Rowan Blossom is a florist, author and stylist... there are many stems to this ladies bouquet. Ever since we spotted her floral extravaganza of a wedding last year we have been admiring Rowan's floral filled life through the window of Instagram.
Sitting down with Rowan we got discover her journey from Fashion to Floristry.
Images captured by Briony Lewis
Rowan Blossom, what a strange time it is for the world! How are you doing? How is lockdown treating you?
Gosh yes, it truly is such a surreal time for everyone. We are in lockdown at my parent's home in Gloucestershire, and although I am obviously missing my London life (and my wardrobe – I packed in such a hurry I have the strangest array of garments!), I’m certainly not missing our tiny one bedroom flat!
I’m feeling extremely grateful for my parent’s lovely garden and house, and being here with my husband Johnny, sister Briony and her boyfriend Philly means we are having a rather jolly time together! We are very lucky to have each other as company, and whilst my parents are on the NHS frontline (they are both superstar GPs) and the boys are getting on with working from home, Briony and I are loving ‘playing house’ – there’s been a lot of cooking and keeping the household in ship shape! Our two old dachshunds Tarqy and Orly are providing us with a good dose of fresh air on our daily walk (the poor little sausages have never been so fit!).
I’m just really loving how much more time there seems to be in the day without the usual distractions of work, and am trying to embrace this time for what it is. It’s out of our control, but I think it's so important to keep positive and bring joy into your day at this time, however you can!
You have a knack for surrounding yourself with beauty: What inspires you the most?
You have a knack for surrounding yourself with beauty – what inspires you the most?That's so sweet, thank you for saying that! I try to surround myself with anything that sparks happiness and evokes memory. I love collecting treasures from all over the UK and around the world.
I'm a real magpie - if something catches me eye, I find it impossible to not buy it, as I know I’ll spend forever wishing I had! I have to say travel is a huge source of inspiration. Our parents love travelling so we were lucky enough to be brought up travelling around the globe as little ones, so it really has instilled a curiosity and passion for different cultures, people and environment.
Johnny and I were recently in Mexico, which was a truly sensorial experience. The incredible use of colour and texture, the mind blowingly delicious food, the lifestyle - and let's not forget the margaritas! All so vibrant and full of a joie de vivre. I cannot wait for the next time we can set off on another adventure… one day!
What do you look forward to returning to the most in the country, and what keeps you coming back to London?
I know, I seriously count my lucky stars every time we get on the M4 on a Friday evening and whizz back to the ‘Shire! Our parents still live in the house we grew up in, so it still feels like home to be honest. The village itself is sleepy and sweet, but that’s what I love the most, the peacefulness is enveloping and such a stark contract to the vigour of London.
Dreamy weekends in Gloucestershire, to me, are all about long walks whatever the weather, lazy lunches in our favourite pub The Woolpack, and exploring the county hunting for treasure – antiquing and car booting are my vice!My mother grew up and was schooled in London, but when we were growing up we didn’t really have much to do with the city, so it had this kind of mystique and allure and all I dreamt of was living there ‘one day’!
I chose to study History of Art at Courtauld Institute of Art university almost solely because it was in Central London and gave me the key to the city! I moved there when I was 19 – I’m now 31 and have no immediate plans to leave the city! Time flies!
Naturally I have this sort of effervescent energy, and London reflects and matches that perfectly – there’s always a new restaurant to try, play to see, ballet to enjoy – the way it evolves means I’m kept on my toes and I love that!
How would you describe your personal style?
My star sign is Gemini (characterised by Twins Castor and Pollux) and although I’m not particularly “into” star signs, I do think my sense of style has two personalities!
Day to day I rotate a basic sort of uniform, and as I’m always on the go comfort is always key for me – so I love denim or wide leg slouchy corduroy pants and will pair with a frilly cotton blouse or t-shirt and great knitwear.
Strong tailoring features heavily in my uniform to add a polished edge.If I’m dressing up, or for something a little jazzier I love clashing prints – leopard print, florals and stripes are my go-to – and adore wearing colour, something that I never did before I worked with flowers, and playing with bold and exaggerated silhouettes
Your move from the fashion to the blooming lovely world of floristry, tell us about that.
It may sound like a huge jump, but in reality they are quite similar industries! There is of course beauty and glamour, but equally lots of long days and physically and mentally tiring work, but I love them both!
Despite studying History of Art, all I was fixated about was working in the fashion industry. I landed an internship with designer Matthew Williamson straight after graduating, which led to a full-time job, and I ended up staying for five years! I loved the brand and my team, many of whom are still great friends, but I was seeking a creative challenge and realised that flowers were my passion! It didn’t take much prompting to follow the dream, and here I am five years later! I wouldn’t change a thing.
As an entrepreneur and running your own business what have been some of the biggest challenges for you?
I think one of the biggest challenges with running your own business, particularly when you’re starting out, is taking on too much and saying Yes to every opportunity that comes to you – I am 100% guilty of doing this, and it left me feeling depleted and exhausted – and that is someone who prides herself on having bounds of energy! It’s unsustainable!
Nowadays I am much more selective with what events, projects and brands I work with, making sure that we align not just in aesthetic but principles too!Another thing I have found challenging at times is that when you’re running your own business and it’s just you, no team mates, it can feel incredibly lonely. Not good for someone like me who loves people! But I’ve built a network of amazing support, and this is where I feel the power of Instagram is incredible
It’s so nice to feel part of a community, albeit it digital one, and I really enjoy being able to connect and communicate with people in this way!
Your first book ‘Living with Flowers’ was published last year, what an amazing achievement! Tell us about the inspiration behind the book and a bit about your writing process.
It was my little book's first birthday on 1st April, which seems bonkers – this past year has absolutely flown by! It still feels so bizarre to think I have a published book, which is also now available in Spanish and German editions - we've gone global!
I was lucky enough to be approached and commissioned by the incredible Camilla Morton. I hadn't really thought about writing a book before this, so was delighted and honoured to be considered! My style of floristry is very free and open - I am a trained florist, but I don't really love the aesthetic of traditional floristry.
I think flowers should be a part of everyone's life, so the idea was formulated to produce a sort of 'recipe book' for floral arrangements. It starts at simple bud vases and kitchen jugs all the way to a hanging floral chandelier! My idea was to make floristry approachable and accessible to all, which I hope it has done.
Walk us through the day in the life of Rowan
Every day is different with floristry and events, which is one of the things I love most about my job. I try to exercise every day, whether that's a quick run or I love to mix up classes, reformer pilates and HIIT are my favourites!
I've always been a morning bird (I share insomnia tendencies with my Mama!) so the early starts for market have never really been a problem. If we have an event, it's usually a 2:00am wake up to get to the flower market, which seems brutal, but is actually fine, you just have to get on with it (LOTS of coffee helps!), otherwise I'm usually awake naturally around 06:00am.
If it has been a flower market morning, we will go straight to the studio and prep the blooms for whatever event we are working on, which can range from styling a shoot to dressing a fashion dinner. You always want the flowers to be the most blousy and beautiful for an event, so this can mean buying them up to three days in advance to ensure they open in time. It’s a fickle business!
If we’re not working on an event the day will be structured around the studio, where we design, scheme and moodboard events, or heading into town for site visits and client meetings. No two days are the same, which keeps me on my toes!
Johnny and I are real foodies and indulge our love of eating out whenever we can – Ida in Kensal Rise, The Cow and good old Electric House are our neighbourhood classics. For a special night out we love going to early supper at J Sheekey then ballet at the Royal Opera House (Johnny is amazing at nabbing cheap tickets at the start of the season, often costing less than it would to go to the cinema!).Once home, I try and fit in a couple of pages of whatever book I’m reading before bed, although I’m notoriously hopeless at finishing books!
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
Ooooh, that’s such a tricky question! There is so much I love about my job, I mean I’m working with gorgeous fresh seasonal blooms, creating beauty for wonderful clients, that’s pretty much the dream for me! I think the favourite thing is seeing the reaction people have to flowers – there is nothing more pure, joyful or celebratory.
This current climate is giving us all plenty of time to dream and plan our futures, do you have anything exciting to look forward to?
I couldn’t agree more, it’s the perfect time to dream! I’m very lucky to be in isolation with my little sister Briony, who is my partner in business and blooms. We have been working on a big project together over the past six months, which sadly has been put on the back burner for now, but we are using the time to reflect, plot and plan. In the meantime, we have another writing project we are working on, which is very exciting and keeping us out of too much mischief!
This time has been the most amazing opportunity to be together and focus on the future and we are brimming with ideas, so watch this space!
Thank you so much Rowan! Follow Rowan Blossom on Instagram for more floral inspiration