Urban Flower Company, a flower and plant studio in North London, has a unique and unstructured approach to their designs. Photographed by Anna Jacobsen on a recent trip to Crouch End, she fell in love with their creative and slightly wild style of flower arranging, finding the resulting mix of textures, tones and botanical influences fun, refreshing, and innovative. Owner Matthew Richardson shares his story, inspirations and insider tips with The Shopkeepers.
What year was Urban Flower Co established? 2011
Is there a story behind the name you chose? Having grown up in London, my urban surroundings influenced me a lot and when I was setting up the business I wanted to come at floristry from a different angle. The name came from combining a natural beautiful product and making it work within an urban (sometimes chaotic) environment by roughening it up a bit by designing more unstructured pieces.
What are you famous for? We stock an unusual selection of flowers and foliages and our designs are unstructured and natural in style, and that’s what our customers come to us for. Our botanical plant section has really taken off as more and more people are bringing low maintenance greens into their home and work spaces. Foliages and greens has always been a big thing with us, and we use it in all of our work as a feature rather than a filler. We’ve just been chosen as one of the winning florists to create designs for British Flowers Week this year – we decided to focus on British greens and foliages instead of flowers and the response was really good! You can see the designs here .
What makes your shop unique? We break boundaries with ‘traditional’ floristry, by roughening it up a little through our unstructured style. We like to create an experience for our customer, and think of each piece we create as having a story to it.
Who are your customers? A really wide variety – but the one thing they have in common is a real understanding of what we’re doing – it’s more than just flowers for them – it’s a journey and an experience.
How has the internet impacted your business? It’s part of something you have to be involved in now, and we started selling online at the beginning of the year – so far it’s been really successful. Social media is key to our business also, as it’s so visual, and we get a lot of work through Instagram.
Matthew Richardson, shopkeeper at Urban Flower Company
Who inspires you? Anyone who is original in their field. What inspires you: urban decay, urban life
The hardest lesson learned in starting a business? The huge sacrifices involved and finding the balance between work and life.
The best lesson you have learned opening a shop? To stay true to what you do. You can’t please everyone, and not everyone will love, get or appreciate what you do or what you’re about. And I’ve learned that that’s ok. In the long run I think people respect your business more.
Your advice for anyone wanting to open a shop? It is HARD WORK. Be prepared to make sacrifices. Be prepared to put in the hours. Be disciplined and love what you do.
What is your perfect day off? When I have one I’ll let you know!
On the Future of Retail
“It’s tough for small businesses, but I do think there will always be a place for independent shops doing their own unique thing and offering tailored products and experiences. At least I hope so anyway! That’s how I like to shop.”
47 Park Road, London
Photographs by Anna Jacobsen We Are Here Now