Student Stories

Florist – The Bell Jar Flowers

Nikki McKinney

Which course did you study at Tallulah Rose Flower School?

I originally enrolled on the three day Introduction to Floristry course in October 2018.  After this I was 100% sure I wanted to have a complete career change and that the Tallulah Rose School was the right flower school for me.  I had attended open days at a couple of the well know London flower schools but I really loved the relaxed, informal, encouraging feel of Tallulah and also I was really pleased to see that a week of business was included in the Career Change course; and this was not offered at any other school.  The business week is absolutely vital.  The other thing I liked was that Tallulah encourages you to develop your own style and not copy or follow what the teachers do.  Again, this is different from other flower schools.  I enrolled on the four week Career Change course in Bath at the beginning of February 2019, and then went on to take part in the Wedding Retreat in the Lake District in May 2019, which was magical.

What did you enjoy most about the course?

I found the Career Change course incredibly challenging, rewarding, stimulating and all-consuming.  There were certainly highs and lows; there were certainly tears, both of happiness but also of frustration.  But at the end I was so proud of myself that I had done it.  There were 10 of us on the Career Change course – of all different ages and backgrounds, but we got on like a house on fire.  To this day we are still in touch every day; they are friends for life.   That supportive backdrop of fellow Tallulahs, both from the course, and then in the Tallulah Forum is invaluable.  I literally could not have done it without them.  I am now really proud to call myself a ’Tallulah’.

What was the most important thing that you learnt?

I learnt that I was able to do it if I put my mind to it, and this gave me the confidence to pursue it further.

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

Tallulah Rose gives you the core skills and confidence to get you started and on your way, but there is obviously a whole lot more to learn when you leave.  I think my proudest moment after I had finished was when I took the deposit for the first wedding of my own.  This was certainly a champagne moment!

What are you doing now?  

Since leaving Tallulah I have set up on my own as a Wedding & Events florist, working from a small ’studio’ at home.  However, I am in the process of developing my garden into a cutting garden, with my own little baby greenhouse, which is very exciting for me.  I would like to start being able to deliver garden-gathered bouquets using flowers grown mainly in my own garden using eco friendly packaging.  I think as time goes on you find your own way – things evolve and you realise what path would be ideal for you.  Also, I like to keep learning so am interested in the photography side of the floristry world; how your product looks on your website and social media is so important.

Describe a typical floristry day…

There is no such thing as a typical day and this is what is love about it!  I really dislike routine, and love the fact that every day is different.  Running your own business is an eye-opener in that you can be working all weekend (and believe me it can be really hard work with very early starts!) but then maybe take Monday off.  I remember Rachel saying on the course that running your own business is one third admin, one third marketing and one third ‘doing’ and this is so true.

What’s been your highlight to date?

I feel really privileged to have met such inspirational and creative people along the way; both teachers, other florists, growers and of course my Tallulah girls!  They have all changed my life.

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

I have a background in publishing, but more recently worked in the events & fundraising office of my local hospice – I have always loved books, nature, the arts, theatre & architecture, but I did not know the first thing about flowers.  I just knew I needed to make a change and that the change needed to be creative.  Forcing yourself to make a change is difficult – it is so much easier to stick to what you know, but this becomes so frustrating. I would say just go for it.  Maybe try an Introductory Course first if you are unsure. Personally I am such a big fan of Rachel and the Tallulah Rose ethos I would not look anywhere else!

Click here for more information about The Bell Jar Flowers