Every now and again news of a business that has been quietly forging ahead within its sector starts to gain deserved recognition for its success. Addison Ross is one such company, established by brothers David & Tim Addison Ross in 1978 with £100. Now one of the UK's leading designers and suppliers of stylish, quality photograph frames and clocks and a soon to be launched home fragrance collection later in 2016. Addison Ross supplies its luxury designs to leading UK department stores and interior accessory boutiques, has its own online retail operation and wholesale business of which an overall 60% of sales are exported to 32 countries worldwide.
The early days of the brothers' exploits were several steps removed from where Addison Ross' business is today. From a 1,000 sq ft gallery in Northumberland at a rental cost of £625 per annum, they specialised in selling Sporting Art. They quickly introduced a picture framing service due to client demand, before opening their London gallery on Eaton Terrace where they hosted eight shows a year for established as well as emerging artists and to which members of the Royal Family were frequent patrons. From this new central venue they forged into supplying art to property developments, leading banks and hotels as well as continuing to work with private clients. Meanwhile the picture framing business, still based in Northumberland, expanded into specialist frames including Water Gilt, Hand Veneered and Colour Wash finishes. Art restoration was offered to Spinks, West End galleries including The Tryon Gallery, to architects and interior designers.
By 1990 David had met his Australian wife Sarah, who had, on a visit to his family been introduced to the craft of creating her own gilded photo frame using the factory machinery housed nearby. This proved to be her starting point in the business when this design quickly went on to be a best seller. The gap in the market for stylish, elegant photograph frames was clear to see.Their first appointment with Gore Booker, a small interiors shop in Covent Garden resulted in a £4,000 order. Within 12 months, Addison Ross frames were displayed throughout Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and House of Fraser all of which continue to stock the ranges today.
The Marquetry range of photograph frames was introduced in 1990. This swiftly headed to the top of the best seller list, hand made in Northumberland using raw materials from Tuscany. Now these frames are crafted by a newly established artisan workshop in San Gimignano. For David Addison Ross this proved the turning point in the business. He no longer worked with major corporates selling stunning artworks; where once a hotel's walls were complete, the project would end. With photo frames, new inspirations, designs and directions were always unfolding and needing to be explored and capitalised upon.
New stockists, including John Lewis, WH Smith, Next and Marks & Spencer were all attracted to the Addison Ross brand. The latter, upon receipt of what David and Sarah thought was a ridiculously large order were called in for a range review, during which the merchandiser interrupted proceedings with a so called 'problem'. The photograph frames had gone 'bulk'. Which resulted in a £1 million order there and then with immediate delivery required!
The Northumberland set up was vastly extended to the 10,000 sq ft factory it is today. Reflecting the update in government regulation some of the production was shifted to China and growing exports became an essential focus. Attending trade fairs in the US and Europe has resulted in 60% of Addison Ross' business being delivered overseas including back to mainland China.
By 2008 David had bought out the shareholding of the business and he and Sarah had moved their young family to Berkshire. The business focus was now intent on developing exclusive Addison Ross designs, scaling back on supplying large UK retailers. The brand has emerged in its own right utilising stunning new materials such as shell, shagreen, enamel, rose gold and glass all smartly packaged in Addison Ross's signature of taupe and ivory. It also means that the collections can mirror trends in homes and interiors - the recent fashion for taupe, greys and pastels are all reflected in the Addison Ross collections, updated twice a year. Faux skins including moc croc and shagreen are hugely popular, the fashionability of rose gold seen in jewellery and footwear is also reflected in the collection.
The brand is stocked across the US in Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Restoration Hardware, Yves Delormes, Gumps and Nordstrom. Addison Ross designs exclusive collections for Claridges Hotel, Highgrove and the Venice Simplon Orient Express.
The Hyde Insideis a new online home accessories site offering gorgeous, carefully selected products that ex BBC marketeer Peta Clifton has used to furnish her two recently refurbished holiday houses nestled within the beautiful Herefordshire countryside.
Encouraged by the positive comments she'd received while guests stayed at The Hyde and The Freeth, Peta's insatiable search for antiques combined with contemporary accessories has created two of the most comfortable, idyllic properties perfect for large gatherings of family or friends.
The brainchild of interior designer Stephanie Dunning, Inky Velvet is an exclusive collection of hand made cushions and throws.
Selected from some of the most beautiful fabrics in the world, from leading fabric designers, Inky Velvet creates a collection of luxurious, affordable cushions, designed to work across a myriad of interiors styles from cutting edge contemporary to cosy country.
Stuffed full of duck feathers, Inky Velvet cushions are just a bit bigger than usual giving the cushions that wonderfully full and plump finished look.
The Inky family of cushions can be mixed together in so many different ways to suit any interior. Take Alexander which is made from the softest Italian silk velvet, he looks rather fabulous and cool sitting behind Sophie, the delicious sweetie cushion or spice up your home with the gorgeous Boho Sienna.
Twice a year Inky Velvet creates new collections so that next season Inky Velvet cushion covers can be changed creating a whole new look in an instant.
Josie Eastwood Fine Art is situated just outside Winchester. Previously a farm storage shed of twisted black corrugated iron, now a haven of a gallery with beamed vaulted ceiling letting in streams of daylight, it sits across the gravel driveway from her home - two dilapidated barns cleverly joined to form the most gorgeous brick and flint conversion in the heart of the rolling Hampshire countryside. Three times a year Josie’s home is turned upside down and transformed into a living, breathing extension of the gallery with over a 100 paintings shown above the fireplaces, along hallway walls; above the AGA, propped against shelves of books and in nooks and crannies. A further 250 paintings from over 40 of Josie’s artists hang from every wall within the gallery. Contemporary is her thing but never so outré or unaffordable. Prices start at £200 and reach £15,000. Over the years what she has found is that clients love seeing art hung in her home - it's a chance for people to see how naturally pictures fit into decoration and family life. They simply blend with the life of a house. Smaller sculptures sit on windowsills whilst the garden is scattered with stunning larger outdoor pieces.
Josie Eastwood has been active in the art market for over 25 years. Having graduated in Fine Art from Exeter University she went on to various high profile jobs in the art world including working within the British Paintings department at Sotheby’s and at Julian Hartnoll, the highly respected Pre-Raphaelite dealer in the West End. In addition she managed the Cadogan Gallery in Chelsea in the early 1990s when it was jointly owned by Philip Mould and Christopher Burness and worked at Project Art, an art consultancy. In 1996 before pop ups were really talked about Josie booked some space at Battersea Library to show a variety of paintings she particularly loved. The show was a sell out! And from this Josie Eastwood Fine Art was born. She continued the business on moving to live in central Winchester selling art from her home. It was on taking on a barn conversion in 2000 in a nearby village – Chilcomb – that business became more serious with an annual show. Since then the numbers of shows have increased to three and she is now living and running her gallery from her latest home in Sparsholt.
Listed in the last three editions of The House & Garden Directory of the 100 Leading Interior Designers, Marion Lichtig brings over 30 years of design experience to her client's projects and homes. A content and confirmed under-the-radar designer, renowned for working in harmony with the homeowner, she trained in fashion and textiles at Central St Martins before gaining valuable experience in the antiques business and graduating into interiors.
Her ethos is simplicity and pared-down symmetry, 'My design is about the careful balance of contemporary and classic. I like a room to look as though it belongs to the present while incorporating elements of the past. A home should look as if it has evolved over time even if it has been put together over a limited period. Everything should feel effortless and unplanned. Mybête noireis a scheme designed to feel it is something that it is not. I like to approach the decoration of any house by first letting the building speak.'
Hamsptead based, Marion has worked across a diverse variety, from small beginnings to major design and build projects in London, Oxford, the English seaside, country houses and chalets in Switzerland.
She has long been a collector of vintage fabrics and is inspired by the colours of nature, natural textural elements, interesting pieces whether they be furniture or objects. During any free time she can be found trawling around antiques fairs, quirky shops and galleries. 'I find combining expensive pieces with purchases found in maybe a junk shop give a feel of originality. I love seeing piles of beautifully bound books and throwing in a splash of colour. Each project may have my hand writing but it should also reflect each client. My biggest aspiration is for the client to enjoy the entire process as well as the end result.'
A recent client of Marion Lichtig's comments 'I have used Marion Lichtig for several major design projects in the last five years and have always been delighted with the results. I have also received many, many compliments from friends for her work. Marion sources furniture and fabrics that are unusual and often quirky - both modern and vintage. But beyond this, her use of colour is outstanding, using different textures and tones which don't specifically match to achieve a look which is classy, warm, homely and above all unique.
If you like the matchy matchy look of a hotel Marion is not for you, but if you are going for a more original look, be it funky, boho or classic, Marion is your woman!'
Owl Lighting was established in 2004 by ex film & Channel Four TV publicist Sally Stephenson. She has steadily grown it into a prized mid-size design business, based in Alresford, near Winchester in the heart of Hampshire. Predominantly focusing on residential interiors and beautifully landscaped gardens and exteriors, Sally has steered the company with her love of design and architecture, from small project beginnings to major new build and historical renovation contracts.
Owl Lighting delivers design specs, incorporating the latest trends and lighting innovations that grace London pied a terres, cozy country cottages, historical mansions, seaside holiday houses and landscaped terraces and gardens. One-off kitchen, bedroom, drawing room and garden briefs are always welcomed.
With over 350 projects already completed Sally is highly regarded for her thoughtful design and concentration on up to the minute lighting advances in an era when the complexity of technology has never been greater. This year sees Paul Stephenson, Sally's husband and a technical lighting expert join the company from his previous role with leading commercial innovators Clearvision Lighting.
In the early 2000s halogen lighting was ubiquitous, quickly overtaken by LED products, many early examples of which were cheaply produced and unreliable. Superbly executed designs were often thwarted by cheap imports from the Far East. This proved the impetus for Sally and Paul to design their own curated range of products and suppliers that would work well for LED home projects. More recently the trend for using organic materials, particularly wood and paper has been enabled by the technological development in LEDs. This would not have been possible in the past because of the heat given off by previous forms of light sources.
Owl Lighting's creative design and technological expertise, its vast experience of working directly with clients, interior designers and architects marks this dynamic team as a forceful presence; equally adept with minimal modern to listed heritage.
RECENT CLIENT TESTIMONIALS
'I had no idea what a difference good lighting would make to the enjoyment of our house until Owl Lighting made a few simple tweaks to one room. After that, I was hooked and kept coming back for more. I wish we had done it sooner. The areas of the house that have been worked on by Owl Lighting are now well lit, without being bright, and warm and lovely to be in. In short they have been transformed.'
Mrs K. Winchester, November 2016
'It only took a 5 minute phone call for Sally to understand our lighting needs and I knew I had found just the right person to design the lighting for our new kitchen. She was a complete professional throughout the entire project. She came to the house to understand the room and she was here whenever she thought the builders or engineers needed her guidance. She drove the lighting design, worked with our builders and electricians and ensured everyone hit the necessary deadlines. On top of that she created a beautiful lighting scheme in my kitchen with high quality fixtures and a great variety of moods for different occasions. As a nice bonus her enthusiasm was infectious and she was a joy to work with.'
Mrs M. Surrey, July 2015
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Rosebie Morton is the UK's leading grower of scented roses, founder of The Real Flower Company and owner of sweetpeasdirect.com. Once deemed as completely mad; with the word 'rose' featuring in her very name; Rosebie has never understood why anybody would wish to buy, let alone grow flowers with absolutely no scent......
She has brought horticulture and the cultivation of scented garden roses in particular to many people’s attention within the industry since 1998. She grows all her 30,000 scented roses across 17 different varieties, roughly 150 species of English flowers including a huge range of Dahlias, Peonies and Hydrangeas, plenty of annuals, wild flowers plus aromatic herbs and foliage on 11 acres of chalk soil nestled within the beautiful rolling Hampshire countryside around Hinton Ampner. On average she is cutting 300,000 stems per year.
The most popular Roses are Margaret Merril and Chandos Beauty (both Harkness bred), Evelyn (bred by Austin) and Just Joey (by Cants of Colchester) and the season usually runs from the end of May until the first main frosts, which last year meant Rosebie was still harvesting into November! Foliage continues to be cut throughout the year whilst in spring Hellebores and Lilly of the Valley are in demand.
Following much trial and error, and horrifying industry players who thought she was completely mad, she pursued her fascination with growing scented roses from her walled garden, later experimenting disastrously in a wheat field before recognising the benefits of, admittedly not as attractive, but practical, plastic polytunnels. During winter months, the roses are grown and supplied from a Kenyan farm situated at the base of Mount Kenya run by her fellow directors, Tim & Maggie Hobbs. Most of what the Hampshire and Kenyan farms grow supplies the online retail operation, the Real Flower Company, but plenty of produce is also sold at Covent Garden as well as various London farmer’s markets during the summer, and also from the Hampshire Rose Paddock farm gate. Rosebie regularly exhibits at Chelsea Flower Show and Hampton Court Flower Festival where she delivers humorous and informative talks on cultivating roses under the vagaries of the English weather system.
Rosebie's frustration at the lack of scent in English floral bouquets and cut flowers resulted in her establishing her own florist, The Real Flower Company back in 2002. Her vision was to deliver generously tied bouquets of scented blooms with natural blemishes, wayward stems and vibrant colours to blow her customers' senses and make them wake up to the beauty of garden flowers as well as the power of scent. As of January 2015 the Real Flower Company became sole distributor of David Austin's floral bouquets and his bridal collection.
From May to November each year she can be regularly spotted marching down the aisles of The Rose Paddock which is open by arrangement for Garden Visits, Tours and all day Workshops. The paddock never fails to inspire both novices and professional gardeners alike, with its extraordinary mix of over 150 different species whose colours, textures and scents are mesmerising. The site is completely wrong for rose growing with a ph of 7.8 and solid chalk but this adds even more credence to Rosebie’s mission.
As a young girl, Rosebie's family moved home frequently. Amongst the piles of packing cases, the roses always came too. Rosebie’s mother, a passionate gardener, passed the gardening addiction to Rosebie and introduced her to Margaret Merril, (bred by Harkness), the quintessential English rose with an award winning citrus scent which Rosebie heralds as the raison d’être behind her career.
Rosebie Morton now in her early 50s has three children at university and a wonderfully down to earth farmer husband who parks his second hand Cessna immediately outside their back door. Her own garden is a constant, delightfully fragrant work in progress, with many a plant nurturing experiment underway.
She also grows sweet peas under glass near Chichester, but runs this as a separate entity with Waitrose being her main customer. These equally exquisitely scented blooms are available to order online.
Born and raised in Northern Ireland, Shane Connolly's childhood love of nature, flora and fauna has evolved into a lifelong interest in horticulture. With an organic approach to floral design, he selects flowers and foliage for their own intrinsic qualities; his designs aim to flatter these idiosyncrasies in a quirky, unpretentious style, heralded for its elegance and originality. He is firmly associated with the use of seasonal British flowers, and whether growing in pots or cultivated for purpose, all the plants and flowers Shane uses are local, sustainably sourced and can be planted out in a garden or composted afterwards.
He began his floristry apprenticeship in London with Pulbrook & Gould under the guidance of legendary royal florist Michael Goulding OBE. By 1989 he was ready to establish his eponymous business, and over the past 28 years he has become internationally known working for private and corporate clients including London's Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts, where he thoroughly relishes the satisfying challenge of designing events around the ever-changing exhibitions in both venues.
His client list has been described by Harpers & Queen magazine as 'enviable' and his discretion is legendary. In 2005 Connolly was invited to design the flowers by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall for her marriage to HRH The Prince of Wales at the Service of Dedication at Windsor Castle. In recognition of this, he was awarded a Royal Warrant of Appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales in 2006. A few years later, in 2011, Connolly was appointed Artistic Director for the wedding of TRH's The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. According to the Daily Telegraph this propelled Shane Connolly 'from enigmatic unknown to one of the most famous florists in the world'. A second Royal Warrant of Appointment was awarded by HM The Queen in 2015.
Connolly regularly lectures and conducts masterclasses both at Highgrove and as far afield as the US, South Africa, Korea, France, Japan and India. His thoughtful approach to all his commissions is underpinned by an ethos of 'design led by nature' and the return to the garden or compost of his magical creations after the party is over. In 2017 his studios on Latimer Road will play host to a series of UK workshops expounding his creative theories and unstructured floral displays. Topics range from the creation of glorious, growing table-scapes to lush, natural Christmas wreaths with an unexpected twist.
Connolly published his first book, Table Flowers in 1996 followed by Shane Connolly's Wedding Flowers in 1998; The Secret Language of Flowers was published in 2004and A Year in Flowers published in 2012. His fifth book Discovering the Meaning of Flowers was launched in February 2017.
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STEPHANIE DUNNING INTERIOR DESIGN
Stephanie Dunning is one of those designers who has a wealth of knowledge and experience having designed schemes and interiors for private clients throughout the UK and overseas since 1989.
Bold and bubbly you can see why clients appreciate her honesty and skill at turning their dreams into reality. Her innate love of colour and gorgeous fabrics and appreciation for superb design underpins all her commissions. Based from her Design Studio, a converted barn in the heart of Wiltshire, Stephanie and her team work on a series of high end private client's homes including Heads of State, international home owners, country and city owners, architects and property developers. Currently commissions include a beautiful Georgian town house on the banks of the River Test, a historic country house surrounded by a private estate overlooking the Beaulieu River. Whilst in Berkshire she has recently completely refurbished an 18th century cottage with its very own War Room. Plus a private Mustique villa is in the process of a complete re-design while a bachelor's pied a térre in Mayfair has been whipped into shape.
Her bespoke service covers the gamut from kitchen and bathroom design, to detailed electrical and mechanical layouts to soft furnishings and bespoke furniture and of course project management and budget control.
Everything really got rolling when Stephanie was in her 20s. Whilst working with her father's construction business, she learnt the art of detailed technical drawing which she still uses to kick start all her projects today. She gradually got into buying and selling London houses, completely refurbishing them before selling and moving on to the next project. It was at this time that, and having just finished working a stint with Nina Campbell, she was asked to quickly run up the curtains for King Hussein's London office. No problem. This was done and it immediately led to more business and the start of her life as an interior designer. Stephanie was previously Deputy Chair of the BIDA.
Stephanie, now in her early 50s, married to Peter Everard of The English Joinery Company, with seven children between them lives in a recently re-constructed 18th century house close to Salisbury. With only one original wall remaining in situ, the whole house has been completely rebuilt utilising superbly crafted joinery and details. It has just been featured in Homes & Gardens making front cover too. Stephanie Dunning is a member of the BIID.
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The Freeth sleeps 18 in nine bedrooms and has its own private indoor swimming pool, ideal for keeping all ages entertained, whatever the weather. Hidden away up a no-through road surrounded by some of the most unspoilt, beautiful Herefordshire countryside imaginable. Like its neighbour house, The Hyde it has been lovingly restored, stylishly furnished, incredibly comfortable with no detail overlooked.
The Freeth which means 'a house by the wood', was originally a hunting lodge, surrounded by the Netherwood deer park, of which remains of the medieval park pale can be seen today. It later became a farmhouse and is Grade II listed dating back to the 15th Century when the original part of the house was built. It has the original cruck beams where you can still see the witch or apotropaic (protective) marks to ward off evil spirits. A Tudor hunting lodge has been joined to the adjoining Georgian cider house where the traditional Herefordshire tipple used to be made from the surrounding apple orchards with a wonderful double-height oriel window to create a fantastically light, spacious and comfortable house (incidentally, The Freeth also has a state-of-the art wood pellet boiler, with all the same advantages of the one at The Hyde - historic houses without the chilly drafts).
The open plan country kitchen is full of period features including beams and a range fireplace but the equipment is bang up-to-date . It has a four door AGA, separate electric cooker, American style fridge freezer, 2 dishwashers, double sink and a microwave. It is ideal for keen cooks or if you choose our in-house chef service (see more on this below).
The large kitchen table can seat 10 with south-facing wonderful views across the lawn to the fields beyond. The sitting room is a lovely, large, light-filled room with double aspect windows. polished wooden floors and a log fire, with lots of squishy sofas and masses of room for everyone. Perfect for drinks before dinner or reading the Sunday papers. Meanwhile for more formal gatherings a large dining table can seat 18 in comfort.
Outside The Freeth has a very large, private and pretty garden originally designed by Robert Myers, six times gold medal winner at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Nestled within the heartland of Herefordshire, close to Bromyard is a glorious privately owned estate called Netherwood. Brimming with history dating back to long before the Doomsday Book, it has several listed houses, two of which are now available to rent as luxury holiday lets.
The Hyde is a Grade II* listed gem of a house built around its own courtyard, which can sleep up to 20 people. Meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship have revealed the historical spirit of this 13th Century hall house which in itself is surprising given that It is extremely rare to find a domestic building of this age still standing. It is generously and comfortably fitted throughout - perfect for a family Christmas or New Year gatherings, and celebrations can easily be accommodated around the vast dining room table.
Recently completely refurbished under the guidance of English Heritage, The Hyde has won a prestigious Historic Houses Association restoration award. The secret to winter days at The Hyde is its warm cosy atmosphere. A blazing crackling fire can be lit in the sitting room while a wonderful traditional wood burning stove nestles within the Elizabethan inglenook fireplace in the dining room. Further wood burning stoves are to be found in the TV room as well as the two reception rooms in the cottage. The house and cottage are heated throughout, and hot water provided from a state-of-the-art wood fuelled boiler – environmentally friendly as well as efficiently keeping the temperature at a regular 21° degrees.
The Hyde is available for short and holidays lets throughout the year. During warmer months a narrow gauge steam railway operates from the 'station' situated behind the house wending its way into the woods beyond. Children are very much welcome - bikes and a table tennis table are housed in the Elizabethan barn within the courtyard, the woods behind the house are there to be explored and make camps in and a tennis court is just beside the maze in the back garden. Warm whites grace the walls whilst clever ideas with antiques and vintage finds deck the bedrooms and sitting rooms. The large comfortable beds are made up with the finest Egyptian cotton sheets, fluffy towels and the kitchen is full of the latest gadgets. The house has a plethora of interesting architectural and historical references. Much of the upstairs furniture was sourced from auction and in most of the main rooms is a framed description of how the room would have looked in centuries gone by plus highlights of historical facts discovered during the refurbishment of The Hyde.
The Real Flower Company is all about luxury bouquets created from exquisitely scented roses, English flowers, herbs and foliage grown on its own English and Fairtrade sustainable farms. An online business, bouquets ordered by 4 pm will be delivered the following day.
Since 1995 when founding director, Rosebie Morton first started growing scented garden roses in the walled garden at her family farm in Hampshire, the team at The Real Flower Company has stayed true to its mission to bring exquisitely scented natural roses, flowers, herbs and foliage back into the floristry and cut flower market.
What makes The Real Flower Company's produce and arrangements more scented than ordinary flowers?
Few modern cut roses feature any trace of scent. This is because most commercially grown flowers have had their scent gene genetically removed to increase their durability and longevity. In contrast, The Real Flower Company is passionate about restoring the growing of exquisitely scented roses and flowers just as nature intended. These stunning varieties have their scent gene firmly intact. Over the years, and much trial and error, Rosebie Morton has searched for, curated and now grows the world’s finest selection of scented cut roses that as well as being beautiful, boast an exquisite variety of scents.
Promoting Provenance and Sustainability by Growing on Own Farms
Hinton Ampner, Hampshire This farm nestled in the South Downs National Park, is where hand-tended garden roses, wildflowers, herbs and foliage are grown. Full of natural charm, character and the vital ingredient – scent, responsibly grown with sustainable farming techniques and eco-initiatives. Certified under the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme, and part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme this 11 acre farm is a member of the Farm Wildlife Advisory Group.
Enormous care is taken to contain soil structure and use minimal tillage to improve and maintain good nature, fertility and worm populations. Drip irrigation is essential to avoid soil erosion and waste. The roses are never sprayed when in flower which protects several varieties of bees and other insects which are feeding. Dotted about the paddock are hives which encourage these bees which, in turn help pollination.
All the plant and rose bushes are planted through specialist matting that suppresses weeds, negating any use of weed killers. Biologicals are used instead of sprays to control some pests. Guinea fowl and bantams roam free keeping aphids and unwanted insects at bay. All The Real Flower Company produce conforms to the LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) standard.
Chichester, West Sussex The Real Flower Company also grows sweet peas on a farm near Chichester. During spring and early summer English scented sweet peas are abundantly incorporated into the bouquets.
Scented Roses, English Flowers, Sweet Peas, aromatic herbs and foliages are then either supplied to the trade and leading florists around the UK or hand-tied by the experienced floristry team at The Real Flower Company's charming clapperboard farm building in West Sussex and despatched in the signature olive green hat boxes or packaging.
Since January 2016 The Real Flower Company is the official grower and distributor of David Austin bouquets across the UK.
The Real Flower Company has received a number of industry and consumer awards celebrating its luxury floristry and trade business, the latest being the 2016 UK Ornamental Grower of the Year from Grower Magazine.
The William Edwards name is synonymous with the finest bone china ware in the world, based in the heart of Stoke-on-Trent, home of Britain's 'potteries' and where bone china was first developed in the 18th century. This eponymous business began designing and manufacturing bone china over twenty years ago. It now supplies the finest bone china tableware to luxury hotels and restaurants, as well as private clients' homes and yachts, and continues to expand and thrive today, flying the flag for true British craftsmanship.
Current clients include some of the world's finest establishments such as Claridges, The Goring, The Connaught and The Ritz. While Historic Royal Palaces, Highgrove and Fortnum & Mason all stock bespoke William Edwards ranges. The dining rooms at Wimbledon, Lord's, the RAC, Jet Airways, Blenheim Palace, Aston Martin and Westminster Abbey all dine on William Edwards' fine bone china. The Orient Express Group (now known as Belmond) its hotels and trains, the Fairmont Empress in Canada and Burj Al Arab in UAE are all international clients.
The face behind the brand and a true son of Stoke, William Edwards was born there in 1963. He gained his first class BA Honours degree in Stoke, and subsequently was awarded a scholarship by leading Stoke company, Wedgwood to study an MA in Ceramic and Glass at the Royal College of Art. It was whilst there that he was tutored by various eminent artist designers in particular Eduardo Paolozzi, who was a significant influence on his work.
Following his degree show in 1989 Alessi offered William a position in their design studio at their headquarters in Omegna, Italy. This he declined, he was keen to establish his own business at home in Shropshire.
Over the next three years, his focus was on shape and pattern design in the tableware industry from throwing his own pots to designing and hand finishing the patterns printed upon them.
Whilst on frequent visits to the Ambiente Show in Frankfurt (this is the leading dining & living international trade show), William was approached by Hutschenreuther, since 1814 the leading Bavarian porcelain producer, to survey the existing screen print industry which supplied the major ceramic manufacturers in Stoke-on-Trent. Fortuitously this led him to finding a small Yorkshire based print business, Ceramic Decals Limited, and within 18 months he'd bought it.
CDL quickly became the UK's leading silkscreen printer of decorative patterns, carefully hand finished across dinner services, commemorative memorabilia, bespoke designs as well as mugs and general use tableware for all the major Stoke pottery manufacturers Wedgwood, Royal Worcester and Royal Doulton. It gradually expanded to take on international clients. At the same time, the early 1980s, was a relaxation of import quotas from China which heralded the beginning of the end for UK luxury fine bone china ware. Added to which the trend for eating informally in the kitchen or dining out helped to bring formal dining to an end.
William could see that CDL need to respond and devise a new business strategy that didn't rely heavily on UK Stoke-based producers. The brand that emerged is the eponymous William Edwards, now focused on bespoke tabletop bone china products in 5 star luxury markets.
Now in 2016 with the launch of an online retail site, William Edwards is attracting new customers who appreciate the quality of his eight collections from the country influenced Tweed screen printed range to the stylish silver stripe sophistication of Metropolitan. For a selection based on four settings, prices would start at approximately £220 and rise according to the amount of gold or platinum used in any hand painted finishes.
From a workforce in Stoke of 82,000 people in 1993, the area has rapidly declined to approximately 10,000 in 2016. William Edwards is thriving with a workforce of 30 people, based in a typical Stoke redbrick factory with the canal winding past. His international sales increase 20% year on year whilst the business has a fast increasing market share in the UK's 5* luxury hotel and restaurant sector. William Edswards remains at the forefront of the design process and continues to fly the flag for British manufacturing in an area which prides itself for world class ceramic creativity.
William Edwards is married with three university-aged children and continues to live in the Shropshire countryside.