Jane Packer Flowers is one of the world’s best-known florists. Their design philosophy revolutionised the British cut flower industry and their Career Course has launched hundreds of flourishing florists’ careers.
It seems that Charlotte Slade was destined to be an integral part of this story as fate intervened on more than one occasion.
Charlotte was studying A levels in business, art and textiles when she first dipped her toe into the world of flowers. Her mother said she needed a Saturday job, and set her up with a friend who was a florist nearby.
Saturdays were relatively quiet at this shop, and so the florist invested time in training Charlotte, whose confidence grew as she realised that she had a talent.
“I started working on flat bouquets and it took months until I was allowed to make a hand-tie!” Charlotte recalls.
It was this florist who first mentioned Jane Packer to Charlotte and suggested she attend the Jane Packer Career Course. It was the first time Charlotte had ever heard the name, but was not to be the last!
Charlotte disregarded that initial advice and took an Art Foundation course at Thurrock.
Fate intervened once more, for the tutor teaching fashion at the college was Jane Packer’s sister, Jill. Charlotte went to see her in her lunch break and three days later was on work experience at Jane Packer Flowers in New Cavendish Street.
It was a career that was meant to be.
Charlotte soon moved into full-time paid employment with the company and worked closely with Jane Packer, for instance on the book ‘Jane Packer - At Home with Flowers’ and on Jane Packer Delivered, the flowers by courier division that Charlotte now runs.
Buying at the Flower Market
Flowers have taken Charlotte around the world. She has taught in Kuwait, Beijing and New York, but she still remembers walking into New Covent Garden Flower Market for the first time.
“I brought myself up on a Saturday morning,” recalls Charlotte. “I remember walking in by C Best and seeing all the massive containers. It really hits you. I remember thinking “Do people actually use them? How do they use them?” It was an eye-opening introduction to the world of London event floristry!
The Jane Packer vans are a regular sight at the Flower Market, bringing career course students, buying flowers, foliages and plants for different areas of the business.
“We buy plants from Quality Plants for our store at John Lewis,” says Charlotte.
”And we love the British dahlias when they are in season. We have two deliveries a week and we buy them by the bucket load! The hydrangea from GB Foliage are a real favourite of ours in the early autumn as are the berried foliage and the ivy.”