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 Tutor, Theo Goffe.
How did you get into the world of floristry, Theo?
I got into the world of floristry through a close friend, who’s mum is the founder of McQueens Flowers. I used to come help on weekends, so I guess I have been a florist since I was 16. At that time, I was studying art, but I didn’t like studying, and I preferred working. There was a job availability at McQueens Flowers so I took it and left school.
What were you doing before McQueens Flowers?
I was studying art at school, specifically fashion accessories. I think studying art helped me a lot in my transition to floristry because the two have a lot in common. Any art form relates to floristry, because you have design elements like composition, colour, and light involved when working as a florist. Having studied these concepts, it bridged the gap and made it a natural transition.
Describe your role...
I'm a Senior Tutor at the McQueens Flower School. I teach the art of floristry to aspiring florists or anyone who is interested in it. I am passionate about sharing the skills and knowledge that I’ve acquired over 13 years, I enjoy bringing people together.
Do you have a favourite flower or floral season?
I find that hard because, it's like asking a musician what their favourite song is. I’m always changing. In terms of season, I love spring and autumn. The in-between seasons where you see changes. It’s easy to forget what happens with flowers in the cold winter, and then spring comes, and you’re reminded how beautiful blooming flowers are again.
What about a favourite floral design?
I love making mantlepieces. I like them because it feels like a landscape and everything is on a perfect height, no awkward positioning, no climbing ladders, comfortable arrangements to make, you can see everything. To me, mantlepieces are a blank canvas – they're really adaptable/versatile, for example, you can design a garland for Christmas, create a set of vases, low arrangement, or wild design – anything goes.
What about floristry inspires you?
I think it’s trying to mimic nature on a smaller scale. Taking what interests you in nature, and trying to replicate that in a smaller environment. It’s the contrast between wanting to be in nature, but in a city at the same time, so it’s the harmony of the two. Also, I see floristry work as sculptural, replicating what sculptural art does for people – there is instant attraction to the eye because of the way flowers can be arranged to create harmony in composition. Flowers are tactile and each one has a different purpose, there are different textures, smells, all the senses are involved with creating floristry.
What do you think makes the McQueens Flower School Special?
I think what makes McQueens Flower School special is the fact that all the tutors teach differently, we all have a range of floristry knowledge and styles. We are not structured in terms of telling people what to do, the real floristry world is not like that – we have to be adaptable to the customer. Another unique thing about us is that we always have a strong commercial stronghold, we have a lot of contracts all over London. The tutors at the school have knowledge of contracts and real-world applications of being a florist and we happily share the commercial value of teaching. I believe it’s important to learn how to take the skills and knowledge and turn it into a profitable potential business in the future. The course is an investment for knowledge, we don’t only make beautiful arrangements, we want people to walk away feeling equipped and ready to go into potentially running their own business.
What do you think is the next trend in floristry?
I think, and not sure if this will be a real trend, or a new staple of floristry, I personally think everything will go on a smaller scale. By that I mean it won’t be about “showing off” with masses of flowers. Gradually, it will be more about where the flowers have come from. People will invest in British-grown flowers, reclaiming growing spaces within the UK. This bridges into what we believe in across McQueens Flowers, which is sustainability, and harvesting and cultivating it within the UK. Quality flowers can be grown locally. We’re educating people about those flowers, and what we have to offer within our own borders.
What has been your career highlight at McQueens?
Definitely going to LA for the Oscars Vanity fair party. McQueens Flowers created palm trees out of palm leaves, tried to mimic the spirit of LA for the party….and then we got to attend the party…. No more words needed!