Inside West Essex Influencers’ New Favourite Florist

Celebrity florist Ricky Jackson – master of the colourful floral installation – has set up shop in Buckhurst Hill shop and it’s the perfect showcase for his exuberant floral designs

Wander along the Queens Road and we guarantee you’ll stop in your tracks outside Ricky Paul Flowers.

The new florist opened to great fanfare recently, with special guest Christopher Biggins cutting a baby blue ribbon and officially declaring the premises open.

Celebrity florist, Ricky Jackson, 42, who owns and runs the shop as well as an event business, doesn’t do anything by half, and that’s evidenced by the incredible floral designs that festoon the shop’s front.

So who is this Willy Wonka of floristry?

‘I did a set design course at South Cheshire College and went on to work in the interior design departments at both Harrods and Heals,’ he offers. ‘But I found that wasn’t creative enough so that’s what made me go into flowers.

‘I think my biggest influence is the American floral designer Preston Bailey as I love his theatrical and opulent floral designs. I also love anything Disney so we try to bring a bit of Disney magic to all our designs, especially our sculptures.’

Ricky started the business about 10 years ago, specifically catering for events. All the equipment and structures he needed were stored in a big warehouse in Ongar, with the recent opening of an actual bricks-and-mortar florist being his first venture into retail.

‘We try to bring a bit of Disney magic to all our designs’

‘It’s brilliant to have the shop where we can sell fresh and faux flowers and gifts, plus set up for some of our smaller events,’ he enthuses.

As well as regular client events and celebrity launches, Ricky Paul Flowers also cater for private birthday parties, weddings, Christmas and any celebration, even house parties.

‘Our displays are known for being very funky and colourful,’ says Ricky. ‘I love creating the flower, bauble and balloon arches, or a pink elephant, giant carousel horses, flower walls, glitter poodles – it’s all very Instagrammable!’

You can say that again, with his shopfront creations already popping up on many a West Essex influencer’s feed.

 

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Asked what’s the most unique installation his created, Ricky doesn’t miss a beat: ‘Two years ago we created an eight-metre-high giant Bonsai Christmas tree for Sketch [the Mayfair eatery that’s a favourite with the in-crowd].

‘It was decorated with metal birds and waxed roses and it looked amazing. So amazing in fact, that it was voted one of the top 10 Christmas trees in the world, which was just brilliant!’

‘Two years ago we created an eight-metre-high giant Bonsai Christmas tree for Sketch decorated with metal birds and waxed roses. It was voted one of the top 10 Christmas trees in the world’

The past year has understandably been tough for Ricky, with the event side of the business screeching to a grinding halt.

‘Before the first lockdown we were doing lots of events for corporate clients like Sketch, the Groucho Club, the Savoy, plus celebrity make up launches such as Charlotte Tilbury and Victoria Beckham at Annabel’s Mayfair,’ recalls Ricky.

‘Obviously that all stopped, but I’m hoping that once events start getting a bit busier again – probably later this year – we’ll be okay. In the meantime we’ve got the shop to focus on with our unique range of real and faux flowers, alongside things like giant delphiniums and balloons.’

 

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The shop currently employs three permanent members of staff as well as Ricky, and together they run the retail side and any small event work.

‘If a big event like a wedding comes along, however, we use a freelance network of great florists we know we can rely on, and who are loyal to me,’ Ricky explains.

Ever the optimist, Ricky is sure that big events will be back with a bang pretty soon: ‘Everyone’s had a really miserable year so I think when people have events or parties things are going to look vibrant and fun, happy and cheerful,’ he says.

‘I can’t wait to get back to event design. There are some amazing venues around London, Essex and Hertfordshire – beautiful hotels – and it’s going to be amazing to dress ballrooms for weddings, and decorate beautiful marquees.

‘And the flower shop also means local people can use our free delivery service to cater for house party installations as well.’

Don’t worry Ricky, they’ll be queuing round the block!

Find Ricky Paul Flowers at Unit 3, 158 Queens Road, Buckhurst Hill IG9 5BD; rickypaulflowers.co.uk