Paula Pryke - 30 years in her own flower business and counting!
With nothing more than the love of flowers and an ambition to have her own business Paula established a flower shop in Islington in 1988. From that modest ambition Paula has worked in all areas of floristry over the last three decades and in several different continents mostly notably Europe, North America and Asia. She has opened 9 shops, N1, Canary Wharf, Liberty, Brompton X with Conran, Partridges on Duke of Yorks SQ, Selfridges in London and Birmingham, UK. Briefly had one with the Samsung corporation in Seoul. Aside from retail Paula built a massive flower contract business and also an enviable events department.
Only three years after the opening of her flower shop she was offered a publishing deal. Since then Paula has published 18 books on floral art and is a world authority. These books have been translated into as many languages and have arguably made Paula the best selling floristry author with Rizzoli in the US publishing her for over 25 years. This has established Paula as the most well know female florist in the world. Awarded an OBE in June 2014 for her contribution to floral design in the UK and for her impact and influence overseas. Paula was recognised for revolutionising the British Flower Industry and continues to mentor florists all over the world.
Paula originally trained and worked as a History teacher before retraining to work as a floral designer with the Constance Spry Flower school and as a part time florist at a London West End Flower business with 6 retail shops. Paula is a natural teacher and communicator and began demonstrating her skills in floral design in the early nineties as a response to the worldwide sales of her first book, ‘The New Floral Artist’. She set up a Flower School in Islington in 1994 which was a magnet for florists and flower enthusiasts from all over the world. Paula has lectured all over the world and is often the key-note speaker for charity events in the US and the UK. Paula is known for her use of colour and her unique style which has fans all over the world. In 2002 she was chosen to be a a judge at the prestigious Pasadena Rose Parade in LA.. Paula worked with the Samsung corporation in Seoul fro 3 years on a Banqueting and Retail business at The Shilla Hotel and has also worked with many other Japanese brands including Mitsubishi on retail projects and most recently with Hibiya-Kadan in Japan on a wedding and event business.
Paula had been a consultant for all the major Supermarkets in the UK but most notably Waitrose. Paula has consulted with numerous companies over the last thirty years all over the world from Target in the US, John Lewis retail and Dulux Paints on Colour in the UK as well Crystal Cruises, The World Residence at sea and several SuperYachts. More recently Paula’s consultancy projects have found her working on how to get fresh flowers to exotic ports around the world. A challenge she has enjoyed immensely.
Paula moved away from retailing flowers just ahead of the crash in 2007 when spiralling oil prices, hikes in rents and rates and unrealistic opening hours of department stores made retail less profitable. At that time Paula had 45 employees on 6 sites. Over three decades many florists were trained by Paula and see retains a talented team of freelancers who she calls in to assist her with current projects. From 2007 to now Paula has continued with her contract work in London, special events and gift deliveries. She continues to work on weddings all over the country and occasionally overseas. Paula has enjoyed with patronage of Terence Conran and worked with him on the floral decorations for his restaurant and hotel empire. Delia Smith, Mary Berry, Nigel Slater are long standing clients and friends. Paula’s simple style has been favoured by Architects and designers and she worked with many visionary architects including Norman Foster and the recently deceased Zara Hadid. Long standing clients have been Channel, Armani, Sotheby’s, D&D Restaurants as well as some city institutions and law firms. Added to that Paula has many loyal personal private clients also have used Paula for their family functions and events over the last thirty years.
Paula is passionate about the flower industry, currently she contributes a European view to the US Florist Review and her talent has taken her all over the world which makes her a very entertaining and knowledgeable speaker from a worldwide perspective. Her presentations are lively and informative. Paula is approachable and she loves to share her knowledge and inspire the next generation. Once a teacher always a teacher.