To celebrate the installation of our bountiful botanical window displays, we talk to Sula and Oliver of Nice Bunch about seasonality, sustainability and life in Somerset.
Tell us a little about your design studio and flower farm. When did you start your business and where are you based?
We are Oliver and Sula. We run an ethical floral studio based in Bath and flower farm in Compton Dundon, Somerset. We founded Nice Bunch four years ago, growing our own produce with the help of Sula's parents, Harisudha and Durgadas, who are career horticulturalists.
Could you tell us what prompted you to become florists?
(Oliver): Sula is a prolific creative. The seasonality of flowers, their fleeting lifespan and the diversity of the projects we work on really plays to that desire. But it was also important for us to build a business with an ethical focus. We champion the best of each season to source locally, grow and using rare and delicate flowers, and do so without single-use plastics, chemicals, pesticides, bleaches and dyes that are so pervasive in the flower industry.
We love meeting people who have worked in the retail sector. You have worked with some big names such as Selfridges. What do you like about shops and shopping?
The best shops bring curated, inspiring and sensorial experiences to their customers. We love that flowers and plants can amplify that experience. For a retailer, choosing the right flowers, understanding where they came from and how they are produced can be important to show their customers where their values lie and how connected they are with the world around them.
What do you like most about what you do?
We love understanding peoples' stories and then turning them into floral arrangements that leave them feeling as if their flowers are speaking for them, and of course the enjoyment that can bring.
How do you manage a design studio and flower farm? It sounds like a lot of hard work!
It can be challenging but it is also important for us. Being a florist is a lot like running a good restaurant. You need a chef with fine culinary skill, but also access to fresh, local, seasonal ingredients to put together the best possible dish. So growing our own means we have beautiful flowers available in the right palettes, grown ethically, when we need them.
Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
The inspiration for our work always starts with what is happening in the countryside, meaning our floral arrangements are naturally, seasonally-inspired.
Does Somerset influence your aesthetics?
Absolutely! Our world of inspiration includes fluttering wildflower meadows, plentiful country gardens, and the fun that comes with flower heads that dance together in the breeze. So, we bring together an abundance of colours and shapes from the natural world to create a textured, wild and playful aesthetic.
What is your favourite flower?
What to choose! We love double tulips and blossom in spring, perennial sweet pea and cupcake cosmos in summertime, dahlias and Japanese anemones in autumn and pearlescent lunaria during winter.
You have worked together for years. How do you manage a work/home balance?
We don't have one in a traditional sense - we love what we do so it only rarely feels like work. Though we do love to take regular mini breaks away throughout the year to recharge.
You’re Somerset locals. Any undiscovered gems we should know about?
By no means undiscovered, but Oak restaurant in Bath is one of our favourite places in the world. If you love ice-cream, 28 Market Place in Somerton is the best around. And we also are obsessed with Foredays ceramics and Campbell Collection rugs.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2022?
We're going to take a little time off to have a baby!
Thank you so much to both Sula and Oliver for not only giving us a fantastic insight into their Somerset based business, but also for using their magic to bring our Christmas window to life. We wish them all the best for the future and their new baby.