The beginings of
Michael Pooley Flowers
Michael's first early experience was to gain greater knowledge of the fruit and vegetable trade. He also wanted to incorporate plants and flowers to expand his knowledge. After attending several courses covering all aspects of fruit and vegetable storage, temperatures, logistics and sustainability in 1991 he consulted with Veronica at The Flower and Plant Association in London's Covent Garden Market to investigate floristry courses. She mentioned a new course run by a florist called Jane Packer which Michael then attended. On completion, Michael couldn't wait to share his new found skills and opened his own stall selling bunches of UK grown flowers at Greenwich Market in spring 1992. His focus was on creating stylish bunches with vintage charm. During this time Michael received a booking to design wedding flowers for The Painted Hall In the old Naval College set in historic Greenwich, a grade 1 listed building, and an amazing venue for his first wedding. Word of mouth recommendations kept flooding in and he continued to design solely for weddings. By chance, in 1996, he went to visit a friend on an Islington side street and 3 doors up stood an empty unit. There was a rare bookshop, a photographic library, a beauticians and a haircutters in addition to two pubs! At the end of the road was the head office for Thames Water and the amazing Sadler's Wells Theatre in need of repair. He made a few enquiries and took the big step to go it alone at 21 Arlington Way. (Pictured right)
The beginings of
Michael grew up around fresh produce of his family wholesale fruit and vegetable business. However, retail has also played a huge part of his life, though he didn't set out to be a florist. He had wanted to be an animator and studied graphic design at Reigate school of Art. During his time at college he discovered a love of 3D design, including fashion. Fashion was something that really excited him! His early Saturday jobs had been in fashion and after leaving college he was offered a job at Warehouse ladies clothing. In 1990 he was head hunted and moved on to work in the iconic fashion company Jones, in Covent Garden and Kings Road Road. Then in 1991 his father asked him to join the family fruit and vegetable business and after much thought agreed. This bringing together of design styling and fresh produce, was the beginning of Michael Pooley Flowers.
The beginings of
Little did he know that Sadlers Wells would receive a lottery grant to be refurbished and become The world's No.1 venue dedicated to international dance. The regeneration of Clerkenwell combined with the internet meant the area was teaming with designers and creatives who all wanted to have an EC1 postcode. Emap and The Guardian were in the area too. The Alexander McQueen studio was 5 minutes walk away, as was Bella Freud and Agent Provocateur. The Face magazine and Arena were also at the end of the street. Michael's client list began to grow
During his time in Clerkenwell Michael took in interns. These were either Americans, studying at the American College in London or Japanese studying at one of the few Agricultural colleges like Capel Manor. In 2005 Michael closed the retail side of his business to concentrate on corporate and event work alongside his training.
In 2007 Michael relocated to Suffolk whilst continuing to work in London
Over the next few years Michael was shortlisted for a world event, trained several students and worked closely with Waitrose, which led to being shortlisted for a concession in their flagship store, John Lewis, Oxford Street. With this new lease of life for retail and a fantastic brand TWIG Michael decided to look for a new retail premise closer to home. In 2011 Michael found a store in an area of Ipswich on the verge of regeneration, exactly the same as his humble beginnings.