Every fortnight we invite you to take a peek behind the scenes at McQueens Flowers and meet the people who form the fabric of who we are, and what we create. Today we have the pleasure of introducing you to our London-based Senior Florist, Izzy Roberts.
So Izzy, tell us how you got into floristry?
I used to work in fashion as a stylist and I wanted to do something more creative and hands-on and floristry really appealed to me. The McQueens Flower School ‘Career Course’ really appealed to me and so I enrolled. I did the four-week course and then was lucky enough to get work experience at the company over Christmas. I worked with both the Events department and the Shop Team and I absolutely fell in love with the work, and after Christmas, I was offered a full-time job.
What was one of your favourite projects in the school?
It is difficult to choose because there is such a great variety offered in the Career Course but I found it really satisfying learning to make a good hand-tie as this is the basis of most floristry and once I had mastered this, I felt more confident in my abilities. But I think ‘Wedding Week’ was my favourite as the flowers were so lovely and everything felt all romantic and beautiful! It also involved all the intricate wiring and making wild hand-ties and creating the arch was a highlight.
What did it mean to you to get the job at McQueens Flowers?
It was a very proud moment for me because I did not have much experience in the industry and this meant they trusted my ability. And when I didn’t believe in myself, it was nice to know the company believed in me and was backing my decision to change careers which was really encouraging. Before McQueens I had done some freelancing and had looked at other school courses, but McQueens had a different energy and it felt relaxed and had this great atmosphere that made me feel comfortable. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. Each day we would come in and the sun would be coming through the windows, the flowers were ready on the display and I would feel excited. I felt like I could finally express myself and I was capable of achieving things.
Can you tell us about your first experience at McQueens Flowers?
From day one I hit the ground running and we were so busy with different events with the build-up to Christmas. After a couple of weeks, I was involved in my first big event, The Evening Standard Awards, and that was amazing doing all the flowers for that! It was incredible that I was laying tables of flowers for all these big names and that someone like Anna Wintour would see something I had made, it was unreal!
What has been your favourite thing about having a career in floristry?
When I worked in fashion, it was a lot more rulebound in its creativity and we were always following set trends and styles set by the brands we worked for. Floristry allowed me so much more creative freedom to explore my own personal style and create things I wanted to make and that could be appreciated by many. It was so liberating to be able to make something for the love of making something.
What does a typical day look like for you?
My day usually starts quite early installing designs in hotels or private houses with the occasional market trip to see what’s in season. This will be preceded by a day in the studio where we choose and bring down the vases from the archive and prepare them ahead of the next job. We’ll generally prep the flowers, make the installation, and load it all into the van so everything’s ready to go in the morning. After we have made sure everything is prepped, we check if other teams need any help before we head home to get some kip. There is usually also plenty of tea involved and a sweet treat or two!
Which do you prefer, the East End or the West End style?
East End every time! I love things wild and pretty and filled with various flowers like it came straight out of the garden.
In light of upcoming International Women's day, what does IWD mean to you?
International Women’s day is a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate all the great women throughout history, and all the women we personally know and love. But I think most importantly it holds a mirror up to society to see where and how we need to do better for women in society today.
Izzy's Bouquet of the Month
Discover Izzy's beautiful bouquet of the Month of March, Colette; filled with the scent and colour of spring, this joyful design is brimming with seasonal gems - from lilac tulips and Icelandic Poppies, to frilly ranunculus and dainty, scented narcissus - gathered together with a gently asymmetrical, garden style shilouette. Now available online with nationwide delivery across the UK, head over to Instagram or our online bouquet collection for a closer look.