At the beginning of March this year, I finally made it over to Perth, Australia to visit one of my favourite people on the planet. Caz and I went to University together and lived together and were pretty much a package deal. After University there were jobs, there were boys and there was travelling and Caz and I spent as much time together as possible until she left! For a life down under. I will NEVER forgive her! Although she comes back as often as possible and it’s then like she never left, This is the first time in 14 years I made the trip to her. So I abandoned the husband and kids and boarded a plane not knowing how bad the Coronavirus would get. We had 14 fantastic days together and even squeezed in a trip to Bali whilst the virus seemed to be just behind us everywhere we went. Thank goodness I got back when I did.
Whilst in Perth, I felt I needed to do something Podcast related so I managed to meet up with Clare, owner and florist of The Flower Girl Perth. She welcomed us in to her very warm studio and we had a talk about Her career and style and how it is to work down under.
Clare is originally from Scotland and in her early career even had a floristry position at The Ritz in London. Her floristry style is now completely different, as is her working environment and weather. Here is an insight into our chat.
Jess: How did you start in the world of floristry?

Clare: My first job was as a Countryside Ranger in Scotland, kind of like the National Trust. I always loved nature and trees; botanicals, after a few Scottish winters outside mending fences and planting trees I decided it was too hard and I had been offered a job in my local village florist shop as an apprentice.
I did one day a week at college to learn the trade but mould it boring there so I really learnt on the job instead.

Jess: But you managed to leave Scotland and make it to the Big Smoke and work at the Ritz.

Clare: It’s not as glamorous as it sounds. I moved to London with my boyfriend, he was cheffing at the Ritz and I was working at a florist on the Portabello Roadwe used to have people like Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue and Liam Gallagher coming in but this was back in the ’90’s when he was cool! We used to have the contract for one of The Sultan of Brunai’s houses and we’d put flowers in every room just in case someone came to the house. I couldn’t believe the money that was being spent. It was a cool time.

Jess: Sao when you went to the Ritz, were you doing big weddings and events?

Clare: No, no, nothing like that. I did a lot of cleaning bud vases, usually the weddings were outsourced and we decorated the Palm Court and flowers in rooms.

Jess: And then you moved to Australia in 2014.

Clare: Yeah, I came over with my husband on a working visa and didn’t want to go back. I started working in an upmarket deli and they actually sponsored me to stay. I had to stay and work with them for four years so I did my sentence.
I set up on my own when I was pregnant with my daughter.

Clare: Instagram was just getting going and it has been a turning point for so many florists…. and Facebook. Such great platforms.

Jess: Your grid is amazing, you obviously use it very well.

Clare: Oh, Thank You. I like finding out what people like. You can gauge what people find beautiful from the reactions to the posts on Instagram.

Jess: You have such a design eye, is this a natural talent or has it developed over time?

Clare: It’s a niche you fall in to following your own preferences. I don’t like following structural rules and luckily my clients love it.

Jess: Vic and I think that Australian floristry styles are totally on trend right now with the pampus grass and bleached foliage.

Clare: I call it Scandi style. I think it’s because all of the palms we have here, growing naturally so it’s a sustainable style for us. Yes, we have to combine it with imported roses but we are using what we have. Five years ago it would have been classes as ‘dead stuff’ but now it’s really trendy.

While I was sat in Clare’s studio , wilting like the English Rose I am, she had armfuls of locally sourced foliages delivered including the most beautiful dark burgundy variety of eucalyptus. She was conditioning beautiful big garden roses, all in blush tones, I was in love with the combination.

Clare: I’ve found since coming to Australia that there are massive budgets for flowers. Every year events just get bigger and bigger. With wedding work, I used to be able to fit a whole wedding in my hatch back and now I have my Mum van filled up and that’s still not big enough. It used to be a few jars and now it’s hanging structures and big arrangements.

Jess: Your workshop is so lovely to look around, I keep spying more dried stuff to look at.

Clare: Thank You, it’s a nice getaway from my Husband and Kids.

Clare mentioned that there is a shortage of florists in WA! I’m not quite sure I could cope with the heat but maybe next time I’m over we’ll run into each other again.

Disappointed that my recording was not good enough but Thank You so much for having me Clare xxx

Clare, I hope you don’t mind me sharing these, I love how they show exactly how styles have changed xxxx