At the end of March 2020 we watched our country follow in the footsteps of many other countries and went into a national lockdown due to COVID-19. This was a very difficult and scary time for many but also extremely worrying and frustrating for businesses. With all staff on furlough, after a month of working from home purely providing funeral flowers, I decided to get back to work offering fresh flower deliveries in a contact free environment. Pre Covid-19 our main focus and income was around 80 weekly corporate set up’s plus weddings and events, all of which were no longer required and put on hold so I needed to find other ways of increasing our income to try and cover our huge overheads for a much bigger operation. I hadn’t worked the shop for a number of years but this is now our main source of income and has taken me right back to basics and back to the beginning where I first started and re-building our local trade. The government advised that from 6th June, the lockdown rules would be relaxed a little and 6 people were allowed to meet observing the social distancing rules so I came up with the idea of a social distancing masterclass. Within hours of launching we had our first sales and the weekend booked up within 24 hours. From speaking to many people, it was a perfect idea as lots of people needed to get out of their houses to do something creative (other than baking) and either share a special moment with friends or mum or sister or have some much needed ‘me’ time away from their family after spending 24/7 with them!!
My first class was on Saturday 6th June and I remember it clearly, I was checking the weather forecast all week, ordered the flower and kept my fingers crossed it remained sunny and no rain! On the morning, thankfully the sun was shining and the forecast good. I took the benches outside the front of our shop/unit and placed them 5 metres apart, to ensure every guest felt safe and comfortable about their surroundings, especially as this was likely to be the first time out mixing with others that they had experience for many months. Each bench had hand sanitizer, sellotape machine, twine to tie the bouquet and a pair of scissors. All equipment was wiped down with a bleaching spray to ensure all areas were clean and all I had left to do was to await our guests.
Our first masterclass guests had arrived, Janice Charter and her friends form Amersham and Kate Day from Northwood, all who attended had never been on a flower course before. I have only taught two classes prior to this, 3 years ago, both were team building corporate classes for The British Museum with Clerkenwell Green and for Portico. I remember the nervous feeling I had just before the classes started and this was still the same for this time round. My nerves soon disappeared as the group were fantastic and very excited to learn a new skill plus for them this was a breath of fresh air as they had been stuck indoors for many, many days! I started by talking about my journey in flowers and how I became a florist, then I made a bouquet for them to see how it was done in stages explaining all about the flowers and foliage’s so that they had an understanding about each stem and to why I had selected these flowers. I used large headed Roses, English Stocks, Astilbe, Alchemilla, Lisianthus and the seasonal favourite, Peonies. This was accompanied with beautiful foliage’s, Pistache, hard Ruscus and Pittosporum Ralphii. The combination made a stunning bouquet and the ladies were excited to try and create the same although they didn’t think they could make a bouquet as beautiful as the one I had just made, how wrong they were! I unpicked my bouquet whilst explaining that their bouquets would all be as gorgeous as mine and that I would explain in stages how to make it happen.
We started to make the bouquet step by step, as the class went on the confidence grew as they were able to see the flowers coming together and by the end of the class all were amazed. They all had made glorious arrangements with perfect spirals allowing the bouquets to stand and give the flowers a lovely domed shape. My first masterclass was almost complete, just to teach how to wrap, add water and then admire their masterpieces.
After we had all finished, I showed them around our workshop using the social distancing measures, none of the guests had never been to our shop before and they all seemed amazed with the shop, our big workshop where our contract work happens, our wedding and events section and the huge quantity and variety of different shapes, sizes and colours of vases. My first masterclass could not have gone any better in my eyes and I was now ready to clear and sanitize ready for the next classes booked on this day.
Since then, we have run many classes over many weekends and we are now catering for requests of group bookings for 6 at a mutually convenient time/day, with a first mid-week class booking coming up soon. It is such a great thing to be a part of on so many levels for myself and those taking part and even if you don’t think you’re naturally creative or a budding florist, everyone that has attended has different skills but I can guarantee all go away with the most stunning flowers and most importantly huge sense of satisfaction and achievement! I have a group of male friends who are keen to come along and give it a try to get them in the good books maybe?! I’m also thinking about some child friendly parent and child classes for the Summer holidays which are now upon us so watch this space!
If you are looking at taking part in a masterclass, then contact me by filling out the contact form on our website in the contact us section and please add masterclass into the subject. Please give as much detail as possible which will include how many people are wanting to do a class and dates and times and I will do my best to book you in and I look forward to seeing more of you.