An interview with Snapdragon

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Snapdragon, is a botanical boutique based in the thriving Bruntsfield area of Edinburgh, an area about a mile south-west of the city centre, full of other independent shops, cafes, bars and eateries. They love flowers, plants and fragrance and absolutely everything in their shop is botanically inspired: flowers, foliage, plants, gardening, candles, homeware and lifestyle… We sat down with Cathie from Snapdragon to hear a little about how she got started in the industry and the ups and downs of running your own company:

Tell us a bit about you and your company?

The idea for Snapdragon began in late 2015 after attending a Red magazine business event in London on beauty start- ups. I have always loved scented candles and I booked to go to the event as Rachel Vosper, a candle-maker I love was on the panel. I’d been in the flower business 15 years before (partner and I not suited and had very different ideas!) and had a vague thought that I’d like to start a business that offered services as well as products and my ideas centered around- florist/candlemaker or natural beauty/candles.

In the end, the florist shop premises that I used to be a partner in became available and I thought this is it! Back to flowers which I love, this time on my terms and so that is what I set up. We opened in February 2015, 2 days before Valentine’s initially as a florist and candle merchant. Our aim was and still is to provide natural, British garden style florals and interesting flower and plant inspired fragranced candles. 

Over the years the botanical boutique developed alongside the rise in popularity of plants and all things green as a big interior trend again. We now have as many plants, vases, pots, books and stationery filling our shop as we do fresh flowers and candles.

My passion is all things botanical and a love of fragrance and candles. I want to introduce interesting products and designs to our customers and provide excellent personal service and a fantastic shopping experience. 

How did you design your branding?      

For the brand/logo we have now, that collaboration began at an event in London as well, on the social media day run by Flowerona and The Brand Stylist. I got so much inspiration from that day generally but in our goodie bags were gorgeous notebooks by Gooseberry Moon. I loved the natural simplicity of the illustrations and soft muted, putty colours and I looked them up. Gooseberry Moon was/is Nicky, a botanical artist and she created our logo plus some drawings that we use to have bespoke gift cards printed that we give away with all our bouquets and plants, any gift bought in fact. Words which describe our brand look and feel are- botanical, green, simple, natural, elegant, creative, beautiful, useful, distinctive, under-stated, calm, independent stylish, less is more, earthy and garden-y. We try to ensure that all our packaging, business cards, flower care cards, website are true to this brand look.

 

Who’s your biggest inspiration?

There's no one person or thing- inspiration comes from many sources:  Instagram, Pinterest, online,  blogs/newsletters of things I follow, magazines (particularly on interiors/lifestyle), trade fairs, suppliers, employees,  customers, and from other businesses.

Biggest challenge setting up your company?

Finding the hours in the day, the money and a like-minded team of great people to create what I had in my mind and to stay true to my philosophy and botanical inspiration- natural, elegant, understated, beautiful and useful- both in our products and items we design/create. Carving a niche and a USP for our business.

 

Favourite thing about your job?

Sourcing and selling interesting things at fair prices and where possible sourcing local and British brands. Blowing the trumpet for other small independent creators and stocking products that our customers can’t buy in John Lewis or Tesco! Striving to offer great customer service and ensure customers can buy with confidence. Having a great team and  a happy, creative  working environment.

Advice to people starting up in your industry?

Same as most independent small business start-ups- it's hard work and long hours, so be prepared! And employ the right people who share your aesthetic, style and values.

Thoughts on Scottish interiors?

Due to our climate and landscape, creating warm and comfortable interiors that are inspired by or have a nod towards our natural surroundings will always have a place.

 

Dreams for the future?

More of the same and just evolving and improving.

Career high?

That we've built a business we're proud of.

 

Favourite trend for AW18?

The continuing  trend and love of all things botanical and green! There is a lot of recent stats and social media trends that we are all loving flowers and plants, with millennials in particular leading he way on this. Google said that in 2017, plant related searches were up 500%.