Flowers are fun…….was one of the first things I saw when I walked into the florist this weekend.  Vibrant colours, heavily scented air from all the blooms and so many different textures but the biggest thing that hit me was the way the shop made me feel which was happy.

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I was in Hungerford (Berkshire) at the weekend with my hubby looking around this beautiful market town when I spotted a little shop on the High Street called Martin & the Magpie.  From the outside it was welcoming, bursting with colour and elegance, just what I was looking for.  As a photographer I love finding things that are a little different, a bit quirky and classy with imagination; this little shop did it for me and I couldn’t resist going in.

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When I entered the shop I was greeted by a gentleman who had stepped down from the flower room at the back of the shop where even more flowers and arrangements were; it was all going on up there.  Me being me, I introduced myself to him and couldn’t stop myself explaining that I’m a local photographer specialising in wedding and boudoir photography and handed him a business card.  He must have thought me a bit strange, ha ha! As we talked he helped me select some wonderfully complimentary flowers and I thought how fab would it be to find out more about this wonderful vintage style florist so proposed that I write this Blog.  It transpired I was talking to Martin, one of the business owners as in ‘Martin & the Magpie’.  These are the beautiful flowers he helped me choose, aren’t they just so pretty and there’s that texture and vibrancy 🙂  Love it x

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After feeling quite chuffed with myself that I managed to talk to another business owner about my photography business (thank you Catherine and Jane – Aspire Photography Training !) I met my hubby who was loitering outside and bounced off to the car bursting with ideas of creative possibilities for future shoots.

So yesterday I had the greatest pleasure of meeting the team at Martin & the Magpie in Hungerford and spending a couple of hours talking flowers, weddings, business, gardening and even a bit of Boudoir, well you have to don’t you, it would be rude not to!!  I thoroughly enjoyed myself doing what I do best…..talking !!  It really was a delight talking to Martin and his business partner Kay about their much-loved business listening to the enthusiasm and passion for their craft. It was very obvious to me that it is not just a shop and a job to them, its their life and they love it.   They both told me how the name Martin & the Magpie came about; the Martin bit, well that’s obvious but the Magpie came from Kay’s previous business where she sold vintage style eclectic, art some of which was commissioned.  Kay and her daughter (Martins wife) used to find interesting pieces from all over the place creating an eclectic mix, which is where the Magpie came from.  It had to be included in the business name as it gave that quirkiness they both were looking for.

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Martin and Kay then went on to tell me how important it is to them that they keep their florist fresh and distinct through offering artistry with texture and a sprinkle of vintage quirkiness, as they said its ‘that just picked look’.  ‘No two orders are ever the same’ said Martin who takes immense pride in his skill. ‘I keep current with the likes of the very addictive Pinterest and Intagram always keeping an eye on what’s trending’.  They both keep current with floristry from around the world treating their customers to something a little new and different – kind of like a Magpie really 🙂

Martin and Kay are really proud to grow their own flowers for sale in their shop.  Kay does most of the growing whilst Martin is in the shop; sounds rather back breaking to me but she loves it and is obviously very good at it.  Being able to offer their own produce, to their loyal customers is paramount.  They can grow whatever they like and plan ahead for the different seasons.  How absolutely fabulous is that, grown in their very own walled garden – beautiful exquisite quality.  From my brief time at the shop it was totally obvious that the most important thing to both these guys is quality customer service.  Not just a ‘Hello Mrs Smith and here’s a regular bunch of daffodils’, but ‘Hello Mrs Smith how can I help you today’.  They have so many repeat customers because their whole ethos is friendly smiley and sensitive to each and every situation.  Customers regularly pop by to say Thank You for their beautiful flowers, then go on to talk to their friends and family and provide glorious feedback on Facebook – how lovely is that :-).  Go ahead, click the link and ‘Like’ their page, its difficult not to really and I know they will love you for it!

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Wedding flowers, Martin told me how they create beautiful arrangements for all types of events from funerals to christenings, weddings to birthday parties, each time thinking outside the box and being creative – how refreshing is that.  When a lady walks into the shop to ask about wedding flowers she is not given a standard catalogue of flower arrangements that every other bride has, NO…. Martin, Kay and the team use their creative talent and start putting ideas together for the bride to be to make an informed decision.  Oh I really wish I had met these guys before I got married!

When I asked what is the best part of creating wedding arrangements, Martin said ‘being part of the day and not just another supplier, making friends and getting to know people, giving the personal touch’.  Martin would turn a client away if he feels his artistry is not a not a good fit with the clients requirements – wow, how refreshingly honest is that!  Being generous to other local businesses by passing clients over to them, that is to be admired.  Not just taking on everything but providing artistry to ‘your’ audience.

Simply put this beautiful florist on the High Street in Hungerford is not to be missed or walked past.  Go in, talk to the team and breathe in the wonderful scented aroma of the beautiful flowers, once you’ve been there you will definitely be going back for more – its addictive.

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This only leaves me to say a massive ‘Thank you’ Martin & the Magpie team for making me feel so welcome and sharing with me your passion for floristry, creativity and customer service.  You are truly inspiring and I look forward to working with you in the future.

Sally-Anne x