Monday, 16 June 2014

Inspirational Women: Kath Eastwood florist and business woman

Monday again, hope you had a great weekend. Today a little treat for the eyes with beautiful flowers and design inspiration from my new favourite florist. 

Flowers are my indulgence. Just like clothes they speak volumes about a person's style and personality. They are a real luxury, but at the same time [just like clothes] essential. They breathe life into our home, and add colour to our white walls.

Kath Eastwood owns a boutique florist in a busy suburb of Sheffield. Her shop, 'of the wild', sits on a bustling crossroads surrounded by student takeaways and coffee shops like an oasis of calm. I first came across her shop when a very generous friend bought me a bouquet as a thank you. It was carefully wrapped in vintage music paper and I was instantly intrigued. There was clearly such enormous love and care taken over that arrangement, and with such a very clear and authentic vision.

When I stopped by the shop to meet Kath she was just as I expected, warm, welcoming and hugely enthusiastic about her business that she is so passionate about. But it is her singular vision and style that impresses the most, she clearly knows what she loves and wants to share it. From the beautiful floral arrangements to the pretty hand made cards and antique gifts, everything in the shop is perfectly curated. 

After a hasty introduction she kindly agreed to answer a few questions for The Notebook about what inspired her to open her shop and her creative work.


WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A FLORIST AND HOW DID YOU COME TO HAVE YOUR BUSINESS?

From a very early age I have always been very creative, and have expressed this in lots of different hobbies/courses. I studied Textile Design at Nottingham Trent University where I was able to explore colour, texture, techniques, and different ways of constructing fabrics.

I then moved to Sheffield and was asked to work in a fairly new Florist which needed an extra pair of hands at the time. I wasn’t sure what to expect but after a few weeks of training I felt Floristry suited me so well and fell in love with the art of arranging flowers and the way that flowers can communicate so many different things and bring so much joy!

I moved to Bristol for another Floristry job where I learnt more of the business side of Floristry and after a short time there felt I had all the skills and experience needed to start up on my own. 


A long weekend in November in our family home in Cornwall is where ‘of the wild’ was dreamt up! It’s a special place where I always feel at my most creative and inspired! I took lots of photos that weekend of Cornwall's most stunning coastlines, quaint little towns, beautiful Cornish homes and of course lots of wintery flowers and beach scenes. It was the start of me daring to believe that I could create my own business! 

I moved back to Sheffield, and was given an amazing opportunity to do a 2 week “Pop Up Valentine's Flower Shop” in the beautiful Winter Gardens. It was a great way to get my name out there, meet new customers, and obviously a very busy time of creating lovely bouquets for Valentine’s Day! It was such a success that I was determined to find a shop!

A few weeks after being based at the Winter Gardens, I made a connection with another Shop in Sheffield City Centre, “MoonKo”, on Division Street, who also had a space for me to “pop up” again!
I was based there for another 2 weeks to the lead up and over Mother’s Day. Again, it was a great way to meet new and existing customers and this time found myself doing a few Wedding Consultations for Brides to be.

I then found THE SHOP! An old jewellers was closing its doors just a 10 minute walk from where I live and the moment I went to visit it I just knew it was perfect for me. It all happened very quickly & here I am today a month into opening‘of the wild.’


WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WORK?

I find inspiration everywhere! From visiting new places, quirky coffee shops, antique shops, scrap yards, magazines, blogs! You can always find me taking pictures with my iPhone of random things I’ve seen! It all helps me to stay inspired and then to translate what I’ve captured and seen into my work. Whether that's going on a walk out into the Peaks and stumbling across an old run down barn, visiting beautiful little towns, or finding interesting vases/bottles. I can always imagine where flowers could be added to a photo or place I’ve visited to add even more colour or beauty!


WHAT DOES STYLE MEAN TO YOU?

Style to me is a way of communicating what we are about, what we love, what inspires us. A way to express who we are in so many ways.

CAN YOU DEFINE YOUR OWN STYLE AND HOW HAS IT EVOLVED OVER THE YEARS?

I would definitely say that I’ve always had quite a strong opinion on what I like or dislike! Studying Textile Design at University was probably where I developed my own style. I was surrounded by Fashion and Art students, and so being in that environment probably made me think about style more and change it more frequently! 

I would define my style now as being quite rustic and natural, with pops of colour & detail! In my work, both arranging flowers and design I’d say that my style is inspired by the rugged beauty of Cornwall, the wilds of the Peaks and traditional English cottage gardens! 

In what I wear I’d say my style is about colour, different layers and textures- and finding statement pieces that bring the outfit together. Whether that’s a bold necklace or some lovely sandals/shoes!


WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ACCESSORY OR ITEM OF CLOTHING?

At the moment my favourite accessory is probably my watch! It isn’t a special make, but was a bargain! I bought it from Camden Market and absolutely love how it goes with everything and is practical too! It has a really large dial and a white leather strap, and I don’t feel my outfit is complete without it! 

My favourite item of clothing at the moment would have to be my white Forever21 fringed cardigan! I can just throw it on and it brings more interest and detail to a plain Tee or cami top.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR OTHER WOMEN WANTING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?

Be brave! Believe in yourself, have confidence and surround yourself by supportive family and friends. It is worth the risk! 

You can discover more about Kath and 'of the wild' at her Facebook page and follow Kath's Twitter feed for beautiful inspiration and updates.

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