Charlotte Wood is the founder and creative force behind cult florist, Wild Wood London. I met Charlotte through Instagram, the platform she credits for giving her almost all of her work. Like more than 15,000 others, I was lured in by her grid full of her perfectly balanced and elegantly wild creations - something which has become her signature style. She is from a family of creative entrepreneurs (her sister is Sophie Paterson) so the thought of going it alone didn't seem perhaps as daunting as it would to most. Charlotte is so lovely and helpful and she is a total joy to work with. We'll be signing up for one of her workshops ASAP!
We spoke to Charlotte about fashion, floristry and being an entrepreneur...
We would love to hear about your journey into floristry. What inspired your career change? What has been the best part and the biggest challenge of starting your own business?
I started out working in fashion, in particular Burberry and Allsaints, as part of their womenswear design teams. My degree was in womenswear design and it had always been a dream of mine to become a fashion designer. It was an amazing learning experience and I got to have really 'hands on' experience at Burberry and I was surrounded by such insane talent. I assisted Luke Goidadin, the womenswear design director at the time - he is now the creative director of Smythson. I then moved to Allsaints and the design team became like my family as you work such long hours together. I loved the buzz of living and working in East London in my twenties. After 4/5 years in the industry I started to crave a new challenge and, as I come from a family of entrepreneurs, starting my own business wasn’t an alien concept. I had started to make a pilgrimage to Colombia road flower market every Sunday and I started to make my own little arrangements at home. I enrolled on a part time course at Capel Manor to learn the basics of floristry and just loved it. I then followed up with an intensive four week course at McQueens which was phenomenal and continued to gain experience within the events team.
You are so in demand. What does a typical day look like for you?
Each day is so varied; one day I’ll be working at 5am and visiting the flower market in Battersea. I will then work flat out in the studio on multiple events. Another day I can be meeting with potential clients all across London visiting venues and designing flowers for birthday parties, weddings and corporate events. I love meeting new people and have always been super sociable.
What is your go to outfit for a day in the studio or meeting clients?
For a day in the studio I will usually wear jeans, Converse and a James Perse t-shirt. If I am meeting clients I will dress up more and wear my Gucci heels, a Loeffler Randal straw bag and a simple shirt dress from &OtherStories or Sandro. Looking smart makes me feel more confident which hopefully shines through when I meeting clients. I am still obsessed with fashion and love mixing designer with high street pieces.
You always seem to be pushing the bar with your creations. What motivates you? Where do you look to for inspiration?
I am continuously learning and reading books by florists or gardeners that I admire. I love Lewis Miller who is based in the states. He is such an original - definitely check out his instagram @lewismillerdesign . I also love Vic Brotherson’s book (owner of Scarlet & Violet a florist based in North London) who has put together the most gorgeous book called Vintage Flowers.
What flowers should we be buying right now?
Unfortunately peony season has just ended and those are my favourite flowers. Sweetpeas are deliciously scented and come in such a variety of colours I always have a vase of them on my bedside table. Delphiniums are always a statement flower and look great by themselves in a simple sleek tall vase. Cafe au lait dahlias are another favourite of mine and are available now.
What were your must haves when designing your studio? Did you work with a designer?
I didn’t actually work with a designer on my studio but my sister Sophie (@sophiepatersoninteriors) has had a huge influence on my design aesthetics and has designed my new house. The studio is very industrial so I wanted to keep within that theme. I painted the floor and walls in light grey tones and zoned the studio to have a desk area with a gorgeous leather trimmed rug that Sophie designed for a previous flat of mine. I then have a practical floristry events area, my trestle table and chairs are from French Connection Home. I also have a wall with framed prints of my work to act as a showcase for visiting clients. I use industrial steel racking to display all my vases and props which seem to accumulate very quickly.
Lastly, what is your favourite hotel or bar for its great design, at home or overseas?
I am obsessed with travelling and venturing to new destinations. This year I have plans to go to Paris, Venice, Marbella, Mykonos, Biarritz & Ibiza and Vietnam. My favourite London hotel is the Rosewood - it is so luxurious but also very relaxing and the flowers always look incredible there.