Theres a face behind the flowers - Meet Sian Wild
I don't often like to stick my head above the blooms, I prefer our flowers to take centre stage, but after much cajoling from the lovely Rona Wheeldon from Flowerona, I have decided that the time has come to say ‘Hi.’
So, for those that don’t know me, my name is Sian Wild and I own the Flower Lounge in Didsbury. I guess with a name like ‘Wild’, and parents who run a landscaping and gardening business, you could say green fingers are part of our blood line.
Maybe that’s why I absolutely love what I do… and why I’m braving this rather personal blog.
It all started 16 years ago when I completed my City and Guilds Floristry course and decided to get as much experience under my belt as possible; working in everything from the local village florist to a large city centre shop. I worked hard and learnt from some of the best, cutting my teeth (and a few stems!) on weddings and events all over the country and in Europe.
This gave me the knowledge and confidence to launch The Flower Lounge in 2009. Having my own florist shop was something I always knew that I would do and even after 7 years in business and working 12 to 14 hour days, I still love my job!
For any budding florist out there, you have to be passionate about what you do. A typical day will often start pretty early with a trip to the flower market or catching up on paper work. Before the shop opens, we’ll be conditioning the flowers – stripping the leaves, trimming and placing in fresh water – so that the flowers are in the very best condition for our customers. We then create orders that need to go out for delivery and deal with any new orders that come in that day. Towards the end of the day I catch up on enquiries and often have wedding consultations most evenings.
I am proud to say that having won the North West Wedding Florist of the Year for two years running, brides and grooms from across the country have been keeping us very busy, particularly on weekends. Days off are a thing of the past! But, I have a great team and I get to meet extraordinary people every day.
So, whilst there are the daily tasks involved in running a florist shop, I can truly say that no one day is ever the same. Trends are all ways changing, there’s new customers, new events and weddings to plan and every single design we produce is unique. Every shape of the flower, bend of the stem is completely different and beautiful, so it has to be the most creative and inspiring place to work.
The real highlight for me is when we deliver a bouquet to a bride and it takes her breath away. There’s so much emotion involved and they usually shed a tear or two (good tears I may add!). Even now I get butterflies just before delivering a bouquet. But it’s not always peaches and cream, like any job you have the odd comedy moments.
Just a few weeks ago I was moving some dirty water and managed to empty the entire bucket down one side of my body – top to bottom – only moments before a bride-to-be walked in the shop for her appointment. I ended up having to do the appointment with dripping wet, hair; not my best look…
However, I think the reason I’m still so passionate about what I do is that being a florist, there’s almost a never ending opportunity to learn new skills, techniques and styles. I experiment with flowers every day and attend at least two courses a year to absorb new ideas and feed my creativity.
This year we were honoured to become a member of the esteemed Chapel Designers. Positioned as a ‘gathering of stylish wedding experts’, Chapel Designers is committed to promoting excellence amongst florists and event creatives. Offering support, training and mentoring, their mission is to encourage and cultivate individual talent. I literally came away bursting with ideas!
Similarly, I was privileged to be asked to join the advisory panel of the recently relaunched Good Florist Guide. Equivalent to the Good Hotel Guide or Good Pub Guide, it offers its users independent advice on the best florists in their area. It’s completely merit-based and the florists who gain accreditation do so because of their skills, passion and commitment to standards of excellence.
This has to be a career high for me. As you can imagine I was falling over myself with enthusiasm when not only were we approved for membership, but I was asked to join such a skilled panel of florists. I am so driven by championing the incredible skills that exist in our profession and supporting those who recognise that outstanding quality and exceptional customer service is what sets them apart, not competing with the supermarkets.
Aside from giving The Flower Lounge presence on a national scale, being an integral part of the Good Florist Guide also allows me to fly the flag for the North too. It’s so important that the needs and voices of the many, many gifted florist professionals beyond the Watford Gap are heard. We have some amazing talent in the North and some fantastic suppliers too. I have just started to work with a local grower, so watch this space!
Aside of my passion for flowers and growing ambitions, I love the outdoors, my dog Charlie and have a weakness for veggie Percy Pigs from M&S. My favourite season is Autumn and am inspired by everything that’s around me, from art and design, fashion and interiors, to wildlife and nature.
I recognise how incredibly lucky I am to love what I do and wake up each morning excited by the day ahead (well except on admin days!). If you’re equally passionate about floristry and share my vision for quality and creativity, I’d love to hear from you. We are always looking for talented and inspiring individuals to join our team.
Right, time to roll my sleeves up…