Once upon a time Helen worked for yell.com, helping businesses with their online presence, but she was always drawn to flowers. “I loved visiting florists, they seemed to enjoy their work and were surrounded by beautiful flowers all day. When on maternity leave I took a course in floral design and absolutely loved it, then I did another, and another, and soon I was taking a business-in-floristry course, after which I decided to take the plunge and go for it.”
Nice. She started with the ‘ta jar’ – a thank you jar filled with flowers and baby pineapples, and still a best seller. Since then Helen’s delivered flowers all over London, designed the blooms for weddings and events, run stalls at local markets, held floral crown and bouquet workshops and her airplants potted in neon animal planters (check her Instagram!) have been snapped up to adorn the coolest shelves in E10, E11 and beyond.
Originally from the West Midlands, Helen has been a Leytonstoner for eight years. “I’ve lived in north, south and east London, and east is by far my favourite,” says Helen. “We discovered Leyton after a few of our friends moved here, so we got to know the area before we bought. Leyton and Leytonstone have a real sense of community and I love how creative people are in this borough. I feel part of something special.”
Wanstead Flats is a favourite place: “We spend a lot of time there, especially in the summer months after school – it’s so nice to be near such big open spaces. We have some great places to eat and drink as well, like Marmelo, The Northcote, and the Leyton Star.
With her business steadily building and frequent requests for workshops, the time felt right for Helen open a shop – and yet Edie Rose Designs very nearly didn’t have a Francis Road location. “I had an appointment to view a shop on the high road but the vendor let me down,” explains Helen.
Disappointed, she was heading home along Francis Road when she noticed that 226 Francis Road was available. “I pulled over and gave the agent a call, he came down straight away and it just felt like the right one. I’m so glad we are on Francis Road; the street is undergoing lots of change, there’s so many reasons to spend time here and a florist will simply add to that landscape.”
Helen’s vision for the shop is for it to be a little oasis in the city. “I want it to be an interesting place that people will want to come and spend time in, surrounded by flowers and foliage. We’ll have workshop space for 12-15 people so there’ll be a large table at the front of the shop. I make modern macramé and cement concrete pots which will displayed along with terrariums, unusual planters, hand picked vases and, of course, flowers.”
With Helen tipping foliage to be big this season (“weddings this year are all about greenery, textures and unusual leaves,” she says) expect there to be plenty of plants and greenery to buy too. There’ll also be art and photography created by local artists on sale, as well as chocolates, greeting cards, home decor and gifts.
And in case you’re wondering, the name? “It comes from my love of the name Edie and my mum’s name Rose,” she says. All in all, blooming lovely.