Suffolk florist is taking the UK by storm with her stunning faux flowers

Ashlee, of The Suffolk Nest

Ashlee, of The Suffolk Nest - Credit: Contributed

Close your eyes. Good. Now, imagine a vase of artificial flowers on the windowsill. What do you see? Odd pale green stems with rough, obvious, plastic edges? Polyester petals faded by sunlight? The dusty remnants of cobwebs? 

It’s pretty fair to say manmade flowers have had a bad rep over the years. We’ve all seen them in restaurants and cafés, festering in a corner. Hardly inspiring. But Suffolk florist Ashlee wants to change that perception. Her faux flower business, The Suffolk Nest, spawned last year during lockdown, has taken off at a rate of knots, with nearly 30k followers on Instagram, and orders coming in from across the world. 

“It’s been very organic,” says former sales manager Ashlee of The Suffolk Nest’s success. “It was never my intent to do this. I had a full-time job in the corporate world. It was very different – but it did teach me a lot about business and spreadsheets,” she laughs. 

The Suffolk Nest sells some of the most realistic faux flowers on the market

The Suffolk Nest sells some of the most realistic faux flowers on the market - Credit: Contributed

“I came into flowers later in life than most. I always hear stories of people who used to grow them with their grandmother...but that’s not me. Seven years ago I went on a wreath-making course with friends and something just clicked within me.  

“I’d loved arts and crafts at school, and when I made the wreath I just reconnected with that love.” 

Ashlee began making wreaths for friends and family, and eventually went on to set up her own floristry business. 

When the pandemic hit, Ashlee turned from making floral arrangements for weddings, to producing DIY wreath-making kits...and she sold hundreds upon hundreds. 

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“I couldn’t believe it. We were overwhelmed. I started The Suffolk Nest on Instagram as an account about our home, and it became something else entirely.” 

Ashlee says she’s always struggled to find high quality artificial flowers for her home. They were either cheap and tacky, or prohibitively expensive. 

A bouquet from The Suffolk Nest

A bouquet from The Suffolk Nest - Credit: Contributed

Ashlee of The Suffolk Nest with a vase of her faux flowers, which have been selling out online

Ashlee of The Suffolk Nest with a vase of her faux flowers, which have been selling out online - Credit: Contributed

Could she fill a gap in the market? 

“I really thought there could be something in it [selling faux flowers]. Having worked with fresh flowers for so many years, when it came to faux I was particularly meticulous about the details. Small things matter. I did a lot of research and launched my first collection in September last year.” 

Ashlee sold out within 12 hours. 

She then launched a Christmas collection, and releases seasonal stems and pre-made bouquets each season, with foliage and filler stems available year-round, saying demand is really high. 

“I think there’s a place for faux in every home. They’re a way of having a permanent arrangement in your home you don’t have to muck about with. For anyone nervous about keeping fresh flowers alive, for people with allergies, and for those who can’t afford to buy fresh all the time, faux are great. You can buy a few stems at a time and build up a collection, bringing out different flowers from your collection throughout the year.” 

The Suffolk Nest’s stems start at £6, going up to £21, with sell-out arrangements priced between £100 and £265, and with a range of vases and containers available too. 

“Our spring collection’s just come in. One of my favourite things is the apple blossom. Blossom is one of those things I think that’s so fleeting. You’ll bring a few stems inside and they soon drop. My blossom stems are unbelievably realistic – there's even lichen on the branches. They just look so real.” 

Realistic faux parrot tulips from The Suffolk Nest

Realistic faux parrot tulips from The Suffolk Nest - Credit: Contributed

Ashlee also gushes about how in love she is with the faux lilac flowers. “They are incredible. They look so real you almost want to lean in and smell them. We’ve also got parrot tulips with beautiful streaks along the petals. And magnolia, with the most stunning stems.” 

And she has some tips for looking after artificial flowers, to ensure they look their best every single day. 

“My top thing is to use your hairdryer to clean them. Put it on high power, on the coolest setting and give them a blast to blow away all the dust. I tend to do that outside, once every six months. 

“Faux flowers have come a long way since those dusty awful plastic green ones. There is still a perception they will look all white from dust, but they really don’t need much maintenance at all. Just keep them out of direct sunlight, give them a shake out now and again and, honestly, that’s it!” 

The Suffolk Nest (thesuffolknest.com) delivers UK-wide and is hoping to ship internationally by the end of 2022. 

“I’m staggered by how the business has taken off,” says AshleeWEEKEND MARCH 5 FLOWERS. “I never thought we’d grow so big so quick. I don’t think faux flowers are going away any time soon!”