It’s undeniable that the likes of Instagram and Pinterest have had a tremendous impact on how floristry is perceived today. Typing the words ‘flowers’ or ‘plants’ into both of these platforms will present you with copious images of stunning bouquets and lush plants styled to perfection. Jessica Challoner-Sterland chats to 22-year-old Emma-Mae Parry, owner of The Bloom Project, who is paving the way for a new generation of florists.
Emma had always been adamant that university wasn’t the right path for her, despite the disapproval expressed by her secondary school teachers. Instead, she had dreams of becoming a florist, a talent her mum picked-up on when she was just 12-years-old. Following her ambition after completing her GCSE’s, Emma began a diploma in Floristry at Leicester College as well as a Saturday job at the former Tippetts in Oadby. After spending five years with the florist, learning the ins and outs of the trade, as well as the vast varieties of plants and flowers, she was ready for something bigger:
“I needed to do something my way and be a little bit more creative. I had all of these ideas of how I wanted my shop to look, and it just got to the point where I couldn’t progress in the position I was in any further. So that’s why I started The Bloom Project.”
Located within the affluent Clarendon Park area on Queen’s Road, The Bloom Project opened its doors back in September 2018. The independent boutique is a breath of fresh air, and unlike any florist’s I’d visited before: “I’m really into fashion and interior design, and I love Instagram. I soon realised that there was nowhere in Leicester selling the quirky flowers and plants that I was seeing and loved. I wanted to be able to provide them for people, in hope that they would love them too.”
The colourful little boutique is filled with an assortment of popular houseplants that fill the walls, floor, and hang like tropical vines from the ceiling. Succulents, cacti and pretty vases and pots neatly stand out on shelving, and a flower fridge takes centre stage, stocked beautifully with a vibrant mix of popular and unusual blooms:
“I’m really big on seasonal flowers, and I’m known for my crazy colour combinations. I also add a lot of texture in my bouquets, so I don’t just do your standard roses, carnations and other big blooms, I add in other filler flowers that are long-lasting.”
Although The Bloom Project is less than a year old, Emma has been welcomed into the community and has already received a positive response to her business. “There is nowhere ls in Leicester that I would want to be. I’m a city girl at heart so I couldn’t imagine myself in a small village somewhere. The community is brilliant, and I’ve made so many friends.”
Queen’s road is home to many independent businesses from cafes and restaurants to boutiques and even a long-standing florist, which fortunately hasn’t had an impact on business as Emma humbly shares: “I’m the sort of person where, If I can’t provide something for a customer, I will send them to The Flower Corner down the road. I’d rather have a community of florists, and I think that we should work together. I’m not here to take someone’s business away from them. I’m here to provide something quite different.”
Instagram, as Emma admits, has given her the boost she needs to market the shop, and it’s easy to see why her following is well into the thousands. Posts such as her Friday £10 bunches are amongst some of the popular post and customers can’t get enough. Social media has also been a powerful tool in the growing popularity of houseplants, an area that Emma is keen to grow. Some of The Bloom Project’s most popular plants include the Swiss Cheese Plant, Boston Fern and Asparagus Fern: “There are many health benefits of houseplants, they purify the air and remove toxins, and they can also improve your sleep.”
As well as providing flowers for weddings, funerals and other occasions, Emma also runs seasonal workshops, where flower enthusiasts alike can try their hand at everything from bouquet making to wreath assembling.
Having already built up a list of loyal customers and growing followers on social media, the future of The Bloom Project is most definitely a bright one. The florist proudly shares what’s to come: “I want to grow the business, take on a member of staff and get busier. I would also love to open another shop just for plants one day, so hopefully, we’ll see.”