In Charlie and Jess’ working florist studio the relaxed and comforting tones of Radio 4 fill the air, preferring to work to the contented hum of the escapism of the Archers to produce their works of floral bloom than the frantic music of the more main-line radio stations. Radio plays and books seem to be one of the sources of inspiration for the girls who have recently started up a book club with friends reading, on average, a book a month and chronicling this on their Instagram page #ayearinbooks. The book of the month at the moment is chosen by Jess, titled ‘Yes Please’ by Amy Poehlers. As Jess describes, a gateway book into some more feminist literature.
Jess, a vegan and Charlie, a vegetarian – personal choices based on compassionate grounds – the girls both believe in doing as little harm to all living creatures as possible. I certainly echo this as I am gently picking up snail after snail on my morning run, I am myself a snail, and upgraded to slug-rescuing girl of Devon and Cornwall. I am sure Moose, Jess’s tiny mad and ‘best thing ever!’ Patterdale Terrier / Border Terrier Cross, agrees and appreciates them recognising the bigger picture of the world. As does fortunate ‘Oscar Lostcat’ who is owned by
Charlie after being found as a stray.
The creation of One Flew Over started at Nottingham University where Charlie and Jess were in halls together, both taking American Literature modules. Charlie moved to Australia for a year where she found herself watching a florist at work and, as she puts it, having a bit of a Eureka! moment. Office jobs were not for her, she wanted to work for herself. Flowers seemed like an excellent choice. Meanwhile Jess was working in an artificially-lit office, crunching the numbers of finance, wondering when she would rejoin planet earth and see daylight. Coincidentally Charlie and Jess both made the decision to follow a career in floristry and joined forces in 2012 to do small projects together like friends’ weddings and Valentine’s Day. Before they knew it they were running a business at weekends. As the business took flight, the laws of the universe came in to play resulting in Jess resigning her position in finance to accommodate and nurture their growing business.
Describing themselves as ‘half-speed ambitious’, One Flew Over started because they were in search of a slower, happier lifestyle and so chose not to spend their time swapping their souls for money. They wished to create something themselves, using their minds and hands, take on projects, have silly ideas they could actually try out and experiment with. They found the wedding industry works quite differently, working flat out 7 days a week for a large chunk of the year and then having some quiet months. However with their love for producing beautiful creations from floral blooms the girls got stuck in.
Favouring a natural, foliage-heavy style, rich in texture with an organic woody feel, the girls hand pick seasonal stems from New Covent Garden Market to ensure quality and freshness of their blooms.
Both country girls at heart, they now live in London and are looking out constantly for floral ideas. They both grew up a bit feral, building forts in the woods and collecting newts from the stream. They find a sense of balance and harmony in the seasons which is something they try to harness in their work and their lives, making an effort to eat seasonally, especially organically after reading ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson, and being fans with their boyfriends of the local farmers markets. Flowers and foliage in season, preferably British, are their first port of call. Jess is also growing some blooms in her Forest Gate garden this year.
The world the girls surround and immerse themselves in, and their chosen lifestyles, transferred effortlessly into their work through their hands and minds resulting in unique and beautiful floral creations. It’s clear to me the story and the essence behind One Flew Over is a special one and something that I have also enjoyed writing about.
Jess and Charlie offer a professional bespoke floristry service based in London, however they will travel anywhere!!
You can find more information on their website at www.one-flew-over.co.uk or on their social media pages: