When WISEThe founders of Iona Mathieson and Romy St Clair first met in a chance encounter at a sweaty rave. At that time, neither of them knew that they would later set out to create one of the largest floristry businesses in the world. UNITED KINGDOMthe one who would end up making hand-tied bouquets for the likes of LOEWE, Fenty Beauty And More shiny – but immediately one thing was clear: they had a common vision.
Although she had no previous business experience, it didn’t take long for SAGE’s client list and customer base to blossom, and within a few years of being in business the brand continued to work with several major brands for events and personalized bouquets. Now Mathieson and St Clair are gearing up to share their pearls of wisdom through the release of their very first book, The art of beginning.
Aimed to offer a unique insight into the world of creative business, the book is meant to be a reliable handbook for new business owners, filled with everything founders wish they had known at the start. “We share knowledge with the goal of diversifying and decolonizing industries,” SAGE tells Hypebae. “It’s not about hiding how to be successful from your peers, we all have to. We particularly want to open the door to women and minority groups, so we hope this book will help with that,” they continued.
Ahead of the book’s release, we caught up with the founders of SAGE to learn more about their journey in floristics, how lockdown helped rebrand nature, and what their plans are for the future.
Scroll down to read the full interview.
Tell us a bit about SAGE Flowers, how did you start?
We knew each other ravingly, always saying hello in clubs and sweaty parties. I ran into Romy’s fiancé and mentioned I was starting in the flower shop. He mentioned that Romy was too and that we should have a meeting. We had a meeting and SAGE was born! We were totally aligned from the start on our vision and what we wanted. We borrowed £1000 from a friend to buy flowers and make our first pop-up, which we did in a car park in Peckham, and now here we are!
Post-lockdown, floristry seems to have experienced a real revival as an art form. What do you think contributed to its growth?
In confinement, we have all realized how much we need the outside, and the liberation we feel when we reconnect with the outside. We spent a lot of time walking around when we weren’t allowed to socialize indoors, and we think that really helped people see flowers in a different way – to actually look at them, to see their beauty. , their interesting shapes, colors, smells and textures. There was already an increase in new wave floristry and that, coupled with the increase in people’s screen time meaning people were finding and following these florists online, meant there was a boom that still continues.
Since SAGE was founded, you’ve worked with Nike, Glossier and Fenty. Who do you think is on your dream collaboration list and why?
We would both like to make a Jacquemus spectacle, hundreds of flowers lining a track in a spectacular landscape. We demonstrate strong!
How do you generally go about designing bouquets for these brands? What can you tell us about your creative process?
We think about the identity of the brand, their current collection and what’s in season and think about how we would like to interpret and incorporate all of these things into a SAGE style bouquet. We’re always trying out new combinations of color palettes or flower types, but we also have our must-haves that have become synonymous with the SAGE brand – anthuriums, roses, something a little different and interesting like a tall allium or a unusual tulip! We then head to our wholesaler website to select the exact flowers to bring it all together. They are delivered to our studio in Peckham and created by our brilliant team.
SAGE is preparing for the release of its very first book, The art of beginning — how did the idea for the project come about?
We were thinking about how much knowledge we had gained in such a short time – truly a baptism of fire – launching SAGE with no previous experience of running a creative business. We were like ‘man, we wish someone had told us about this stuff, we wish there was a manual’! And ding! The art of beginning was born. Written to be a super practical manual that you can read cover to cover, but also pick up, flip through the chapter you need at that moment, get the information you need and put it Till next time.
Why was it important for you to share your industry experience and advice for emerging businesses?
We’ve always been about sharing knowledge, that’s literally the meaning of our name. We’ve always believed that if a door opens for you, you’d better keep it open for the next person to walk through as well. We share knowledge with the goal of diversifying and decolonizing industries. It’s not about hiding how to be successful from your peers, we all have to. We particularly want to open the door to women and minority groups, so we hope this book will contribute to that.
Finally, what is the next step for SAGE? What are some of the other goals?
At the start of the year we moved into our big shiny new studio, so we’re doing some renovations and doing this house, we have plans for big parties and events. Otherwise, we want to branch out internationally and would like to work in other countries, learn to practice in different cultures with different flowers. Culture and subculture play a huge role in who we are and what we do, so we want to be able to see that through the lens of flowers in different parts of the world!
The art of beginning is now available for purchase from the SAGE Flowers website.