Five min­utes with flo­ral de­signer Kim Beedie

Gina Long catches up with Kim Beedie, flo­ral stylist, in­te­rior de­signer and GeeWizz char­ity ball de­signer

EADT Suffolk - - Contents - GINA LONG

HAVE YOU AL­WAYS BEEN CRE­ATIVE?

Yes, I was al­ways good at art as a child, a gift from my mother. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be an in­te­rior de­signer.

DID YOU HAVE ANY JOBS BE­FORE START­ING THE BUSI­NESS?

I trained as an in­te­rior de­signer. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing, I worked for a prac­tice de­sign­ing ho­tel in­te­ri­ors, al­though my very first job was re­fur­bish­ing sev­eral po­lice can­teens, not very glam­orous, but I learned a lot. I soon re­alised that the fin­ish­ing touches are the de­tails that re­ally trans­form in­te­ri­ors, and so went on to start a com­pany that worked along­side in­te­rior de­sign­ers sourc­ing all of the art­works, flo­ral de­sign and sculp­tural el­e­ments for projects, mostly in the leisure in­dus­try. Af­ter a move to Suf­folk 10 years ago, Figa & Co was born, draw­ing on all my pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUD­EST MO­MENT IN BUSI­NESS TO DATE?

Work­ing in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Na­tional Gallery ear­lier this year, where I led a de­sign course as part of their Dutch Flow­ers ex­hi­bi­tion. The com­ing to­gether of three of my great­est pas­sions, art, flow­ers and de­sign at such an in­cred­i­ble, world-class in­sti­tu­tion was a joy. I’m look­ing for­ward to work­ing with the gallery again next year and hop­ing to of­fer a sim­i­lar course to The New York Flower School.

WHERE WOULD WE HAVE SEEN SOME OF YOUR WORK?

My work is mostly for pri­vate and cor­po­rate clients, de­sign­ing flo­ral schemes and event decor for wed­dings, cel­e­bra­tions, mag­a­zine photo shoots and busi­ness events, but I was thrilled to be in­volved with cre­at­ing a 35 me­tre high flo­ral in­stal­la­tion, also in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Na­tional Gallery’s Dutch Flower ex­hi­bi­tion, in June this year. Sixty thou­sand flow­ers were used to de­pict an old master still-life, which took pride of place in Trafal­gar Square over one week. This au­tumn, we’re thrilled to have been asked to de­sign the decor for the GeeWizz Ball at The Hangar, at Mil­soms Kes­grave Hall, where over 300 guests will en­joy, what we and or­gan­is­ers aim to make a spec­tac­u­lar event, while rais­ing money for this won­der­ful char­ity.

WHY HAVE YOU BASED YOUR­SELF IN SUF­FOLK?

Hav­ing lived and worked in the Mid­lands since leav­ing univer­sity, 10 years ago we de­cided to move to Suf­folk to be closer to fam­ily and to en­joy the space. We man­aged to buy a prop­erty with a home stu­dio. For the first six months I thought we had made a ter­ri­ble mis­take, ar­riv­ing in deep­est win­ter at our new abode, which was a former pub and needed com­pletely re­fur­bish­ing. We lived in the prop­erty with our four daugh­ters in all the dust and may­hem. It was freez­ing, grey and a project that seemed to eat money – not at all the dream we had in mind. Over the next few years, as the house be­came more of a home, I made new friends, enjoyed dis­cov­er­ing how lovely Suf­folk is and launched Figa, so things fell into place. Now I love it. Work­ing in Lon­don and vis­it­ing ev­ery now and then keeps me stim­u­lated with new ideas and in­spi­ra­tion.

WHO HAS HAD THE MOST IN­FLU­ENCE ON YOUR CA­REER AND BUSI­NESS?

My Mother gave me the gift of cre­ativ­ity and I am driven each day to do the very best job I

can do for my clients to make my girls proud. Sounds like a bit of a cliché, but true!

YOU HOST REG­U­LAR DAY AND HALF-DAY COUR­SES. WHAT KIND OF ‘TEACHER’ ARE YOU?

My flo­ral de­sign cour­ses are aimed at any­one who has a pas­sion for de­sign or flow­ers. I ap­proach the cour­ses as a de­signer us­ing flow­ers as our medium of ex­pres­sion. I run cour­ses in some in­spir­ing places such as Glemham Hall, where my style of us­ing flow­ers to en­hance and en­rich the in­te­rior re­ally brings all my skills to­gether. Oc­ca­sion­ally I get a ner­vous at­tendee who claims not to have a cre­ative bone in their body, but I main­tain all of us have a unique cre­ative sen­si­bil­ity, which, sadly for most, is left be­hind with their last art class at school. It just needs reawak­en­ing! We’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to our Christ­mas wreath mak­ing cour­ses at Glemham Hall this year.

WHAT AD­VICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANY­ONE START­ING A BUSI­NESS?

When I first started Figa, the con­cept was over am­bi­tious. I think re­al­is­tic goals mean you won’t carry a sense of dis­ap­point­ment when things don’t turn out quite how you had imag­ined. Also be pre­pared to let things go that aren’t work­ing. To add a per­haps con­tra­dic­tory note – dream big. The world needs dream­ers.

WHICH FLO­RAL DE­SIGNER ARE YOU IN AWE OF?

My de­sign in­spi­ra­tion comes from many ar­eas. I love the overblown am­bi­tion of Pre­ston Bai­ley, the ar­chi­tec­tural ge­nius of the late Zaha Ha­did, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s abil­ity to meld land­scape and na­ture into in­te­rior spa­ces.

YOU LAST HOL­I­DAYED WHERE?

Just last week in South­wold. I ab­so­lutely love it!

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO NEXT?

Venice is call­ing. I am get­ting to the age when I re­ally should have been by now!

YOUR FAVOURITE SUF­FOLK DES­TI­NA­TION IS?

The far reaches of Cove­hithe beach. Wild, beau­ti­ful and unspoilt.

YOUR MOST TREA­SURED POS­SES­SION?

Pho­to­graphs of my chil­dren, the older they get, the more pre­cious they be­come.

WHAT IS TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST?

To visit Ja­pan in the blos­som sea­son. I adore Ja­panese de­sign and art, so would love to im­merse my­self in the cul­ture. To be there at the height of the blos­som sea­son would be my idea of heaven.

WHICH LIV­ING PER­SON DO YOU MOST AD­MIRE, AND WHY?

Aung San Suu Kyi, for her brav­ery, her grace and a life­time de­voted to democ­racy and hu­man rights. Viviene West­wood for push­ing the bound­aries and cre­at­ing a unique brand that has spanned over five decades.

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