Student Stories

Grower/Florist – Pipley Flowers


Liz Rawlings

Which course did you study at Tallulah Rose and when?
I did the career change course back in February 2016

What did you most enjoy about the course?
I loved having the freedom to play with flowers whilst learning at the same time. Rachel was a great teacher because she encouraged everyone without forcing a particular on style on us. It was a really self-indulgent experience – the type of thing we rarely ever treat ourselves to but probably should more often!

What was the most important thing that you learnt during your time at the school?
The most important things I learned were the techniques involved in putting things together in a professional way. Once you understand the techniques you can master them and do pretty much anything! The course was also great for my confidence as you can tell ?

What was your first big break?

I still feel like my big break is yet to come but this year Pipley Flowers has been featured on BBC Radio Bristol, in Vow Magazine, Perfect Wedding Magazine and in Psychologies Magazine. I think that’s a good start.

What are you doing now?

I’m just coming in to my 4th year as a flower farmer. I’m currently growing on around 1.5 acres and this year I am focusing on being as efficient with my time as I can as it’s a big space to be managing with no staff.

My speciality is supplying wholesale flowers and foliage to florists but I also do a small number of weddings and events, as well as funeral flowers and bouquets. Last year we refurbished part of our house to allow for a lovely workshop space and I have been running workshops on growing and arranging flowers approximately once a month – workshops are one of the things I love most about what I do now as I really enjoy spending time with people and as a flower farmer you can miss out on that a little.

In terms of the floristry side of the business I have learned a lot about what kind of work I want so I am feeling more confident about what things to focus on. I have a feeling this will be a really good year!

Describe a typical floristry day…
A typical day for me is normally more about growing, and delivering flowers to florists. I have two children so I can’t get to the flower farm until after school and nursery drop offs and by then it’s too late to cut so I cut my flowers in the evenings. During the day I can be doing a variety of tasks such as sowing seeds, planting, digging, fencing, deadheading, pruning plants, wheelbarrowing and spreading mulches but the really big one for me is weeding. On cool days I will often cut my flowers just before going home in the early evening but when it’s warm I normally go home and come back out later in the evening to cut, and often I will be there until it gets dark. Three days a week I do regular delivery rounds and these are always done first thing in the morning to deliver what I cut the night before.

When the focus is on floristry it’s normally for a wedding. I start preparing the day before so I cut my flowers in the evening and then bring them home to condition and have a good drink overnight. Because I cut in the evening it can be quite late sometimes by the time I am finished with the conditioning but I am more of a night owl than an early bird so I don’t mind, and it also means my flowers are super fresh having only been cut the night before they are used. The next day I may have to get up quite early to start making up arrangements – that just depends on how much needs to be done. For a wedding I will get most of the arrangements made up the day before I am due to deliver – making up can start early and go on quite into the night and I have learned that it’s definitely worth getting an extra pair of hands in for larger weddings. On the wedding day it’s usually an early start to get everything nicely presented, and make up anything that needs to be done on the day like flower crowns etc. before delivering.

What’s been your highlight to date?
Ooh hard question! There have been so many highlights but probably the big one for me was getting to the point where I felt confident to quit my full time job. That was in March 2017 and it has made a huge difference being able to do this full time.

What advice would you give to a new student starting out?
Be open minded and don’t put yourself in a box. I hear a lot of people worrying about not having a ‘style’ but when you’re starting out that’s normal and it will come with time and experience. Also don’t forget that as with starting any business it will be a hard slog for the first year or so but it gets easier and is so worth it!

For more information about Pipley Flowes, check out Liz’s website – Pipley Flowers