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Florist File: Lizzie Newcombe

Lizzie Newcombe began her career in floristry at the age of 16, working her way through levels 2, 3, 4 & 5 at Merrist Wood College. Encouraged by her tutor she became a competitor in WorldSkills UK 2017 and received intensive training from experts in the floral industry in preparation for international competitions held in Budapest in 2018 and Russia in 2019.

During the 2019 competition, which received a lot of attention from the media, Lizzie found herself giving interviews including appearing on BBC Breakfast. She was awarded a Medallion of Excellence, achieving an incredible 5th place in the finals. Lizzie’s success continued when in 2019 at RHS Chelsea Flower Show where she won a gold medal and the title of RHS Young Chelsea Florist of the Year plus Best in Show.


Inspired by the performance training she received during her time at WorldSkills, Lizzie now studies performance psychology at the University of Winchester alongside running her florist shop, The Botanical Company in Bramley, Surrey and hopes to inspire and encourage the development of future competitors.


What flowers and plants do you have at home at the moment?

I’ve only got a simple vase of parrot tulips! We see so many varieties of flowers in the shop throughout the seasons, so I love the refreshing simplicity of tulips in January once the glitz ‘n’ glam of Christmas has been and gone!


Are you a night owl or up with the lark?

I’m definitely more of a morning person as I love getting to work early and setting up the shop with a coffee whilst the sun rises, although at peak periods us florists seem to become night owls AND early risers!


Who has been an inspiration to you in your career?

I’ve always found European florists and their style of floristry, such as Iza Tkaczyk and Nicu Bocancea, so inspirational as they offer something different to what we predominantly learn and sell here in the UK, but my main inspiration is Laura Leong as she is not only an incredible designer and competitor but is without a doubt a fantastic teacher too.


What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

To be confident in the work you produce, and to enjoy the process of competitions and personal development. We have to embrace the fact that floristry is not only a form of art, but it’s also a skill in which we invest, and therefore having the confidence to ensure that you don’t under-price yourself as a florist in business is essential!


What is your favourite time of the day at work?

Probably around mid-morning. There’s nothing better than once all the flowers have been conditioned from our morning delivery and placed on the stand in clean vases… and also when the kettle is on!


Where/who do you look to for design inspiration?

I find a lot of inspiration on social media as it’s so quick to find and easy to get lost amongst designs in the world of Instagram, but if I’m working on a competition piece then I’ll most likely browse through a collection of florist magazines who showcase a wealth of international designers, such as Fleur Creatif, Fusion Flowers, Floral Fundamentals and many more.

Do you have a favourite season?


I always think that spring is my favourite season as I can’t get enough of Paperwhites, anemones and tulips, but then again, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t adore peonies in summer or rosehips and rich colours in autumn – it’s almost impossible to say!


What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

My advice would be to go for every opportunity possible, irrespective of any confidence struggles or inadequate skill areas. I avoided competitions in general for the first 3 years of training to become a florist as I just wasn’t confident enough, but the important thing is to not fear failure, but to fear not trying!

How do you feel about competition floristry?

I truly believe that competitions are a fantastic way to excel your knowledge and expertise surrounding floristry. It’s an excellent route to build up your confidence, even if you start with a smaller competition to gain some understanding.


Which do you prefer, Mother's Day or Valentine’s Day?

I find that Valentine’s day becomes a bit of a production line as a dozen red rose bouquets dominate the sales in our shop, so I do prefer Mother’s Day. We often have little ones coming into the shop and choosing flowers for their Mother’s Day bouquets which is just so lovely to see!

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