Student Stories

Florist – Down by the River Florals

Lisa Marie Grigsby

Which course did you study at Tallulah Rose Flower School?

I studied the 2 week career change course in October 2017.

What did you enjoy most about the course?

The course meant more to me than words can explain really, a group of the nicest and most passionate women from all walks of life, coming together to create with the most stunning flowers for a whole two weeks. It was such a welcoming change, after a very intense low period of stress in my life- and to create for the sake of creating, to learn more, and to get to know these incredible women was so very special to me.

What was the most important thing that you learnt?

I learnt a lot about my own personal style as a florist- something which I had touched on,  but felt I really had the time to hone during my time at Tallulah. Thanks largely to being able to choose my own flowers in a non-prescriptive way. I learnt so much, but largely the most important thing was to learn how to create beautiful arrangements that were mechanically sound and that I would be happy to put out into the world! My confidence increased an awful lot and it really filled me up with joy- raring to get out and just do it, and be doing it!

What was your first big break or most memorable moments so far?

My first wedding happened when I was still working part time, and it was a big budget one! So that was certainly memorable, as it was the first time I actually started doing it all and I was in at the deep end, yet in my element. I had a tiny studio- I could barely walk across the room for buckets of gorgeous foliage and blooms were surrounding me! Since then probably last August, putting an archway up in 50mph winds and rain on the edge of a Cornish cliff was certainly a challenge! Luckily the clouds parted and the couple were married outside, so it was definitely worth it!

What are you doing now?  

I went full time with my business last May (2019) as before then I was working part time at the Eden project and also freelancing for other florists! My main focus tends to be my seasonal workshops alongside weddings and events, but I do love a little editorial in the mix. My background is in lifestyle photography and styling and it’s lovely to use my intertwining skills. I’m also exploring setting up an online shop at the moment.

Describe a typical floristry day…

Depending on the day, I drive to my workshop just outside Falmouth, where I am based, and pop the kettle on and the music on, and set to whatever I have going on that day. I am also an avid list maker, so I plan what I’m going to do. I meet one of my suppliers in a lay-by in the nearby village to collect flowers, or head to one of my local growers first thing to gather everything I need. First things first, I condition everything, and then I sometimes like to try to divvy up my flowers into what I have envisioned for each arrangement on the list. I’ll make any garlands first, and then move onto other arrangements, finishing with the bridal bouquet & buttonholes last thing.
Other non-creating days involve anything from sweeping & tidying the studio, cleaning buckets, talking to & meeting brides, emails, reflecting, designing, planning workshops and I’m trying to make more time for creating for the sake of creating, I think that’s really important.

What’s been your highlight to date?

Ooh, that’s a hard one. So much. Most recently I hosted a festive workshop in my studio that had a bit of a twist, and I was so chuffed because we sold out so quickly- and to see my own space full of other people creating was really special. Getting to know other local florists and my wonderful local growers is also up there- sharing cups of tea and talking to other people who love flowers as much as I do and building those connections is really special- especially when you work alone.

What advice would you give to a new student starting out?

To start somewhere. It can be quite daunting when you’re fresh and new at something, and starting somewhere no matter how small is important and you don’t know where it will lead. I planned my first workshops almost straight away when I finished the course so it was great to have something to work towards. The other thing I would say, is don’t be afraid to talk to people…about what you’re doing, engaging with other florists…connection is a very valuable thing and I have found the floristry community to be a very helpful and engaging one. 

Click here for more information about Down by the River Florals