They are the Peckham florists beloved by stars from Rihanna to Stormzy — but, finds Joanna Taylor, founders Romy St Clair and Iona Mathieson are also on a mission to bring a more diverse future to flowers
It’s a sunny autumn afternoon and I’ve got a date with Romy St Clair and Iona Mathieson: the brains behind Peckham-based florist Sage Flowers, whose colourful contemporary styles have wooed the creative teams behind Glossier, Fenty, Gucci and Stormzy, as well as bloom-obsessed Londoners aplenty. It’s pre-Lockdown 2.0 and we’re catching up while Mathieson is sitting in their south London shop, dipping in and out of conversation, chatting to customers as they pop in for a browse, and St Clair is on her sofa at home, catching a break from non-stop admin.
I try to grill the duo on their high-profile collaborations, though — much like the bouquets they produce — they are entirely laid-back about working with big names such as Rihanna and Grace Ladoja, Skepta’s manager, especially because they tend to give them creative free reign to do their thing. Ladoja in particular, who owns Metallic Inc and regularly collaborates with Nike, has been very supportive. ‘The Fenty [Rihanna’s beauty brand] project was fun and it was Grace who introduced us to that,’ says St Clair.
"we just cracked on and took the really backbreaking work of making tons of bouquets every day for home delivery, and it’s paid off because we have a viable business"
"I think not having any of the classic rules of floristry taught to us meant that we didn’t abide by them, and it means that our stuff is a bit different"
"We’re both quite resilient and neither of us is too precious about it. We’re florists for sure, but I think we’re also businesswomen. We do what we have to do"