A behind-the-scenes peek at McQueens on Valentine’s Day and the delivery, conditioning, preparation and creation of gorgeous floral gifts for lovers across the capital
We survived the stresses of St Valentine’s Day, a peculiar and extraordinary day in the flower world calendar. It’s a day when the auction price of wholesale flowers responds to the demands of countless romantic souls across the globe, all celebrating romance at exactly the same moment, hence the shift in price, which is way out of our control. Growers and wholesalers have their own particular trials with the perilous logistics of supplying so many flowers and all for just one day. We florists, do our very best to accommodate the influx of additional orders for the big day. A tricky undertaking when you consider that the vast majority of flowers are purchased by men. Without wishing to fall into rash generalisations or succumb to stereotypical notions of gender, it is widely recognised that most blokes are far less inclined to think about the practicalities of surprising a loved one for Valentine’s Day several weeks in advance. It’s all very lastminute.com which, illustrates clearly that if Christmas was left exclusively to men to organise there would be a dangerous stampede for presents, food and general festive paraphernalia around 24 December, which would hardly make for a harmonious yuletide.
So we place an order for 1000s of flowers based on historical data and hope that love will find a way. And it certainly did. McQueens HQ was full to the brim with flowers, staff, energy, vibe and a sense of humour as our teams pulled together to make a wonderful Valentines’s Day, bringing gorgeous floral surprises throughout London.
‘Valentine’s Day is a logistical challenge from many points of view. All of our contract, school, events, shop and hotel teams come together, all hands on deck to help with the smooth running of such a busy period,’ explains McQueens operations manager, Michi Kanatschnig. ‘We have over 40 members of our team and we all work together to make it happen – everything hinges on the timings. We work extra long shifts and it plays havoc with your hands but there is a fun vibe in the building and we are all powered by adrenaline and the excitement of the day. Some of the card messages are hilarious – some we couldn’t possibly print for reasons of decency! – but Valentine’s day is all about fun. Our drivers tell us about some of the amazing reactions from recipients, particularly when delivering to large offices when a bouquet of flowers can get a huge round of applause!’