It’s no secret. The gap between flower farmers and the new generation high end consumer is wide. Luxury florist Neill Strain turns the tide!
Neill is the proud owner of Floral Couture. This high-end boutique is based in Belgravia, London, the place to be for socialites, royalty and wealthy foreigners. Serving the rich and famous, his signature style is opulent and elegant with a theatrical twist. Is this his way to manage the gap?
Neill states, “ We are influenced by our clients’ desires and styles, but we always use the finest flowers. Sometimes this includes rare specimens, the longest stems and biggest blooms available from our specialised growers. With this extraordinary material we create luxurious designs, rich in colour and texture. We are renowned across the globe for theatrical installations with a show-stopping wow factor we create outside the Belgravia boutique throughout the year.”
Adapting to trends
Neill named the business Floral Couture because of his love of fashion: “We are very conscious of the fashions in our work at the boutique. Especially in our hand-tied bouquets and arrangements, we adapt to colour trends and the use of textures when appropriate. I firmly believe our luxurious designs and our theatrical installations do have a major influence on the floral industry.”
FCI asks him if there is such a thing as a typically English preference? “It is true that many English customers enjoy the soft hues that are reminiscent of a traditional English cottage garden. In Belgravia, however, we have a lot of non-British clients from Russia, the Middle East, China, the U.S. and other European countries. So we cater to all of these different tastes,” Neill answers.
Many years ago Neill learned that there were very high quality flowers from growers in Holland that he was not finding in the U.K. “Since then, I have spent time visiting the best growers, guided by my contact in Holland, to build a relationship with these people passionate about creating and growing the finest blooms. It is difficult for growers to know what our customers like; a flower that looks odd in the greenhouse because it is not quite like the rest can be beautiful when properly designed and presented to the customer. For a floral designer, to be aware and involved at the growing stage, however little, is beneficial – just as a good chef sources his vegetables and wants to know where and how they are grown. The story of the grower helps us to connect with our customers.”