There might be some people who think that there isn’t much new to be done in the world of floristry. But those people clearly haven't seen the work of Sage flowers.
Combining their own design and subcultural influences, friends and co-founders Iona Scott-Mathieson and Romy St Clair create strikingly contemporary arrangements and installations full of colour and unusual flowers. It’s a fresh style that has unsurprisingly caught the eye of the fashion world and lead to Sage becoming the go-to florists for brands like Fenty, Gucci and Glossier.
With the festive season soon to be unwrapped, we visited Romy and Iona in their shop in Peckham, south-east London, to talk about what it's like running a creative business together and ask them to pick a Papier present for each other…
Why did you start Sage?
Iona: We started Sage almost 4 years ago now. I think we always had big aims. We wanted to bring something new to the floristry world, working with great brands but always keeping that community vibe.
How would you describe your connection to each other?
I: A deep one! Business partners of course, but also friends. We know what each other is thinking without having to say it. And we have each other’s back.
What’s your working relationship like?
Romy: Pretty seamless. I think we’re very good at making sure the other person is OK – their workload, their mental wellbeing, making sure we get time off to reset – which is essential when running a business together.
What’s your usual process for a project?
R: After doing some research on the brand or collection, we talk about what we want the concept to be, the flowers we’ll use, then make a mood board and draw up a quote. Once those are approved by the client, we create compositions – the number of stems and stem prices for each thing – to make sure we’re putting the right amount of flowers into an arrangement and it’s well balanced. There’s a lot more that goes into it than people realise I think.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I: Everywhere! South London for sure, always and forever. Music, our friends, the culture!
What advice would you give to anyone looking to start their own creative business?
R: We have a book coming out about that early next year, A SAGE Guide To Starting Your Own Creative Business. So I’d say keep your eyes peeled for that and you can garner all our wisdom then!
How do you use notebooks?
I: I write to do lists. My brain often runs at a million miles per hour and unless I note things down as soon as they pop up in my brain I tend to forget them. So I always keep a notebook to jot down thoughts!
R: I have a terrible memory so I’m always jotting down to-dos before I forget. Our work also involves a lot of 3D planning. So sketching and noting down measurements is part of our day to day!
What are your plans for the festive season?
I: I’m escaping to Jamaica for a couple of weeks to swim in the sea and eat lots of fruit.
R: I’m hoping to do my first hosting for the family at my house rather than travelling home! I’m really looking forward to the break!
The Quickfire stationery Q&A
Your most treasured piece of stationery?
I: I have some old notebooks from uni that have funny notes and doodles in them that I like to look through every now and then to remember what life was like back then – 10 years ago!
R: My dad was an interior designer before he died, so I grew up around a lot of pens, pencils, water colours, pastels and sketch books. I absolutely love looking through all of these items, particularly all the fancy pens, that I would never dare to touch!
Old journals and notebooks: keep or recycle?
I: Keep, always.
R: Keep. It’s great to see what younger you were thinking, the colours you were drawn to etc!
Notebook covers: always get the same or mix it up?
I: Always the same.
What item of stationery could you not live without?
I: A really slick easy to write with black ink pen is my fave.
R: I love a fat permanent marker!
Are you a doodler or a neat notetaker?
I: Both. Depends how much I’m concentrating/interested.
R: V neat. If you see me doodling you’ve lost me.
Plans in your diary or reflections in your journal?
I: Diary. We have so much on I need to make sure I remember it all!
R: I look forwards rather than backwards. So deffo planning!
List ticking or creative thinking?
R: Agree. Love to model things through when we have a new idea then convert that into a to-do list.
Do you send notecards and letters?
I: I’d like to send more letters actually but I always send postcards when I’m away.
R: Love sending cards. Particularly to the older relatives!
Which Papier present will you pick for the paper people in your life? Find seasonal stationery gifts in our Christmas shop.