Captivating passers-by in the bustling village of Navenby, Lincolnshire with its eye-catching window displays is Petal & Stalk Floral Design, a floristry business run by Abigail MacNiven.
Having launched the business just over two years ago, Abigail and her team create wild, natural floral designs for all manner of events and occasions, from small and intimate lunch and supper parties to large and elaborate celebrations.
Abigail says: “My interest in flowers first began in my late teens when I worked in a flower shop as a Saturday girl. I set my heart on attending a flower school in London. So, to finance it, I started a little craft business and made wooden decorations, which I sold in high-end gift shops. In the summer of 2014, I went on a four week career course at the Jamie Aston Flower School. My first big job was a few months later, when a well-connected friend invited me over to Sydney, Australia. She was having a big party and asked me to do the flowers!”
“On my return, I decided to set up a little Christmas pop-up shop on the High Street in Navenby, the village where I live. I did it for six weeks as a trial and sold wreaths and festive decorations. It was such a big success that I started to seriously consider setting up a permanent shop.”
“In March 2015, just before Mother’s Day, I took on a really lovely premises on the high street and launched Petal & Stalk Floral Design. The shop is perfect! It has a big front window, which we decorate and change every month. We always do something seasonal, with a bit of a theme. For example, we’ve created a butterfly, a flamingo and an angel. Our displays create interest and really draw people in, and the spin-off has been very positive and has resulted in requests from other businesses, to dress their windows.”
“Since opening, we’ve decorated more than 50 weddings, created floral designs for numerous events, funerals and corporates, as well as gift-wrapping untold bouquets for passing trade. The shop is open Tuesday to Saturday. I’ve got two part time staff and a Saturday girl. Plus for bigger events and weddings, I employ freelancers. Having two children, I try as best I can to work my business around my family life.”
“In January, I opened the Petal & Stalk Flower School in the Bell Tower within Wellingore Hall, a beautiful old building in the next village. We offer monthly flower classes for groups, including Spring Wreaths and Luxury Hand-Tied Bouquets and have hosted a really fun bridal shower, a fantastic corporate team-building afternoon and several get-together evenings for groups of friends.”
“Being the owner of my own floristry business is the happiest job I’ve ever had and I love everything about it. The best thing about the business is that every day is different. Each customer has a different tale to tell and the friends I’ve made are very special.”
“What I love about British flowers is their quirkiness, that they don’t follow the rules. They’re often not quite as you expect, as in they’re not usually uniform or perfectly straight.”
“Throughout the growing season, I buy British flowers from a fantastic local supplier, Maria Clark, who grows in a natural way, without greenhouses or tunnels. I often give her free rein and say I want two crates and let her give me what she has available, rather than specifically request particular flower varieties. I love the fact that she introduces me to new varieties of flowers. I also use foliage from my garden. And we’re busy cultivating our own cutting gardens, which is very exciting."
“In the shop this week, I’ll be handing out packets of bee friendly flower seeds from Lincolnshire and bird food to attract birds into your garden. And this coming Saturday, we’re holding a ‘Celebrating British Flowers Week’ class at our Flower School. We’ll be demonstrating how to arrange flowers in different style vases. And a local grower will be coming along to talk about her experience of growing a cut flower business and share some of her gardening tips.”