Who are you?
Kate Spicer of Kate Avery Flowers
What have you won?
Best Wedding Florist
What initially inspired you to take part in TWIA 2014?
I think the main attraction was that the main votes are cast by actual clients who really know your business and what you are really about. They cannot be anything but completely honest about the level of service and quality they receive.
How surprised were you to hear your name announced as the winner?
To be honest I was completely and utterly shocked! Unfortunately I was unable to attend the awards ceremony, as I was 39 weeks pregnant, so I was sat at home very glamorously on the sofa in my dressing gown waiting news. My husband and I were following the live feed on Twitter.
When “The Best Wedding Florist” was announced I had to hand the computer to my husband to check what was being said. When he confirmed it I burst into tears, which continued for the next hour!! I think it was a mix of pregnancy hormones and just complete shock at being announced the overall winner. That afternoon I had been looking at the other finalists’ webpages and they were all of such a high quality and standard and some much larger than myself. I just assumed that there was no way that my relatively small company, working from a workshop in my garden, could possibly win nationally. It was all very overwhelming.
What does winning The Wedding Industry Awards mean to you?
To win regionally was amazing, but to then be recognised nationally has just been beyond everything. It just makes all the early mornings, late nights and all the hard work and juggling three kiddies over the last ten years worth it. I love what I do and to have the reassurance from my brides and top industry professionals that I am doing everything right is just fantastic.
Tell us about your background.
My first Saturday job when I was 16 was working in a flower shop cleaning buckets and sweeping the floor. I then went off to art college, but struggled to really find an “arty” direction to take and when I left I fell back into flowers, working full time in a flower shop where I was spoilt for choice in the large selection of flowers available. I just loved it and the “instant” art you could create – no waiting for paint or clay to dry! I was so lucky to really be given free reign to really get stuck in.
I stayed for two years and then decided to send myself on Judith Blacklock’s two-week intensive Business of Floristry Course in Knightsbridge. It was this course that really inspired me to just go for it on my own. The guest tutors (including in particular, top florist, Matthew Dickinson) really did give me that confidence and self-belief. In 2005 I started Kate Avery Flowers.
I decided very early on that I would be completely workshop based so that I could ensure that I was giving 100% attention to my clients and their wedding without the distraction that inevitably comes from the day-to-day running of a shop. Myself and my trusty team of flower girls work from a studio in my garden in Chiddingfold, Surrey.
My vision was to create a unique and luxury wedding and event design service that would offer gorgeous flowers, great attention to detail and that something a little bit different all combined with impeccable service outside of London.
All my flowers are handpicked from New Covent Garden Market in Vauxhall. I love travelling up and choosing first hand my flower palette for a wedding…even at 4 in the morning! A hot chocolate and all the market banter definitely helps to wake me up and I love it when I stumble across a new flower variety up there.
My favourite aspect of weddings is working with my couples through the whole design process from start to finish and realising and exceeding their expectations. The buzz from helping each of them realise their wedding day vision is amazing. I love that no two weddings are the same and that everyone has their own very individual ideas on how their day should be. I still get the same butterflies on the morning of each wedding as I did when I first started. I have met some really lovely people along the way.
What has been the most valuable part of TWIA 2014 for you?
Definitely the voter feedback. Hearing what my couples really think of my flowers and the service I provide has been invaluable. I think it has confirmed to me that my policy of limiting the number of weddings I take on and becoming more exclusive has paid off. It just allows me to provide a really personal, high-level service that my brides really do appreciate. Also knowing that top industry professionals have had the final say and think you are amazing just really does give you the butterflies…
What was your favourite feedback from your voter comments?
“Kate simply surpassed herself; she was a delight to work with and fulfilled our every expectation. She was more than just a florist with wonderful ideas and wholeheartedly threw herself into our wedding day. We couldn’t recommend her more highly for this award! Truly deserved!”
I feel this really sums how I work up. I absolutely love getting to know my couples and really do strive to make their day the most amazing day ever. I treat each wedding as if it were my own and will not compromise on anything.
How has winning an award affected your business?
Since winning the award I have received lots more enquiries and also enquiries from further afield. The couples that are getting in touch also have higher budgets and really do want the best personal service. I am hoping that being an award winner has given my business more credibility to the bride sifting through potential florists.
Any final thoughts about the experience of TWIA 2015?
Even though I didn’t attend the ceremony, I really enjoyed the suspense of hearing the live results on Twitter at home.
Where can we find out more about you?