Caroline Atack is a Yorkshire-based florist whose passion for flowers turned her hobby into a full-time career. I was lucky enough to meet her at a flower crown class with Leafy Couture last year and we’ve kept in touch ever since. It’s been amazing watching her business bloom and see her fantastic floral creations recognised by top names in the industry. Caroline kindly gave up a little bit of her time to answer some questions for Raven Rose and tell us the story of how she got started…
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I was born in North Yorkshire (Catterick) but lived in Germany and Aden with my parents settling in Plymouth Devon when I was 6. At 18 I married my husband and we started to move around again as he was in the Royal Navy – we lived in Devon Hampshire, Gibraltar, Cornwall, County Durham and eventually back in North Yorkshire settling in Harrogate where we have now lived for the past 20 years.
I have been a nurse in the NHS for the last 41 years and recently I have reduced my hours from full time and taken up training to become a floral designer and trade under the name of Floral Design by Caroline. My floristry business has now been in existence for the last 2 years and I love everything about flowers and foliage from the early mornings at the wholesalers to constant cleaning of buckets and containers to give the flowers and foliage the best possible start in my arrangements.
When and how did Floral Design by Caroline come about?
Floral Design by Caroline came about after a lifelong love of all things floral. About 2 years ago my Mum, who suffers from Dementia, was unable to live with us anymore and I was grieving. As with most serious life events it made me re-evaluate my situation. Being someone who has always cared for people whether personally or professionally I felt it was time I did something for ME. Right there and then with my husband and family support and blessing my training started. I decided to take a leap and I have never looked back.
I started by working at weekends in a local flower shop, and also worked for experience at Ripley Castle flower shop which I still occasionally do. I have attended training with Leafy Couture team in Otley and also with Tallulah Rose Flower School in Bath where I completed a floristry career change course.
Where did your passion for floristry and all things flowers come from and what inspires you?
I feel my passion for floristry and flowers is deep set in my past, inspired by the natural beauty of landscapes I have lived near such as Dartmoor and the wonderful Yorkshire Moors and Dales. I have a passion for foliage, seed heads and British grown and Autumn.
What are your favourite things to work on and why?
I enjoy working on installations such as the Harrogate spring flower show with Leafy Couture and the opportunities it allows for networking with other florists. I do love making brides bouquets and all things wedding related whether small and intimate or large extravagant events. I also enjoy gift bouquets and combining interesting foliage and seasonal flowers, Christmas wreaths and the smell of the foliage at that time of the year.
What advice can you give to others thinking about opening a business or starting a craft or flower-related hobby?
My advice for budding florists would be to be brave and go for it. If you have a passion for something and you love doing it do it. Be true to your style and never compromise.
What does the future hold for Floral Design by Caroline?
Floral Design by Caroline goes from strength to strength and I have several weddings book in for the next nine months, which is wonderful and I look forward to working with brides to achieve their dream wedding flowers. I have just held a successful workshop with British grown flowers making hand tied bouquets. Floristry and floral design is an industry that is ever changing and there is always something to learn. I will never stop learning about flowers and I don’t want to.