Coming up roses

McQueens flowers is celebrating 25 years in the business, and it's also one of our Blossom City partners.So we thought it was about time we quizzed founder Kally Ellis about her life in flowers

Why did you choose to work with flowers?
I was inspired to work with flowers after having a very vivid dream about having my own flower shop. I was working in the marketing department of a French bank and although I have always loved flowers, the idea of being a florist had never occurred to me! Once I started to learn more about flowers I knew that this is what I wanted to do.

What is the secret of creating a successful and enduring brand?

I think having a clear vision about what you want to achieve helps. When you first start in business, you need passion, drive and commitment – there really is no substitute for hard work. Also, surround yourself with creative, talented people; they will inspire you as much as you inspire them.

What has been the high point in 25 years of McQueens?

The first time I went to Los Angeles to do the flowers for the Vanity Fair Oscar party was a real thrill and a ‘pinch-me’ moment. I was presented to HM Queen at Claridge’s this year, too – that was a huge honour. And I was very proud to act as an ambassador for the Britain is Great campaign, too.

Kally at McQueens' Bethnal Green HQ

Have there been any low points?

Of course! We all make mistakes. The difference between a successful businesses and one that fails is learning from your mistakes, and making sure you get it right next time. Enduring businesses will have good times and bad times, but as long as your keep moving forward, learning and evolving, your business will flourish.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my team. I think we have representations from all over the world working at McQueens – it’s a wonderful, crazy, cosmopolitan and highly creative environment. It’s a great place to build a career, too – there’s always something new happening and there’s never a dull moment.

What’s the plan for the next 25 years?

If you’d asked me 25 years ago when I first started McQueens I would never have predicted we’d have reached this point! I want the company to continue to grow and to flourish and continue to innovate. I think the developments in the social media side of the business are very exciting – we have gained a very strong and engaged following across with people from all over the world. It’s quite amazing!