Since launching her eponymous flower business in 2009 from her kitchen table Philippa Craddock has racked up quite the client list working with everyone from Christian Dior to Chopard, and perhaps most memorably, creating a spectacular floral arch outside St George’s Chapel for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Generous, calm and down-to-earth you can now learn from the master thanks to her hugely popular online flower masterclasses. We meet the florist to find out all about her work and what’s still in the pipeline.
What’s the most memorable project you’ve worked on?
A stunning wedding in Sardinia, with an incredible wedding planner and gorgeous clients. The surrounding landscape was breath-taking and played a large part in the designs. It was serious hard work, with months of planning; the result though was wonderful and created some brilliant memories.
Do you have any advice for those who dream of a career in floristry?
I have built my business from my kitchen table to a globally recognised brand; in addition to creative talent and a love for flowers and design, you need to be determined to succeed, set yourself big goals, work really hard, push boundaries, persist when people say no and become an expert problem solver. It looks pretty and lovely on the outside but floristry is tough. It can give you a hugely rewarding career with many opportunities, if you want it enough. Our free Seasonal Mini Courses and our Floristry Fundamentals Masterclass (which launches once a year) are great places to start!
How did the online courses come about?
We first launched our online courses in 2018, they came as a result of the success our studio based Flower School in London – each time we released a course date, it would quickly sell out, with students joining us from all over the world. I wanted to be able to reach more people and ensure they were easily accessible. They have become my main focus.
Where did you spend lockdown?
I spent lockdown with my family in our home in Dorset. For me 2021 was due to be a year of travelling the world with work, talks, demonstrations and events scheduled in Sydney, Boston, New York, San Francisco, LA and Venice. My weeks between would have been spent travelling between London and the countryside. I was incredibly fortunate as lockdown gave me an opportunity and time to be still and appreciate the beautiful countryside surrounding our home and the coast close by.
How did you occupy yourself with so many events cancelled?
I used the time to create free tutorials, in the hope of inspiring others to find the same enjoyment and mindful creativity as I do in floristry. My team and I also created a way of linking flower growers with florists around the world, to help ensure flowers didn’t go to waste and people had easy access to flowers to create and design.
Could you tell us about your gold award-winning window for The White Company?
Yes, we designed and created a window display for The White Company as part of Chelsea in Bloom that runs alongside Chelsea Flower Show. It was a brilliantly challenging brief, to combine the aesthetics of their clean and beautiful brand, with the Floral Safari theme of the event and with a design to last for five days in the heat of the summer. We installed an entire camp within the window and out onto the pavement, with a mass of different grasses inspired by the Sahara Desert, all of which we chose to dry naturally over the days, with the overall design evolving each day as a result.
What’s your workwear style?
On site for clients, as a team, we wear smart, practical and black with branded gilets. In the studio I wear anything from jeans to dresses.
Any top tips for getting cut flowers to look beautiful?
We are launching a free Summer Mini Course on 24 July, which will give everyone plenty of ideas to help you create beautiful summer flowers. Over three tutorials, you’ll learn how to care for delicate summer flowers, how to utilise vessels in your home and how to create the perfect table design using your newfound skills.
Where do you go for inspiration?
My inspiration comes from the surrounding landscape, the architectural details of the venue where I am working as well as directly from my clients, depending on their personalities and the theme of the event. I also look to current fashion and the arts in general for wider inspiration.
Which flowers are you happiest to receive?
My favourite is always a handful of home grown stems.
What’s your favourite flower?
I love beautiful, delicate and also wild rambling, summer stems – particular favourites are Orlaya and Honeysuckle.
Any future projects in the pipeline?
In addition to our online Design Masterclasses hosted throughout the year, we are launching an online interactive Business Course. I am really excited about it! I created my business from scratch, with no prior floristry or business experience and I want to share everything I know about creating and growing a floristry business, with florists who are ambitious for themselves and who want to grow successful, sustainable businesses. The course is for those who are ready to work hard and who want a very safe pair of hands to guide them and give them confidence.
Favourite space in London?
The Victoria and Albert Museum. It was the first London venue to appoint me onto its preferred supplier list for flowers at its events. I’m awed by its scale, the quietness of the huge spaces and the extraordinary curated mix of design.