The Flower Appreciation Society is the brainchild of Anna Day and Ellie Jauncey, two art school graduates who met in a Hackney pub and discovered a shared passion for flowers. Little could they have imagined that within just seven years, they would have published a book, decorated a product launch at Liberty’s and been branded “fashion’s favourite florists” by The Daily Telegraph and one of “London’s hippest florists” by the Evening Standard.
When they met behind the bar of The Scolt Head in Hackney, Anna had just been on a floristry course at Capel Manor College, and would stay late after work talking flowers with Ellie. Ellie’s mum is a florist and Ellie had worked alongside her on leaving art college. After a while, the girls persuaded the pub to let them do the weekly flowers. “We would take hours over it,” laughs Ellie. “We only earned £30 a week, and most of that went towards buying a camera to take photographs of our designs.”
As their ambition grew to start a flower business, they struggled over what to call themselves. The answer unexpectedly came during an evening listening to Neil Young. “Our friend Chris said there should be a Neil Young Appreciation Society. And that was it: The Flower Appreciation Society!” says Ellie. “The name gives us freedom to do more than just cut flowers, to venture into other areas like product design, as Anna has done with the illustrations for Molton Brown.”
“Anna’s illustration background meant we had a different look from what was around at the time and so we got noticed,” explains Ellie of the rapid growth in their media profile. “Our website and blog are really important, and we completely rely on social media. We get a lot of our weddings through Instagram.”
At the time, friends in their late twenties started getting married and leads through the pub gave the fledgling business some perfectly-timed wedding flower commissions. Today, The Flower Appreciation Society runs flower workshops, creates wedding and event flowers, dresses product launches and makes up bespoke bouquets to order.
“Our style is loose and informal,” explains Anna. “Our customers trust our eye. We ask them to give us a colour palette, and we provide a list of the types of flowers that might be available. This gives us the freedom to choose whatever’s looking good, and from April to October that’s mostly British flowers and foliages.”
Appreciating the Flower Market
“I remember coming to the New Covent Garden for the first time with Capel Manor College,” says Anna. “I had just £20 to spend, and it was quite intimidating, but I loved the buzz, the feel of the place and the variety from the start.”
Ellie came to the Flower Market for the first time with florists, Rebel Rebel, for whom she was working at the time. “They introduced me to Dennis Edwards on the then John Austin stand, and I remember feeling embarrassed because I felt they could sense I was a novice! I got to know them all simply by coming to Market regularly, learning even if I didn’t always have much to spend. But whenever we have a big job, it is a lovely feeling to have money to spend with them.''
“We love the whole atmosphere. We hate ordering, as we love choosing every single bunch ourselves,” says Ellie. “We dedicated a whole chapter in our book to the Flower Market. The wholesalers have amazing stories, and we wanted to document the Market. It’s a special place. We visit twice a week generally. Coming to Market is an experience, so much more than just a transaction.”
“We will take a good look round the whole of the Flower Market, and pick what catches our eye,” explains Anna. “But we have our favourite regulars, where we will buy first: Zest Flowers, GB Foliage, Pratley, Dennis Edwards, Bloomfield and when the British dahlias arrive later on in the Summer, Richie from Alagar is the man. We always park outside GB Foliage, because they make us a cup of tea every time!”