Lorna Kenny - British Florist Association

Lorna Kenny

Name: Lorna Kenny 

Where did you grow up? Yorkshire

Where do you work? Aberdeenshire

Role: A sole trader, studio-based event florist, owner of Sakura

My journey:
I had a very non-traditional route into floristry. I studied Classical Music at university, but I dropped out in my second year. I then did various office-based jobs, until one day I saw an advertisement for a florist assistant in a flower shop based in a local hospital. As I child I had been around flowers a lot since my grandad used to grow them, but it wasn’t until then that I thought of working with them. I got the job at the hospital which involved a lot of delivering flowers to wards. 

After that, I applied for a florist assistant job in a local shop, where I was bench trained by senior florists with very different styles and techniques. Following that, I did various floristry courses, for example at Tallulah Rose. I left the job at the shop in 2013 as I had my first child, and in 2014 I started my own company, Sakura, where I work from my (home) studio. 

What is the best thing about your job?
A couple of things! There’s the freedom I have in terms of what I get to make, as well the opportunity to meet so many different people with my clients. When I started working as a florist assistant, I realised that I really enjoyed the customer service aspect – learning about what people like, and so on. After that I began to really love designing new ideas and the more technical aspects of the job. It’s such a personal thing to send flowers. Being able to act as a conduit between people, especially during this time of a pandemic – and doing that with flowers – is amazing. I also love being in complete control of my career.

What’s the biggest challenge?
Achieving the family / work balance. It’s not a part-time job and I have to go all in, giving 100% whilst raising a family. When you love your job like I do, finding the balance between work and home can be even more difficult as sometimes you end up feeling torn.

What advice would you give to newcomers?
1) Work for different people and immerse yourself in all kinds of floral work. Try freelance, work in a retail shop, help someone do a wedding… try to get experience in lots of different aspects, since they all help each other. By learning about lots of different styles and techniques, you will gain a better understanding of what you enjoy and be able to create your own style and way of working.

2) Think about sustainability, for example researching where you will get your flowers. Those starting out in the industry have a great opportunity to be as sustainable as possible from the beginning, which is really important. 

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