We are fortunate to have a fantastic troop of extraordinarily talented people that work at McQueens. Florists, support staff and office administrators to name a few. Towards the top of the tree and earning the respect of everyone who works with him, is a longstanding McQueens florist, Zibi Zareba. Zibi is our go-to man for hotel and contract excellence, and for large scale jobs that need mechanical skill and muscle in addition to a flair for flowers. He is a knowledgeable, calm and collected character, who always finds the time to assist other departments; making him a super popular chap, as you can imagine. Today we find out more from Zibi about his floral journey, starting at McQueens as a delivery driver and developing into a florist extraordinaire.
How did your career in flowers begin, Zibi?
I started off my career as a full-time musician in Poland. Working with flowers had never occurred to me until I moved to London and started work as a delivery driver here 9 years ago. McQueens was a much smaller business then and I soon started working to support florists, assisting with contracts and hotel installations. I started to learn more about flowers and the idea of working with them interested me. I soon gained lots of experience and eventually, I began to take responsibility for some restaurant clients; designing and installing flowers on a weekly basis. Over a period of time, I worked my way up to managing the flower installations for large hotel clients including The Berkeley, Rosewood London and Claridge’s Hotel.
What’s is a typical day for you?
There is no such thing as a typical day when you work with flowers except to say that working with restaurants and hotels means that there are lots of early starts! Every day is different! Most of my time is spent on the road creating weekly flowers, it certainly keeps me on my toes. Installation days tend to be very early or overnight jobs as we work on large-scale displays in public areas that need to be completed when no one’s around. We work hard to maintain the displays so that they look on-point all the time.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I love working with flowers. It’s as simple as that! There are so many interesting varieties all year round. You will never get bored. I also love working with people and with such a big team at McQueens, there are so many characters. There is always something interesting going on!
What are the most challenging things about your job?
People always imagine that working with flowers is an easy job. That’s the furthest thing away from the truth. Working with flowers is extremely hard work. It’s a very physical job, most people would be surprised to know how much work is involved, but the challenges are what makes it fun, too. You have to think on your feet and constantly find solutions for unexpected situations and I love that.
What are your favourite flowers?
You will never have a favourite flower if you work at somewhere like McQueens. We have many different varieties coming in every day so you’re bound to have multiple favourite flowers throughout the seasons. But if I had to pick one, I would choose the gloriosa lily. It looks like a delicate flower but it last a very long time so we will often use for contracts.
What would you say to anyone wishing to work in contract or hotel flower design?
Be prepared for hard work, long hours and cancel your gym membership! Working with flowers is a privilege but it’s not for those who wants an easy life!