It was the hottest day of the year when we went to visit Aya of Fresh Flower Scent. Outside it was suffocating and humid, inside the air conditioned shop it was cool and pleasant. "It is to keep the flowers at their very best" Aya explained. "Quality is everything; if you don't take good care of your flowers, keeping them cool, it will mean they don't last. I like to keep my flowers in such good condition that they will last for at least two weeks after they sold."
The flowers are indeed in beautiful condition, only the humans outside are wilting. "I have a delivery direct from the Netherlands, where all the best flowers come from, twice a week. And we also get flowers for special orders locally."
There are no ready-made bouquets on display. "It's very important to me that the customer is involved in choosing their flowers. They can make their selection and then we can make them up into a bouquet or display, that way the customer is really involved in making a purchase and the gift they are making is really personal"
What brought Aya to Archway? "We heard that there was a going concern for sale and we were able to buy the floristry business last year. It is exciting time to come here. We can't wait for the new developments at Archway Station, with all those flats to be finished"
"Things are going well. We now have two other florists working part time in the shop. One, Olga (who is modelling the prize winning floral hat in one of the images) came in some time ago just to buy some supplies for a forestry course that she was doing. I gave her the chance to come into the shop to watch me work and learn the business and now she works here."
"This is my second career. I studied agriculture back in Latvia where I come from. If you want a cow milked or a tractor driven I can do that for you! It's great to work with living things but it can be very hectic. For example we have unbelievably busy days at Valentines and Mothers' Day but, like anything else, it's a question of getting prepared - making sure that you have all your supplies not just flowers ready. That means ordering months ahead. But working with plants, it's just the best job!"
Fresh Flower Scent is a member of the archwaycard scheme http://www.archwaylondon.com/businesses/fresh-flower-scent