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Our adventures in floristry...

Florist in Focus: Helen

Local to Four Marks and with a diverse range of floristry experience, Helen is exactly the right person to head up our shop there. She is straight-talking and warm-hearted and I always know exactly where I am with her. While being humble and often the hardest worker in the room, Helen is commercially savvy, meticulously organised and a super skilled florist. I am extremely proud to have her as part of the Catkin team, she always gets it just right and together we are really looking forward to building on the foundations that, through dedication and hard work, Helen has laid since Catkin Four Marks launched back in the summer 2018.

Tell us a bit about how you got in to floristry? 
I've been a florist for fifteen years. My parents own a market garden where we grow all the traditional garden flowers so I very much grew up surrounded by flowers and learning about them. I gave a few other careers a go but in the end came back to floristry. 

I trained at Merrist Wood College, completing my level 2 /3, and went on to work for a florist in Alresford for ten years, as well as florist in Liphoook. Both were quite traditional florists but also very different, which allowed me to develop my own style. I've also worked for a couple of wedding florists along the way which was great for learning more specifically about the wedding industry.

What has been the highlight of your career so far? 
I've met and worked with some amazing people, and it's always so exciting to learn different skills and new ways of doing things from them. Everyone has slightly different ways of doing things and new trends come along so you never stop learning or having new ideas which is what keeps it interesting.

Tell us about your role at Catkin & Pussywillow? 
 started with Catkin and Pussywillow in June 2018 and am the Manager of our Four Marks store. It's been wonderful to be involved with the opening of a new store from the start; a great learning experience and also really rewarding to be involved in growing the business and ensuring we are delivering exceptional service and quality. Plus I'm local to Four Marks, so it's also been really nice to bring the Catkin & Pussywillow brand to our local high street and have friends and neighbours as customers.

What is your favourite part of the job? 
The creative side of working with the flowers has always been a huge part of the enjoyment for me. But then there's also a great deal of satisfaction that comes from making customers happy, and being able to offer them my knowledge, ideas and understanding. 

Do you have a favourite flower to work with? 
My favourite flowers are the traditional garden flowers, so garden roses, dahlia, larkspur, scabious to name a few.

Which is your favourite season in floristry? 
Probably late spring and early summer. I love all the scented flowers and the colours as they come back into season. 

What lessons have you learned and would pass on to aspiring florists? 
Being a florist is very rewarding, but you have to be prepared to work hard, and it can be cold and it can be mucky! It's definitely not as glamorous as people might think but ultimately, very satisfying.