HOW ROYAL WEDDING FLORIST PHILIPPA CRADDOCK BUILT HER BUSINESS
On Saturday, guests arriving at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, for the Royal Wedding were greeted by an arch of fragrant, white flowers. The arrangement was composed by the floral designer Philippa Craddock, whose company is supplier to the V&A, Kensington Palace, Banqueting House, and Hampton Court Palace. The first pictures of the chapel showed a stunning floral display around the organ loft, featuring locally-sourced white peonies, white garden roses, foxgloves, hornbeam and seasonal beech from the gardens of the Crown Estate and Windsor Great Park. The style was soft, romantic and naturalistic, all features of Philippa Craddock’s distinctive and signature style.
Within a relatively short space of time, Philippa became well-known in the fashion world for creating floral displays for brand campaigns. She counts Alexander McQueen, Bulgari and Jenny Packham among her client list. But this is not how Philippa Craddock started out. When she started her business 9 years ago, it was as an independent plant gift specialist, and she had no floristry training.
I became a florist while… searching for a wedding gift for a close family friend. I realised there was a gap in the market for unique floral gifts and began researching my idea – an online plant and flower gifting company.”
Philippa wanted to sell gifts with meaning: chilli for a chef, or lavender for a city-dweller who longed for the country. Within a month of launching, she was asked to appear on a TV wedding programme, and from a list of established florists, she was selected to provide all the flowers and plants for the show. The floristry side of the business was born out of that opportunity, and Philippa is self-taught.
Designing from elegant studios in Pheasants Hatch in the heart of the Sussex countryside (close to where I live) and her Fulham studio, Philippa travels throughout the UK and across Europe, creating delicate and dramatic designs for weddings, events, product launches and photo shoots.
In this article, I’m going to explore three aspects of Philippa Craddock’s business strategy with the aim that you can take some of these ideas and apply them to your business. They are (i) her brand strategy (ii) her product mix and (iii) the core components of her marketing strategy.
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PHILIPPA CRADDOCK’S BRAND STRATEGY
Philippa Craddock's Niche
Philippa Craddock has summarised exactly what she does in this statement found on her Instagram profile which tells us immediately that Philippa Craddock works with high end clients, offering an exclusive and expensive service.
Based in London, we work with global brands and individuals designing floral installations for campaigns, projects, weddings and private events.
What Makes Philippa Craddock Different?
There are three keys aspects to Philippa Craddock’s ethos which explain what makes her brand different. Clients know exactly what they’re buying into when they do business with her:
- Philippa has as an eco-conscious mission, using seasonal flowers from local growers and never using non-biodegradable products in arrangements. She also donates to Floral Angels after an event, an organisation that restyles old arrangements into bouquets for charities to distribute. Flowers from the Royal Wedding were redesigned and disturbed to hospices and women’s refuges across London.
- Philippa’s brand has summer personality, typical of many creative professionals, which perfectly encapsulates her elegant, understated, creative style. This perfectly matches the personality of her ideal clients who are detail oriented, aspirational and intuitive.
- Philippa’s signature style is romantic, ethereal and flowing. We saw this in the stunning floral displays both inside and outside St George’s Chapel, as well as in her recent display for The White Company to mark the Chelsea Flower Show at their flagship Sloane Street store in Chelsea.
Philippa Craddock's Brand Positioning
By carefully selecting her partnerships and collaborations, Philippa Craddock has aligned her company perfectly with other similar brands. That’s why she was described as 'the must-know florist' by Condé Nast Brides, and why she made Vogue Edit in their list of the best London wedding florists.
As a consequence, her designs have been commissioned by some of the world's most discerning brands and individuals - Jo Malone, Christian Dior, Lancôme, Vogue, Jenny Packham, Alice Temperley, Tiffany & Co. to Claridges, The Saatchi Gallery, the V&A, Westminster Cathedral and most recently Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for the Royal Wedding.
PHILIPPA CRADDOCK’S PRODUCT MIX
Philippa’s business started life as independent plant gift specialist, and transitioned quickly to wedding floristry after her appearance on TV. Her products and services can be grouped under three core headings:
- Designing and creating bespoke flower arrangements for weddings, events and brand campaigns such as these stunning table settings for a Bulgari event.
- Retail, with a shop at Selfridges London which makes bouquets for delivery nationwide. Bouquets are given names like Wordsworth, Rossetti and Shelley, echoing the great English poets of the Romantic Age.
- Pop up workshops across London, led by one of Philippa Craddock’s team of florists.
In June, Philippa is launching a faux flower collection, a collaboration with the iconic V&A, based on its collection of botanical illustrations, some of them centuries old. Note how, through this clever strategic partnership, Philippa has aligned herself with the world's leading museum of art, design and performance. This collection is perfect for the boutique hotels, bars, restaurants and private homes that form a core part of her customer base.
PHILIPPA CRADDOCK’S MARKETING STRATEGY
Strategic Brand Partnerships
Building partnerships with carefully selected brands is at the heart of Philippa Craddock’s current marketing strategy. Examples include:
- Her collaboration with the V&A on a faux flower collection.
- Her appointment as Selfridges sole florist in early 2015 which enabled her to open her first retail shop.
- Writing for House and Garden, a magazine targeted at her target client. Check out her three-part series on flower arranging.
Other Marketing Activities
Exhibiting at events such as high-end wedding fairs and the Chelsea Flower Show is also core marketing activity. Specialist exhibitions bring a targeted group of individuals together under one roof who are actively interested in the particular subject matter. They also afford the exhibitor the opportunity to meet potential customers face to face and strike up a personal relationship.
Philippa contributes to magazines with articles, interviews and advice. In the past, she offered arrangements for shoots which meant that her work was credited. She makes excellent use of Instagram, and has recently relaunched her website which enables customers to buy online.
As a result of the Royal Wedding, we can expect to see Philippa make greater use of PR. This week for example she hosted a masterclass with Mary Berry on using herbs and flowers in arrangements at the Chelsea Flower Show. This segment will air tonight on the BBC as part of its coverage of the show.
Question: What’s your key takeaway from this story about how Philippa Craddock built her lifestyle brand? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share let me know in the comments box below.
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