As a child I loved spending time in the garden, we were always encouraged to play outside and I loved to pick flowers for the house. Dad and I would potter away gardening, planting our latest purchases from the local nurseries or collecting seeds from the pretty Colombine’s which would be carefully placed into paper bags, stored and replanted for the following season. In a way I was always destined to spend my days amongst the wonders of nature. Lucky for me, it was something I didn’t have to try hard to get into as I was offered a job by chance. As my high school studies came to an end I spent my Saturday mornings sweeping the floor, refreshing some quite horrifically odorous buckets of foliage & learning to wire camellia leaves for buttonholes. Even the most mundane jobs couldn’t quench my thirst to learn all about becoming a florist. I merely held my breath and cleaned the buckets as quick as I could so the girls could teach me something… anything about arranging flowers. Having gained my confidence with flowers…. along with my qualifications in both horticulture & floristry I decided that it was time for a long awaited adventure. And so, backpack full (of mostly impractical clothes) I was UK bound, leaving behind my brokenhearted Mum and many a friend who said “don’t worry you’ll be back in 6 months.” As many early twenty somethings do I was off to live and work in London and travel the world!!! Naturally I had underestimated just how little an Australian dollar will get you in England (back in 2004) & decided that I must get a job at once! And so, my real floristry career began…. Well, that is after a stint of selling Christmas trees in the freezing cold for a hundred quid a pop to rich families on the Kings Road I had apparently proved myself to be worthy of a job in a gorgeous little boutique store on Sloane Street. I worked in numerous flower stores across London before spreading my wings & taking a leap of faith into the world of freelance floristry. I had been told about this “scene” & decided that I wanted a piece of the action. There were a group of people out there doing the flowers for the rich and famous and I wanted in. So for 3 weeks (which felt like an eternity) I emailed & phoned (every day), the ‘event florists’ of London, each time receiving the same response – ‘thanks for calling, we will keep your details and phone if anything comes up’, yeah right, I’m sure you will! Until I finally struck gold… the stars had aligned as I made my 12th phone call to one particular company and heard the magic words… ‘actually someone has just cancelled, we could do with an extra set of hands…. are you available this weekend?’ “HELL YES” I scream… in my head, ‘um let me check my diary… ah yes, I don’t look to be busy, what time would you like me?’….. ’6.30am Saturday, if we like you, you can come back on Sunday’, ‘ok, thanks, see you then’. And thank goodness that no one could see me then, because I really did ‘dance like no one’s watching’, I finally had a shot at becoming a freelancer!!!!
Two days later, ‘thank you’ London transport, I was delivered safely & on time (a rare occasion for those who know the buses and tubes of London) at Wandsworth for my first day at RVH. I walked in feeling excited, nervous and a touch shy, within about 3 seconds my confidence was to be found somewhere in the soles of my shoes. This place was a well oiled machine, everyone going a 100mph, flowers being prepared, bouquets created, trucks being loaded. I was swept into a van and we were off the Royal Opera House…. it was the opening of the season, apparently a big thing in London, and we were on a Mission! I don’t think my eyes have ever been so wide, it was amazing, we created many an arrangement, draped sky high pillars in garlands and flowered everywhere the eye could see!!! Apparently this was a normal day in the world of RVH, it was not easy task pretending like this was the most normal thing in the world to me, but I survived the day. The joy at hearing ‘see you tomorrow’ was overwhelming, I could have cried, thankfully I held it in and walked out, head held high… I was in!
Once my foot was in the door, many amazing opportunities came my way. I worked for some incredible companies, with the most amazing bunch of people (that I now miss dearly) and learnt so much more than I had ever dreamed of. I worked incredibly hard, often working through the night toget an event finished, barely making it home to collapse into bed the next day at 4pm. Other times I would work for 6 weeks without a day off. Little did I know just how much it would prepare me for the day I started my own business.
I was lucky enough to be part of the team that created Elton John’s Wedding Flowers and his annual White Tie and Tiara Ball. We did flowers for the Beckham’s, Pierce Brosnan, film premieres and worked in many landmark buildings and stately homes that were over a thousand years old. Iconic hotels like The Savoy, The Dorchester and Claridges felt like a second home we spent so much time working in them. It was amazing; I had never dreamed of getting to be a part of so many major events in that incredible city!
Six years later, back in Australia I decided it was time to take another leap of faith…. “Jaclyn Roma Floral Design” was born. With the relentless encouragement of my now husband Tom and incredibly supportive Mum & Dad, I have created a beautiful shop from scratch and enjoy sending flowers all over Melbourne, filling many a home with beautiful blooms and bringingthe visions of brides (and grooms) to life across Victoria.