Whilst browsing on Instagram a few months back, we came across Bloomologie, we instantly fell in love with all the photos of the gorgeous wild blooms! We had to find out more about who was behind Bloomologie, and last week we did just that! We met the very talented and extremely lovely Ali and found out more about her floristry business.
How did you begin your career in the floral industry?
I love gardening and flowers and plants, so it all began with my own garden. I studied my RHS horticulture qualifications about ten years ago, and I loved growing my own flowers to cut (I'm a big fan of Sarah Raven who grows a cutting garden on the Kent/Sussex border and, at that time, also arranged them and did event flowers). But it wasn't until I had children that I did a college floristry course on maternity leave. I began making christmas wreaths and occasional bouquets and people starting asking if they could buy them, and do wreath-making workshops with me; so it grew slowly each year until 2015 when I finally went and did a business floristry course with Judith Blacklock (the Mary Berry of flowers!) and built a little website while getting experience at Moyses Stevens florists in Chelsea. That Christmas I did workshops at Blackheath Conservatoire and lots of private parties and before I knew it the business was up and running - people loved my Christmas work and images so much that I started to get wedding enquiries and events began to come my way. I was lucky enough to convert some of the skills from my previous work in magazines and newspapers to be able to do floral styling for photoshoots. I worked Rebel Rebel on their events and corporate contracts for the likes of Selfridges and the BAFTAs, as well as some pretty amazing weddings, which has really helped me to think creatively, but it always comes back to the garden and what's in season for me. That's where my inspiration starts.
Tell us how you started your company Bloomologie and what's happened from then up until now?
I was so frustrated that none of the flowers that you see in the shops (and many traditional florists) looked anything like the flowers in my garden, and by the stiff, unnatural style of them, that I decided to fill the gap in the market myself! I built Bloomologie from the ground up, using a mix Instagram and social media and local marketing (leaflets and local Facebook forums) to get the word out there, and always staying true to my "garden gathered" style that’s romantic, natural and a little bit wild. I only use seasonal flowers, that are British whenever possible (I even grow as many as I can myself) and I look for unusual flowers and local growers wherever I can fund them. I get my sweet peas and from Sussex, Dahlias from a grower in Essex (although I grow the best ones myself!), roses from Surrey and foliage from Devon (and sometimes even the hedgerows of south-east London). A friend has a farm in Kent and I raid his hedges and meadows for my wreaths at Christmas. In less than two years I’ve done photoshoots for bridal magazines such as You and Your Wedding, been on the cover of Perfect Wedding and Countryside magazine and made it into Vogue. Now we’re doing flowers for some of London’s best hotels and venues and we’ve just opened our flower studio in Blackheath in south east London.
What flowers have been popular this year so far?
Without doubt it's greenery - it's the Pantone colour of the year and I've got three foliage-only weddings this year, which I'm really excited about! I love that wild, organic, textured look that you get from foliage – our floral and foliage disco ball is one of our most pinned images and everyone loves them for a marquee or as a wow-statement piece. That is probably the other big trend – creating one-off floral installations that will be instagrammed and shared, and that everyone will remember afterwards.
What's your advice for brides-to-be on choosing which flowers are best for their wedding day?
Start with the season and stick to it. The strongest flowers that will look their best are those that are in season. It will also make your day look in sync with what's around you. My best advice is to choose a rough colour theme and a budget and then trust your florist to create the best of what's out there for you - that way you'll get the best value for your money and the best of the season. If you have one must-have flower, tell your florist but remember that no one can control nature - if it rains a few days before the wedding, there won't be any blossom that week! Or if it's a warm spring, like now, then you might be lucky enough to get a glut of bargain peonies that you weren't expecting (they normally aren't widely available until late May-June). My other piece of advice is spend your money where it will be seen – have a knock-out bouquet as it will be in all your photos and invest in one or two bigger pieces (maybe a show-stopping urn at the entrance or a hanging floral arrangement in a marquee) rather than lots of smaller average ones. And perhaps most obviously, have a look at a few florists’ websites and meet the ones whose style you like.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
From the garden and nature; from the venue I'm working at; and from the couple (or client) I'm working with. I start by looking around me to see what we can use to inspire us – whether it's the view, or something architectural at the venue, or a key flower or plant at the venue. I'm doing a marquee wedding for a couple in the autumn in their parents back garden, so we’re going to create a hanging meadow from the ceiling to echo the surroundings. I’ve got an Australian couple in June and so we’re going to use arid plants and foliage, such as eucalyptus, olive, echinops and protea to bring a bit of the outback to north London! I'm hugely excited about a wedding at the Barbican conservatory and also the Garden Museum – needless to say it will be the gorgeous green surroundings that will dictate what we do at those weddings…
What has been your career highlight so far?
Probably it was my biggest event last year, which was a launch for a new property development in Battersea where we used a Midsummer Night’s Dream theme and took lots of floral inspiration from the old English rose garden in Battersea Park opposite. There were two amazing floral arches, a flower wall six metres wide by 5 metres tall, metres and metres of floral garlanding and lots of urns of scented roses everywhere – we completely transformed the space and did it all using British flowers. It looked (and smelled) phenomenal.
Which areas do you cover and how long do you advise the couple to contact you before their big day?
I travel all over the UK, but most of my weddings tend to be in London and the Home Counties, especially in central, east and south-east London. Most couples either contact me really far in advance, or surprisingly close – some even just a couple of weeks before! If we can fit you in, we will always try.
What's the best part of your job?
I have two favourite parts – sourcing the flowers, which I put huge effort into as I like to by unusual, British and high quality flowers (and who doesn’t love shopping?!), and then seeing them come together to create something really beautiful as a finished product. I love that quiet moment before an event when everything is in place and looks fantastic.
And finally, what's your favourite flower?
Oh that is an almost impossible question. I think it’s the hellebore, but we’re just coming into peony season and they do just floor me, every time I see them…
We want to thank Ali for taking the time to talk to us and let us photograph her beautiful flowers! To find out more about Bloomologie or to contact Ali, head over to her website HERE