Hello and welcome to Emerald & Jade’s brand new design! Along with a gorgeous new logo, a brand new website has been created for all you lovelies to enjoy. Isn’t it stunning? I have the very talented Becky Lord Design to thank for all this, I am absolutely in love with it all and feel very excited about where it will take Emerald & Jade and I! In the meantime, I thought it would be a good time to introduce myself, and let you know about the Fee behind the florist (that’s me!).
As you might have already seen from the About page, my name is Fiona (Fee to my friends). I haven’t been a florist all my life. Nor did I start training in floristry since I could walk, or anything of the sort.
I grew in France, which meant I had an amazing childhood! However education wise, France has a very “elite” mentality. I studied a Baccalaureat Litteraire, namely studying 8 hours of philosophy a week (yes, that is one crazy amount of philosophy!) and took classes for Spanish and Italian, as well as intensive English within an International School. Yet, because it wasn’t a Scientific Baccalaureat, people would joke that I wouldn’t get very far in life as I hadn’t been studying “important” subjects like physics and chemistry…
Having had enough of that mentality, I went off to England to go to University at 18, thereby following my mother’s footsteps in reverse. I remember absolutely loving it! Teachers and lecturers would ask for my advice and actually want to hear what I thought, rather than just hear me repeat what had been said in the textbook. I felt liberated.
I really enjoyed my degree. Apart from the French Law modules, which was exactly like being back at school in France. I spent a year studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. Living in Paris was a great experience. It also taught me that I never ever wanted to practice French Law. Ever.
I decided not to go to Law school, but instead to find work in a law firm to decide whether or not it was something I wanted to do. I started from the bottom and worked my way as a qualified Employment Lawyer. I loved the challenging work, and the area of work was incredibly exciting. But then it became more than just a job, and not in a good way.
It took over me. I would show up at work only to burst into tears when the phone rang. I was emotionally drained and part of me felt that this was not what I was meant to do with my life…
Then my family went through a tragic phase. My mum got diagnosed with breast cancer, and I lost 4 very close family members within a few years. At the time I had also just had my second baby, and something shifted in me. It was when my 3 year old had appendicitis and peritonitis, and was rushed for emergency surgery while on holiday abroad, that I took the decision to take things into my own hands. I was forced to have a month off work to care for my daughter so I had a lot of time to think. I realised that whatever was making me miserable, I could in fact change it. Because once you’re gone, you’re gone. That’s it. Your chance has gone.
I therefore did the unimaginable (for me at least), and handed in my notice to become a stay at home mum. This was terrifying. I had no back up plan. I had always enjoyed going to work, and I was pretty scared of being at home 24/7 with the kids with no idea of what career move I would take next. I fixed myself a two year deadline to find a new career.
For a while, I let nature take its course, and took up opportunities as they arose. Wonderful things started happening then. I ended up becoming an intern for an amazing Wedding website: French Wedding Style. I also wrote a regular feature whilst planning my own wedding. Its editor, Monique, is an incredibly inspiring and positive woman. She truly took me under her wing, and I strongly believe that thanks to her, I started to believe that it wasn’t too late to start a creative career after all.
From that moment, things took over completely and I’m not even sure where floristry truly began. I think it might have been when my sister got married. She lives in Australia, but was getting married in Bristol. So I helped with some of the planning. Her wedding flowers were amazing, and so I found myself emailing her wedding florist and asking her about training as a florist and what was it like? Claire was incredible and provided me with so much information, including the good but also the bad. Something clicked, and before I knew it, I had signed up for an Intensive Career Change course with the amazing Tallulah Rose Flower School in Bath.
During those four weeks, it felt as though I completely fell apart, only to then be rebuilt into something completely different. But somehow, it has always felt right and it was as though I knew that this, becoming a florist, was what I was meant to do.
The lawyer in me still occasionally talks to me and makes me wonder what on earth am I doing? But this voice is becoming quieter and quieter as time goes on, and the Fee behind the florist, is truly becoming confident and happy.
I do believe that my background in the corporate world is useful in my new line of work. I am not shy contacting people and discussing projects and ideas, or negotiating when required. But I am at my happiest when arranging flowers. The flower market is my new happy place. The flowers. The scent. The staff. I seem to have settled into it all like a fish to water!
My family and friends have also been incredibly supportive from the start, for which I am eternally grateful! ♥
Discovering my style and identity has also been very rewarding. And I love that Becky seems to have completely figured this out when working on my branding for me.
So there you are. A *little* about me, the florist. I promise not all my blog posts will be this long or personal. I just wanted to introduce myself properly!
To finish off, I have discovered a true passion for flowers. But more than that, I feel as though I truly am on a journey of self discovery, allowing me to be me. The me that grew up in France, lost in a corporate world and wanting to create beauty. When people ask me what I do now, I no longer mumble “I’m a lawyer”, and instead proudly say that I’m a florist with a big smile on my face. And that’s blooming marvellous if you ask me!