Workshops for interns & freelancers & knowing that you're not alone in your creative journey

Okishima & Simmonds goody bags for all attendees with Gooseberry Moon notebooks & Lancaster & Cornish ribbon samples.

A few months ago, Jessie & I decided to host a workshop for interns & freelancers, with & without floristry experience. Our reasoning behind this was our way of hosting interviews to find potential future members for the O&S team. Especially as I am about to embark on a long adventure for a few months, we wanted to ensure that Jessie had the best team so that I also felt safe in the knowledge that she had the support she needed while I was away.

We have always said from the very beginning, that we wouldn't just want to hire florists, because we are both creative people, our skills are not purely limited to floristry, & we like to learn & expand our skills sets & meet people with different stories to tell that can bring something new to the table. I myself had barely started floristry when we started our business. I had only been doing it for a year on & off. Jessie on the other hand had been doing for 10 years! Despite our different floristry skill levels & knowledge, we both came from a completely different creative background - Fine Art. This in no way meant we couldn't achieve what we wanted to & live out our dreams.

Therefore our aim for this workshop (which we didn't realise would book up so fast so we had to add another date! - We were inundated with people interested to work for us & we were so amazed & complimented by the wonderful amount of interest.) was to bring people together, that we felt based on the information they had provided us, would potentially be a good fit for our team. Not only that however. We also wanted to ensure that no matter who ended up being a more permanent part of the team, that everyone would at least get the opportunity to do some form of work experience with us at some point, & also to have taken away something from our way of working, as well as meeting people with the same mind-set & similar journeys. At least, this meant that no matter where everyone ended up, they would have at least made contacts in the floristry industry & would be able to help each other out, & wouldn't feel singled out & alone, as we know how difficult it can be to find people that truly understand your passion & need to venture out on your own & do what you love. This is a tale & a ramble for another time I assure you! :p

Another thing, is that we believe that one-on-one interviews are completely unrealistic & do not let the true personality of an individual shine through. For example: Jessie is confident & doesn't get nervous that easily. She is a doer & gets things done, she's loud, funny & upfront. She would most likely excel in an interview because she doesn't shy away as easily as me & she is able to take on public speaking in general with a lot more ease than myself... I on the other hand have such a nervous disposition, & I can be quite shy. It doesn't come across that way all the time, but it really comes out when I have to speak in front of a large group of people, am in front of a camera or video or even when my birthday cake arrives at a large table of friends & all attention is on me. I hate it. I don't like being the centre of attention - I prefer to the be the tree at a school play that hovers in the corner! Therefore, my point is that in an interview I was also so so nervous & I would stutter & say the wrong thing, or not say what I had intended on saying. It was awful, & as much as I still did manage to get the jobs I wanted - I lucked out & some other part of me obviously shone through, my passion perhaps, & the fact that I did usually do my research of a company that I wanted to apply for. Or maybe it was just pure luck. These things given, this is why we didn't want to just do a serious interview process. We wanted people to be comfortable & not feel singled out. To be able to bounce off people, the way we do in day to day life, in all jobs & when at our happiest. THIS is when their true personalities get the chance to shine, being able to see them work hands on. Floristry isn't sitting on chairs all day, it's very hands on & interactive so why not put them to work & see how they put their creativity into practice.

Day one

We did a brief overview of how we started out & what our back stories were. We then went round & got everyone to introduce themselves. I then did a demonstration of a typical O&S arrangement that could be translated into contracts, weddings or even just your own home. Jessie then taught how to make a basic petit bouquet, & then got the attendees to make their own. At this point it was so interesting to see how everyone's style & way of working was so different. Some had lots of floristry experience, others had barely any if not at all. Everyone did such a fantastic job!

The way that we teach is we teach the basics of how to condition flowers, & treat them properly up until the point of where you start arranging your flowers. We don't believe in an exact science, & often exclaim that "it should be done this way... But at O&S we always break the rules!" It's about being realistic. The initial stages must be done properly, like cutting the stems at an angle, & conditioning them etc etc. However thereafter, it is up to your eye to judge what you think works & what doesn't. This is of course partly our style, but this is also your chance to be creative, so why would we limit you from doing this? We merely state that to help you get started, you look at the way that flowers & foliage speak for themselves & see how they fall. The rest of basically up to you. We encourage, movement, growth, texture, bits that stick out. 

Next, Ayako from A's flower, who we invited to showcase her talents, & teach the attendees, taught them how to make a simple yet elegant flower crown, using herbs & some flowers. Everyone then was given the opportunity to make their own. Again, everyones visions were so different & it was such a pleasure to see how different they all were.

Jules from Floral Angles also spoke about what they do. A great charity where they recycle & repurpose used flowers & foliage from florists from all over London, then redistributing them to those that need them, such as care homes, women's refuges, cancer centres & then some. they are a truly wonderful & selfless cause & if you haven't already heard of them, please take a look at their website.

We believe in collaborating because there's nothing wrong with helping each other & people are very quick to dismiss that. We're only human we don't hold all the answers to everything so focus on what you're good at but allow others to showcase their talents too. You will learn something new and it will enrich your life.

The attendees & Ayako with their flower crowns & bouquets!

The attendees & Ayako with their flower crowns & bouquets!

Day two

Day two was very similar but Jessie taught the flower crowns & we had Cecelina of Cecelina Photography, who is someone we try to work with as often as we can. She is a very talented fine art destination wedding photographer. Her style is very in keeping with ours, so I love it when she agrees to take photos of our work, or we work on a shoot together, as I know we will always get the most gorgeous photos out of it! :p She has taught me about photography & post-processing & is so generous with her time. She spoke about her inspirational creative journey, & I know that myself & all the attendees really resonated with her story. 

Frances from Floral Angles then spoke about their charity on this day.

Day two's attendees!

Day two's attendees!

All in all, it was a huge success, & we met some amazing people. Everyone had a passion for something, floristry & not. I love being surrounded by people & hear their stories, their struggles & their future plans. I learnt as much from them as I hope they did from us.

Here's to new friends & to all your futures! We wish you all the best of luck! :)

- C