Odiham floral designer - Jay Archer

Picture by Laura Ford

Picture by Laura Ford - Credit: Archant

From a little girl pottering in her Grandad’s garden to an award winning floral designer, find out how Jay Archer turned her childhood passion in to a budding career

With fond memories of following her Grandad around his garden, chopping down poppy seed heads for 50p a time and watering his tomatoes and sweet peas, it seems that Jay’s passion for flowers and plants started from a young age.

Her eureka moment came when she found a floristry course at her local college, and it was here that she realised she wanted to turn this passion in to a career. She explains: “Flowers and gardening are instinctual to me; I just kind of know what to do with them. I have always been a bit of a maverick, never liking being told what to do or how to do it. I always wanted to be my own boss, and when I discovered flowers and floristry, I got a bit between my teeth and moved heaven and earth to make it happen.”

Taking inspiration from her own garden and art books, she uses instinct and creativity to devise her own arrangements. Starting out with very little money, Jay used foraged or home-grown ingredients to create her displays. People loved her non-conformist, ‘just picked aesthetic’ and she is now known across the county for her original and unique style. She says: “I love herbs and foliage from the English Summer hedgerow, and think ingredients such as these are often overlooked. For me, an arrangement should be multi-sensory - not just about the look, but it should make you want to touch the velvety leaves and take in its heady scent.”

Using stockists from Dartmoor, the Cotswolds, Hampshire, Cornwall and Sussex, Jay prefers to stay true to her British roots and support other local companies. From her converted pig shed workshop in Odiham, she constructs romantic, soft English flower arrangements for weddings and events across the South of England, Cheshire, the Cotswolds and Suffolk.

Relying mainly on word of mouth and referrals from wedding venues, Jay has managed to grow her business over the past four years and is now looking at offering courses for 2015. She says: “I’ve been amazed at how quickly my business has grown; it has really blown me away. I am currently working on several projects for the year ahead teaching local, national and international students. We’ve had a huge demand for this and I’ve finally got the confidence to bite the bullet and do it.”

Jay will be exhibiting at Bury Court Barn wedding fair on February 8 2015 and encourages anyone interested in her courses to visit her website www.jayarcherfloraldesign.comThe facts

• Name: Jay Archer

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• Business name: Jay Archer Floral Design

• Length of time in business: Nearly 4 years

• Number of employees: All freelancers

• Ethos: Inspired by the natural beauty of flowers, I strive to create my own individual style of work with a focus on British flowers sourced as locally as possible.

• Location: Odiham, North Hampshire

• Contact: jay@jayarcherfloraldesign.com, 07519 818223



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