my marketing role and importantly the role of mum of two small children. Chloe is one and Lottie is now three.
What motivated you to start your business?
I have worked for multi-national, SME, start-up and charitable businesses with for over 20 years but I really wanted to step out of my comfort zone and run a business. Jonathan and I got married at a beautiful property in Surrey and would have loved to have decorated the venue extensively but it would have been very expensive with fresh flowers.
I certainly had a preconception that artificial flowers were cheap and artificial looking but was genuinely surprised at the quality and variety. In hindsight, I would have used artificial flowers at my wedding. They photograph so well.
Tell us a little more about the day to day activities of your business
We start early, often by 6.30am to run over the priorities for the day and to review what’s going on in our world on social media. Our work increasing involves bespoke orders so scheduling and time management is very important.
We also invest a lot of time creating new designs which is great fun and we’re lucky to have a small team of trained florists to bring the ideas to life. Whilst we do the majority of our business online or via phone, we do have clients come to visit us, as much to see the flowers as to meet us in person and we have an increasing number of collaborations so relationship building is very important to us.
If our readers were to order from you, what can they expect?
We’re fast – at replying to emails and working on briefs, we’re reliable – we meet deadlines and ship on time and we’re always friendly. I’m happy to say our feedback backs us up here!
How can couples judge if a company is the right fit for their wedding?
Two immediate things come to mind. The first is instinct. How a business makes you feel about working with you on your special day. Whether you get the sense they will go the extra mile. Be flexible and work with you if changes are needed.
The other is budget. Often we get couples come to us with pictures of things they like that they want to recreate at an affordable price. Whilst the best artificial flowers are not cheap, we have been able to save our clients upwards of 30% versus fresh arrangements.
What are your favourite moments from previous weddings you’ve been involved with?
Our most precise moment was the first wedding we designed all the flowers for. It moved us from what was essentially a flower shop to a full blown florist service. We’re also very touched and proud when we received cards and photographs.
The bigger picture – does your business offer goods/services outside of the wedding world? Tell us more
Yes we do. We supply our flowers for a wide range of occasions – charity balls (we offer our flower walls at no charge, clothing and product launches – our garlands were featured in Karen Millen stores in the UK and used at an event for Robinson’s at Ham Yard, London most recently, christening and naming days to name but a few.
What have you got planned for 2017?
We have so many ideas, often fuelled by our customers. We invite challenges and pride ourselves on looking as far and wide as possible to find exactly what they are looking for.
We also want to ensure we can accurately say we have one of the largest garland and flower wall collections so we are always expanding both.
And finally, what or who inspires you and why?
I used to head the London Chapter of global business women’s group Ellevate which I loved. So women in business in general inspire me.
But I’m really impressed by Southwood Stores – a fantastic group, intimate, trustworthy and some very successful women, often with some remarkable hurdles in their way that they find a way to jump over.
All images courtesy of Ferris Heart Sloane