At the end of Hackney’s Broadway Market sits a small shop with a big red heart lighting up the February gloom. Rebel Rebel, a design company specialising in flowers, is doing brisk business in the run up to Valentine’s Day.
Owners Mairead Curtin and Athena Duncan also provide flowers and flower arranging for weddings and all manner of celebrations and events. Their client list includes Christian Dior, the BBC, the Arts Council and Agent Provocateur.
Ms Duncan says Valentine’s Day is unique in their business calendar. “It’s a complete turnaround from our usual day to day activities, where customers just pop in here and there. Suddenly there is an actual queue of people, almost all men, some of whom have never even been in a flower shop before!”
This year Rebel Rebel, in business since 2001, will open its doors on Sunday for Valentine’s, despite normally being closed on the day of rest because of the proximity of the hugely popular Columbia Flower Market.
So what makes Rebel Rebel special? Ms Curtin explains: “What we do is we design an assembly of a vintage handbag and a bouquet. The customer can choose the flowers that they want and we make it into a piece.”
For Valentine’s Day they have collaborated with a bookshop in the Market to put a gift-book into the flower and bag assembly – anything from love poetry to favourite novels. “The trick is really to know your girlfriend,” says Ms Curtin. “We’ve had guys order a hundred roses – and at six pounds a rose that is pricey. Girls are usually actually cross that someone would spend so much on flowers instead of buying them shoes!”
Rebel Rebel delivers all over London. It’s open Tuesdays to Fridays 10am-6pm, Saturdays 9am-5pm and they will be open on Valentine’s Day.
Rebel Rebel, 5 Broadway Market, Hackney, E8 4PH
020 7254 4487