On Friday, July 21st Neill Strain Floral Couture opened its new concession at Harrods. After 9 years in Belgravia and months of anticipation, Neill tells us about his unique approach to luxury floral retail, the preparations and extra special blooms he has sourced to make this flower boutique among the most exceptional in the world.
2017 marks the 9th anniversary of Neill Strain Floral Couture in Belgravia and with the opening at Harrods I must admit it's been the best year yet! Nine years ago I had a vision to create a floral design business based on luxury floral retail with extraordinary flowers and inspirational design. Together with my team, we have worked hard to stay focused on this vision and I am sure this is what Harrods recognized in us and what helped us win the contract.
Since the opening of my Belgravia boutique, I have been dedicated to sourcing the most extraordinary flowers from select growers, the very best, and with them creating floral designs that appeal to London's most discerning clientele. Throughout my floristry and design training abroad, I knew that the style of designs I like to make are for clients in search of the best and most unusual. This is why Belgravia has been a wonderful location for us and why I am so excited to now have the concession at Harrods.
For the past 6 months we have been planning and attending meetings regarding our new space in Harrods Food Halls. I wanted an elegant, sleek look that would convey the signature style of Neill Strain Floral Couture and provide the perfect backdrop to display magnificent flowers, plants and floral designs. Transforming the space of the Godiva chocolate concession into one for exposing long-stemmed flowers and eye-catching designs along with the basic working facilities for a florist, has been exciting if not challenging! In beautiful black marble we built three platforms for displaying the flowers and hand-tied bouquets above a polished brass base to match the oriental-inspired glass display cabinet to the left and in-keeping with the overall Rococo style of the Food Halls.
As you know, our Belgravia boutique is acclaimed worldwide for the extravagant exterior displays we construct throughout the year. Naturally I wanted to create a dramatic display for the concession, in keeping with the brand. Hence, I designed a floral canopy that would be both eye-catching and striking, a floral landmark amongst the chocolate and tea in our section of the Food Halls. Below you can see the design being constructed and the final result!
Harrods is renowned as a bastion of style and taste, synonymous with luxury, and a place where you can find the best of everything. Just exactly my approach to flowers and floral design. During my many years of sourcing the finest flowers in Holland for our Belgravia boutique, I have befriended the most extraordinary growers and breeders, men and women who have dedicated their lives to creating and growing the most perfect examples of flowers with either the longest stems, the biggest heads, the deepest colours, the new and surprising, the rare and impossible... We can even obtain flowers out of season thanks to the expertise of these producers. A concession at Harrods gives us the perfect opportunity to showcase the exceptional work of these growers and breeders, and our launch on July 21st made immediate impact. Not only did we receive more than 10,000 likes on the Harrods official Instagram post announcing our opening, but our flowers proved to be highly "instagramable" and Harrods customers have been posting about us more than we ever expected!
Harrods is open 7 days a week, from 10am to 9pm Monday to Saturday, and 11.30am to 6pm on Sundays. We will have almost daily deliveries of fresh flowers which have been selected and picked especially for us for their exceptional quality, and transported directly to our boutiques the same day so they will be on display for customers within 24 hours of picking! Some are so rare and available in such limited quantities, that they will be exclusive to Harrods. See below a few of the extraordinary flowers we sourced for the opening, setting the supreme standard that you will always find both at our Harrods concession as well as our Belgravia boutique. Varieties will be constantly changing according to the seasons and our growers' recommendations... Massive Hydrangeas with huge heads and 100cm long stems; 90cm stems of the rare Gloriosa as well as highly fragrant Sweet Peas...
Our selection of Roses is second to none. Stunning long stemmed Roses from Ecuador, 110cm tall, exclusive to Harrods. The tallest Red Naomi from the best grower. And from our Dutch grower and breeder, new varieties that change weekly, including some so new and exclusive that they have not yet been named!
Incredibly long trails of Phalaenopsis Orchids and rare breeds of Vanda Orchids....
Lily of the Valley, available as plants and cut stems even out of season... Double Lilies, relatively new and available in only small quantities....
Ready to go hand-crafted bouquets as small or as large as you might wish for... And a selection of our fabulous Orchid planters...
It is a wonderful time to have joined the Harrods team in the Food Halls because of the exciting and innovative changes, "The Taste Revolution," that are currently going on at this moment. The day we opened, the Grocery and Provisions Hall closed for refurbishment and other halls will follow including ours next year, all part of a new approach and concept that will stir up the world of luxury food retail.
I hope this blog post has given you a taste of the inspirational concept of our Harrods concession, enough to make you want to pop in and see us next time you're in Knightsbridge. And for frequent updates, you can follow us on social media.
It is thrilling that after 9 years in Belgravia, we now have the additional perfect platform at Harrods to bring to you, direct from our extremely talented and passionate growers, the most exclusive and beautiful flowers worthy of the king of department stores.