Interviewing Kate Thomas (Head Florist at Needhams)

Posted by Chris Allen on

How long have you been a Florist?
I've been in the industry for 10 years now. I've always had a passion for Flowers so decided to take it up as a career as soon as I left school at 17 and I've never looked back.

What steps did you take to become a successful Florist?
Unlike a lot of young people I was extremely lucky to know exactly what I wanted to be and exactly what I wanted to do with it. I had dreams and ambitions so I worked hard to achieve them and I still am today. It all started with me going to Capel Manor College to study levels 1 and 2 in Floristry. I then completed my level 3 course at Writtle College. Meanwhile I was also working part time in a Florist to gain more knowledge and experience in the industry. After years of building up experience and clientele I was very thankful to be in the position to own my own shop which is also like my second home.

What are your favourite parts about being a Florist?
Everyday I get to be creative and make people smile. Flowers mark such huge milestones in peoples lives from births to weddings and even funerals and I get the pleasure to bring joy to people on all of these occasions. Every day is different and every bouquet or arrangement I get to create has its own story to tell and its own statement to make and I love to be a part of that.

What are the worst parts about your job?
I think if you asked any Florist this question they would all have the same answer,… THE COLD!!!! Gaining an extra 3 stone in jumpers and thermals each day is not pleasant.

Who, What and Where inspires you?
Floristry trends and styles are forever changing. It's like any creative industry in the way you have to keep up with the times and fashion. I'm always inspired by what's going on in the fashion industry and work this around what's in season at the time to create in trend but also unique styles. I am also inspired by the smaller more natural things in life like wild overgrown flowers growing in unexpected places. That’s the beauty of this job, we are working with one of natures finest creations so there is inspiration all around us we just have to find it.

What is your favourite Flower?
It has to be David Austin Juliet Rose. With beautiful Pale Peach tones and such a delicate and vintage appearance it is absolutely stunning.

Talk us through your usual working day?
My alarm is always set for 3.30am and then it's up and ready to head straight to the flower market to pick up the daily flowers and sundries for the shop. I usually get back to Needhams for 6:30 to condition and clean all of the flowers and prepare the shop for 8:00am opening. Between 8 and 5:30 pm we are busy with customer orders which could include wedding or sympathy orders or general gift arrangements and bouquets. We also have walk in customers throughout the day for Fresh hand-ties and gifts. It’s a busy workplace but I love it!

What are the highlights of your career so far?
Weddings without a doubt. It's such a huge honour to be asked to play such a major role on somebody's big day. Every wedding is just as special as the next. Being recommended to new customers or contacted by someone who has seen my work first hand and loved it is such a wonderful compliment and an amazing feeling that I will never take for granted.

What would you like to achieve in the future?
I want to always keep my customers happy and receive the best feedback I can. I want to always push myself and keep up to date with the fast paced industry and carry on being successful in the job I love and achieve all of the goals and challenges I set myself.

If you could give advice to any budding Florists what would it be?
You have got to really love Floristry to succeed. It's hard work but if you stick at it and really want it it's so rewarding and worth every drop of blood sweat and tears.



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