Friday, 31 January 2014

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday!

Hello all

So, today we celebrate our 2nd Birthday! And to be completely honest, I'm a bit overwhelmed and not quite sure how to write this post. So much has happened. In fact that last sentence is such a ridiculous understatement I think you might need to times "so much has happened" by the power of, I dunno, say a million!

I'm truly struggling to focus, which I must admit is pretty evident by me using anything remotely mathematical as reference! Where to begin? I've learned so, so much in these very, very short years and have had what sometimes seems like just far too much fun! Don't get me wrong, a new business (and my lovely team on maternity leave may not agree with me on this one), is like a new baby. Something which is a totally brilliant idea, but which you completely underestimated in terms of how much it take over your life and would need from you in time, energy, patience, effort, determination and sheer hard work.  But with it brings joy. And you love it. Especially when you get voted best Wedding Florist for your region!

Let's not get carried away though, it's hard to start a business. For anyone, especially if you have children. But I must admit I found it really hard. Without getting all political, it's a fact that we live in a pretty ageist society. This is something I've only discovered as I've gotten older. Not many people start their first business in their 50's. Especially not one which requires hard physical work!  You have to want it really badly and try to ignore the way in which people's preconceptions or stereotypes can affect their perception of you and just keep going. All those years of being around can add up to quite a few positives which may be missed by those who only see 'a mature woman'!

The benefits of running a business are innumerable. I adore my family, am blessed with the fabbest friends and am a happy soul generally but I have to say that Campbell's has brought me a new quiet confidence and self-respect that I've never really had before. It makes me truly happy. Don't get me wrong, the full weight of responsibility can induce fear and panic like I've never experienced before, but that's just the result of caring so much. Weddings and large-scale events can do that to you - they need to be right. Overall, being a business-owner is a good thing!

So, as I'm in serious danger of over-doing the soliloquising, these are a few things I have learnt

- Choose your friends wisely. When you first start up it's quite hard to know who they are. There are a group of people who were beyond lovely to me when I started up and I am blessed to have some amazingly supportive friends in this industry. These include kind hearts who loyally follow me and send me lovely messages which seriously cheer up a bleak day. They make social media a good place and their words are appreciated and reciprocated.
To a lesser extent there are people I befriended, who I've really helped, who've not played nicely and who noticeably do pretty much the same as I do! Like little carbon-copies. Time and time again. Sad, but true. I've learned the hard way to be pragmatic. Dignity is all!

- Don't fall out with people. It's not professional. I've been seriously provoked on many an occasion and I retaliated once and once only. I regretted it. I ended up apologising, more because I felt I'd let myself down than because I thought I was wrong. When you deal with people, you deal with all kinds of people. You won't like everyone, it's just not possible - not everyone is going to be your cuppa! What I would say is keep it to yourself. My tiff was all conducted in private and it's stayed that way. I intensely dislike people in this business who use social media as a platform to belittle people or generally moan about business situations. Preserve your integrity and if you need to vent (as we all do), do it in private!

- Stay focussed. As the business grows, trying to literally do everything can sometimes shift your perspective or energy into a direction you never meant to go in. Try to keep in mind why you started your business.  Mine's always been about creativity teamed with fab customer service. I didn't like the way weddings were just part of the day-to-day commercial running of the traditional florist shops I worked in, which had always done it the same way for years. In specialising I decided I wanted to look after my Brides and make the flowers a really memorable part of their day and not just something to be ticked off a 'to do' list.

- Create a team around you. They're your cushion, your friends, your saviours! Treat them well and appreciate everything they do for you because if things go well and business blooms, you won't be able to do it alone.

That's all folks! This year we promise to look after you the best way we can, work seasonally, champion British and locally grown flowers, create unforgettable designs and generally just keep on doing what we're doing as judging our bookings - you seem to like it!

A HUGE thank you goes out to Amy, Izzy & Sophie for all their continuing hard work, dedication and help with the business you've been amazing and just can't wait for what 2014 brings - it's going to be a busy one!  Much love to Mike & Ally for supporting me and being there (especially Mike whose design skills combined with an ability to lift the heaviest of boxes makes him the best of men!) and last, but no means least, a really MASSIVE thank you to all the brides, businesses and friends out there who choose to work with us. You truly mean a lot!

Tracey x

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Amy and Ben - Berries, Superstitions and "the Dream Team"!

Hello everyone!

We're very excited to bring you this stunning, winter-inspired, December wedding, filled with a fantastic assortment of berries to compliment the blooms!

When I met Amy, she told me their wedding would be mid-December; Friday the 13th, in fact! She laughingly reassured me that she and Ben weren't in the least bit superstitious, and in fact had decided to get married at 1pm, or 13:00 on a 24 hour clock, in order to really make a joke of it!

With it being a Winter Wedding, Amy was very keen on rich reds and soft creams, shot through with hints of gold, but most importantly was that there would be lots and lots of berries featured! She showed me some swatch colours of her gown which would be white, whilst her bridemaids would be dressed (very fittingly!) in berry red. Having seen other pictures of our work, Amy had her heart set on an unstructured, wildflower, hand-tied bouquet, featuring the "just-picked" look, that Campbells specialises in.

I suggested rich dark colours, such as red roses and deep purple astrantia, surrounded by wild-looking foliage, and lots of lovely berries like peachy rosehips and crimson hypericum, to give it a really unique look, then they would be finished with a band of berry ribbon, and a vintage-style white lace overlay. We decided that the bridesmaid's bouquets should be similar to Amy's, but appear lighter in colour by featuring white roses, cream lisianthus and sweet, fluffy gypsophila, as well as plenty of red hypericum berries to offset against this backdrop.

During our consultation, Amy told me that having she had also hired the fantastic Jenn Edwards to be her Make-Up Artist, and marvelous Jess Petrie as her photographer, because she had seen our collaborations like "Summer of Love" and adored it so much, she knew we would be the perfect combination - or "dream team" as she named us! - to make her wedding extra special.

Amy wanted her table flowers to replicate her wild, unstructured bouquets, which were placed inside burnished gold, chalice-style containers, and interspersed with loads of tea-lights, creating a gorgeous, soft atmosphere. The men's and women's buttonholes were an incredibly sweet, miniature version of the overall flower-scheme, featuring a tiny amount of hypericum, rosehips, and in the women's; a sprig of gypsophilia, and finished with berry and lace ribbon, matching the Brides' bouquet.

Here are some shots that I took of the fabulous flowers...

 A close-up of the gorgeous foliage and berries used in Amy's bouquet

Featuring the pretty berry and lace ribbon band to really finish the look

 Beautiful Bridesmaid's bouquet, which is noticeably lighter than the Brides' whilst still fitting perfectly with the design scheme

 Delightful hypericum berries peeking through!

Absolutely darling buttonholes which were sized-down versions of the bouquets

And here's a sneak peek of the photos from the absolutely fantastic Jess Petrie

Wow, absolutely stunning! Just can't wait to see more!

I hope you've enjoyed reading about such a wonderful Winter wedding, and that it may have given you some inspiration for your own wedding during the chilly months!

What kind of colours are your favourite for a wedding in the wintertime? Rich reds and golds? Snowy whites and silvers? Or maybe something entirely different, we would love to know in the comment section!

Now I'm off to reply to emails whilst cuddled up on the sofa in my warm jumper, with a cup of tea... brrr!

Tracey x

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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Campbell's Best Bits 2013 Part I - Spring

Hello all, well I have to say it's pretty good to be back - I've had the most fantastic couple of weeks off after an incredibly busy year and spending some really wonderful time with friends and family.  It's a funny thing but having worked some fairly long, intense hours last year has really made me realise how precious friends are and catching up with everyone has been so much fun.

Reflecting on the most fantastic year and looking through our ever growing portfolio I was struck by just how lucky I've been in working with such amazingly creative brides - I'm happy to say that Campbell's continues to attract couples looking for something a bit special and a bit different. I just love the challenges you set me. And, judging by what we've got booked already, 2014 is going to be just as exciting and stretching too - with quite a few changes, not least as we take on extra help to add to our existing fab team.

So, I thought I'd say a little thank you to everyone I worked with over the last 12 months and showcase some of our designs - there's so many to show you, I thought it might be best to divide them into seasons. Here's just a few of fab weddings we designed during Spring 2013 .... Enjoy!

Rachael & Wayne kicked off our year with these gorgeous seasonal flowers in bright, bright colours. As always we used as many British Grown flowers as we could. The jugs of daffodils featured several different varieties, all sourced from our favourite Cornish supplier!

Thanks to Shakespeare Photography for this shot

Then there was Jenny & Matt who's Chapel & Marquee wedding set in the gorgeous countryside just on the outskirts of Sheffield was wall-to-wall succulents, gorgeous 'Cadbury's' purples with pretty pussy willow and wonderful table arrangements of heather and moss pots, complete with bell jars. The deep, deep snow only added to the wonderful atmosphere and scenery.  Here's a snippet from their day ...

We just adored using Yorkshire grown lavender in the cute little buttonholes of succulents and pussy willow - here are a couple of shots courtesy of Kate Cooper

Then there was Sammy & Harry whose bridesmaids were all in wonderful sapphire blue and so we got our hands on seasonal and locally grown sweet, sweet scented hyacinths which looked a little like this ...

Danielle & Stephen's April wedding was all whites creams and greens with the tinest hint of pale blue. We took full advantage of the time of year and very short growing season of the delicious scent and delicate nodding bells of British grown Lily-of-the-Valley as you'll see from these pics ...

And last, but by no means least here's a snippet from Laura & Chris's Spring outdoor wedding at the lovely Wood Lane Countryside Centre. Her florals were soft blushes with a hint of shell pink ...

See how blessed we are and why I wanted to say thank you?

It's a bit crazy here at HQ with lots of consultations and meeting new couples to chat through ideas for their special day so I'll be back very soon.

And finally, we bring you fab news that our lovely Amy had her little girl, Violet, before Christmas. The girls and Matt are doing well and we can't wait to bring you pics very soon (I secretly can't wait for Amy's return from maternity leave we're all missing her terribly but obviously wishing her much love as a new Mum).

So, when's your wedding? Let us know and we'll try and include photos for the same time and provide you with lots of inspiration and examples of what's around your special day.

Back soon Tracey x

If you're looking for more help with choosing your wedding flowers or are searching for further inspiration, pop across to our Wedding Portfolio, or see more of our collection of Campbell's weddings on the blog or, you can find lots of pics and information here:-