It’s time to meet Poppy Frost, McQueens’ head of wedding and special events. Poppy is rather special – she’s the life and soul of the party, can galvanize a team like no other, and what she doesn’t know about party flowers isn’t worth knowing. Poppy manages a team of eight, and focuses on design and installations for celebrations and events all over the place – London, further afield in the UK, and all around the world, in fact. We grabbed a rare quiet moment in a very hectic schedule to speak to Poppy and find out all about her life in flowers.
How did you begin your career working with flowers?
I was working in a gift and interiors shop, and the owner decided to expand the business and incorporate flowers. I learned on the job and soon became much more interested in the flower side of the work. I was eager to learn more and moved on to a much more established florist; it was here that I got a good all-round grounding in the flower industry, in a much busier environment. An appreciation of flowers can take over and I was really keen to know more. I learned all aspects of contemporary flower design with wedding, contract and event work, and loved working with my hands. I’m not sure I would have worked with flowers had this not happened, and it would never have occurred to me when I was growing up at school that one day I would be working with flowers. All a happy accident, I suppose.
How has your experience been working at McQueens?
It’s been a massive learning curve. The work we do here at McQueens is on a much larger scale than most florists, and it was a big change for me at the beginning, and a little bit daunting. I have worked in all departments and eventually found a home in the events team. It’s been great working for a company that specialises in so many different areas of flower design, and employs so many florists. You learn new things every day and that is one of the most rewarding parts of the job. There are many challenges working with flowers, particularly working in a busy events team. The logistical aspect of events does raise the odd unexpected challenge, but I enjoy that – it means that every day is different!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the transformative aspect of the job. It’s amazing to go into a venue and completely change the look of the place. We create flowers for parties in some of the most amazing venues in London, and I love that feeling when the last component is in place and you do a walk through with the client. Flowers can provoke an incredible reaction sometimes, and I think that that is the best part of the job, it’s very satisfying. I also enjoy working with so many people. We have a team of over 40 at McQueens and draw from an extensive bank of freelancers, so it’s a very inspiring place to work!
How do you describe your personal style of flower design?
I like a very natural and informal style, but nothing too wild. I usually prefer flowers to look elegant, and I normally like a tasteful combination. But the great thing about flowers is your favourites change each season – I love a mash-up of colour and flowers sometime, and it’s incredible to see so much choice changing through the year.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to work in event design?
Be prepared for hard work and the long hours! Also be able to adapt, think on your feet, and problem solve. You will often be working to a deadline and it is so much more work that you imagine, but it’s an amazing job and it’s such a privilege to work with flowers.