Sunday, 15 June 2014

Karen Massey, Chelsea Silver Medal Winner

We were delighted with the opportunity to interview one of Irelands' amazingly talented florist & Chelsea Silver medalist Karen Massey from Fleurtatious on her experience in Chelsea and her love of Flowers.

Skeleton leaves dress

What is your name?  Karen Massey

What is the Name of your business? Fleurtatious

What is your Website

Karen opened her own Flower Shop in Leopardstown Shopping Centre, Dublin 18 in November of 2009. Karen tells us she knew working in an office was not for her and having worked in her Aunts Flower Shop from the tender age of 13, it was the love of flowers and the constant interaction with customers that drew her to open her own Flower Shop.  Karen says making new things every day and when meeting new & regular customers, nothing is ever the same, whether it is  designing large corporate displays to small table decorations, the passion and creativity is the same.  

In 2008 Karen's skills and customer service was rewarded by winning the Platinum Award for "Flower Shop of the Year" 

We asked Karen about her style and where she draws her inspiration from? 
I think my style is really just part of me. It’s what I think looks nice, it kind of just comes naturally.  I regularly attend different courses & workshops. I get great ideas from  Fusion Flowers for floral inspiration.  Facebook & Pinterest are great for getting ideas from fellow florists.  Sometimes I  just like  to play and take the time and try different materials and see if it works" 

Has competing at Chelsea always being a aspiration? 
"Yes and no. Chelsea is THE floristry competition, so its definitely the final ambition but there aren’t that many competitions in Ireland to compete in.  It’s always good to hear the judges feedback and to learn from their comments.  Also doing competitions can really stretch you" 

How did you decide on your final design piece?  Where did you draw your inspiration from?
 "I’m quite a quick decision maker and once my decision is made that’s it! As soon as I heard the brief I knew I was going to layer the skeleton leaves over the stachys leaves and that there was going to be plenty of sparkle.  The shape  and design of the dress had to be tweaked because of restrictions of space by the guidelines"

What was the build up like, was travelling to Chelsea nerve wrecking in case you left something behind?  
"Hectic, every night after work I would get home, change in to the same pair of bottoms and start glueing!! I would work till 11/12 every night and all day Sunday"

Did you forget anything? 
"Thankfully not, I kept double / triple checking everything before I left"

Who did you bring to help you? 
"Therese Quinn my tutor from South West College Dungannon and Fionnula from Scarecrow flowers"

Where did you stay in Chelsea?
"I stayed with my umcle in Islington and was lucky enough to do my set up  in the office of the Florist and Wholesale Buyer Magazine with Caroline Marshall Foster and Hannah Dunne"

Describe the day of the competition, was it very competitive? 
"LONG , it was a really early start.  I was up at 6 having only gotten in to bed at 2.30.  I spent 3 and a half yours in London traffic.  I was meant to be there at 9 but didn’t get there until 10.30.  Thankfully the judging was delayed and wasn’t announced until 1.30.  We were all assembled and put in place while the BBC filmed the overall winner announcement.  It was a lot of nervous waiting around!!  And while it was competitive ( obviously everyone wanted to win a medal) everybody was really nice.  Caroline and Therese both cried when I received my silver medal.  I can honestly say everybody was really supportive and really nice.  I then had to leave Chelsea to fly home to Dublin at9.30 for my sisters wedding on Friday! Small wedding, great day back to London wearly Saturday morning so up at 5am L .  Arrive in London go tback to the office, tidy up and head back to Chelsea to take back the dress.  Lovely dinner with my uncles on the Saturday night.  Myself and Fionnuala were on the road at6am to start the long drive home.  Home at 7pm and back in the shop Monday morning as normal" 

Were people helpful friendly, did you bring your own flowers with you?  
"Everybody was soooooooooooooo helpful  Chrysal sponsored me and I also got support from Corsage Creations, South West College, Fleurametz and Viaflor.  Everything was brought with me, and I had plenty of everything!!"

Was the room refrigerated? 
" No and it was really warm that week in Chelsea"

What tool in your toolbox can’t you live without? 
"Knife and for the dress glue!"

How did it feel to be awarded a Chelsea Silver Medal? 
"Really incredible, genuinely one of my proudest moments"

Do you offer any services in addition to floral designs at your shop? 
"In the shop we cover all aspects of Flowers, plants, handmade gift cards, balloons. Our Wedding Services are always in demand and we have only a few dates available for 2015 already.  We also have a good selection of corporate clients which is growing too as they have built up such trust in us as a Flower Shop and the quality of service we supply.  
have just starting to offer a selection of fascinators  recently and these are proving very popular indeed."

We asked Karen what was her favourite flower, and judging from her answer she just loves all flowers, Karen told us she cant pick just one as it is always changing but at the moment peonies and hydrengea are topping the poll but she also loves exotics and amaryllis.

Finishing off our interview we asked Karen what one word best describes your personality? 
She wasn't really sure how to answer this, so I decided I would - Honorable 
I have met Karen on many occasions and she is one of the most pleasant, chatty and friendly person i have met, and it is because of this amazing personality that Karen has customers returning to her shop time and time again.  Karen provides a fantastic floral service and is renowned in the flower industry for her tireless work for the Irish Florist Guild.  

Karen can be found on any of the following links 

Facebook - Fleurtatious
Pinterest - Karen Massey 
LinkedIn - Karen Massey
Instagram - Fleurtatiousdublin

A Special thanks to Caroline Marshall Foster and Hannah Dunne from The Florist for the use of their amazing photos. .

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