I’m a huge fan of Jane Packer flowers. Their creations have been part of some of my most treasured moments in life. When I married she did the flowers and they almost stole the show (quite frankly I wasn’t surprised, they were exquisite) and I always have a bottle of their Roses, Black Violet, Cyclamen perfume on my bathroom shelf for special occasions – a little sniff of it transports me to memories of whirling around London in a haze of the spicy, warm scent. Here is my chat with their charming florist Diana Martinez about all things Packer:
MAT: Valentine’s Day is coming up so you must be inundated with men wanting to buy flowers – what do you suggest for any men lost in choosing a bouquet?
DM: 12 red roses is still a classic, and as men traditionally go for 12 red roses bouquet we make these, but the hat and heart shaped boxes filled with red roses are also very popular and a nice twist on a classic, so I think those are a good bet.
MAT: Jane Packer passed away last year. What is it about the Jane Packer brand that marks it out amongst its peers and how did Jane cultivate the business?
DM: It is very sad that Jane is gone. She was one of the very influential florists and this was mainly because of her vision, I think. She began to think of her creations as fashion collections and designed and developed her own style, much as a designer of clothes would do. She made flowers contemporary.
She once said ‘we consider ourselves a brand in the interiors/fashion market rather than just a flower shop, the same as, say, Tiffany or Gucci. If something arrives in a Tiffany box or a Gucci bag, you know someone’s gone the extra mile, and that’s how we see ourselves in the flower world and how we want the business to develop. That’s why we have our very distinctive black Jane Packer bags.’
MAT: She certainly achieved that goal. Can you tell us something about her background?
DM: Jane’s father was a very passionate gardener and he imbued her with the excitement for all things floral. During her school days she spent holidays working in a local florist’s shop. Her working life started at a knitwear company, where her encounters with graphic designers and photographers inspired her to conceive the idea of flowers as a potential extension of interior design.
When she started in the business she toured glossy magazines with gifts of bouquets to build her profile and was soon snapped up as a florist for photo shoots. A hair stylist at a bridal magazine introduced her to Sarah Ferguson and in 1986 she provided the flowers for her wedding to the Duke of York. This royal commission sealed her reputation.
MAT: Jane Packer has gone on to be very popular with celebrities. Who are your most devoted well-known customers?
DM: Kate Moss, The Duchess of Cornwall, Victoria Beckham, Gordon Ramsey, Madonna and Heston Blumenthal are all fans of the brand, to name but a few!
MAT: What’s next for Jane Packer?
DM: The team will be making the flowers to be presented to the athletes at the Olympics so it will be a busy year! We will, of course, only be using British flowers and are very excited.