Flowers are not the only things to meet the eye when walking into vibrant Deptford flower shop Fanny Ford of London.
A statue of Buddha, home-made jewelry and gifts are placed among the plants, and owner Gillian Ford’s dog Ellie welcomes the customers as they enter. “Most people come here for flowers, but some add jewellery or gifts to their purchase when coming into the shop,” Ford explains.
Fanny Ford of London provides services for weddings, funerals, birthdays and all kinds of occasions. The shop also has contracts with pubs and an array of different businesses.
“Most of my customers are returning customers. Being a florist very much depends on word of mouth,” Ford says, adding that over the seven years of running Fanny Ford she has received no more than two complaints.
Fanny Ford is located in Tanners Hill, a recently renovated street. It is part of one of the oldest buildings in the area, with a small garden in the back yard where Ford grows her flowers.
When walking down New Cross Road, the little flower shop looks very appealing to the eye with its colourful appearance. “In fact, several local tour guides take tourists over to see this place!” she says.
When designing flower creations, Ford finds inspiration in nature. “Flowers are such a joy to work with,” she says, explaining that she enjoys the natural aspect of her work. Ford says she is quite a spiritual person. “Sometimes when I have spent time creating something I suddenly think – how did this happen? It sort of feels like I got help along the way.”
Having previously worked with drink and drug addicts, Ford eventually became tired of the job’s depressing atmosphere. She decided to make a complete change of career and opened her own flower and gift shop in 2003. “It was draining working with the addicts. I wanted to do something creative instead,” she says.
Ford now works as a volunteer three nights a week helping friends and families of alcohol and drug addicts to deal with their situation. As for Fanny Ford of London, she hopes to continue running the flower shop in the future even though she considers herself ‘probably the worst businesswoman in the world.’ “But I don’t really care – I’m happy,” she says with a smile.