Karen Watson is a floral designer and floral consultant working from her studio in Midhurst, West Sussex in the South Downs National Park where she lives with her partner Stuart and their curly dogs Archie and Peggy.
A former Buying Director at Harvey Nichols and former co-owner, CEO and creative force behind a luxury floristry brand, Karen now provides all of the flowers and plants for the award winning Cowdray Farm Shop on The Cowdray Estate in Midhurst, West Sussex and has officially become the Cowdray Florist, providing flowers and floral design for events at Cowdray House and across the Cowdray Estate.
Luxury weddings and events are a speciality at This Floral Life along with floral styling for photographic shoots and websites.
Karen grew up in Liverpool where she was educated at Liverpool Art School in Hope Street attaining a BA (Hons) Degree in Fashion and Textile Design before moving to London and working as a sourcing Manager and Buyer for Top Man and Top Shop.
A move to Harvey Nichols as Menswear Buyer led to a long and successful 10 year career in the luxury fashion business and ultimately the position of Buying Director for all Menswear and Accessories and Women's Accessories including handbags, hats, scarves, jewellery, underwear. Karen was a key member of the board responsible for making Harvey Nichols into the hugely successful store in the late 90's and early 00's and during the opening of HN Leeds, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester and the early expansion overseas.
After being exposed to the amazing floral decorations on her frequent trips to the fashion shows and showrooms in the luxury fashion industry Karen made a decision to embark on a career change and to combine her love of gardening, design skills and a deep desire to work with flowers. She began working with clients in the fashion, music and publishing industries.
In 2004 a decision to open a London shop with a colleague from the fashion business and a French partner specialising in garden roses and scented flowers led to a meeting with some rose growers who were looking to develop a business distributing their cut flowers. Karen agreed to help the growers and, after a year consulting and advising them, went on to become co-owner, MD and the creative force behind The Real Flower Company. Under Karen's expert creative and business leadership the company was acknowledged as the UK's leading luxury floristry brand and was awarded 'Best Emerging British Luxury Brand' by Walpole British Luxury 2009 and was awarded the highest RHS certificates for stand presentation at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2012 and 2013. Opening shops in Selfridges, London, and a nationwide online delivery service the company became the florist du jour, specialising in scented garden roses and herbs.
In 2014, after 10 years at the helm, Karen decided to leave the business to pursue many exciting creative goals that she had long put on hold. She re-established her own floral design and styling business, based on an ever changing and highly seasonal range of flowers and plants. She was invited to set up a full seasonal flowers and plants offer at The award winning Cowdray Farm Shop on the Cowdray Estate in Midhurst and now combines running this, a large luxury floral events and weddings business, a cutting garden at Cowdray House, in addition to working on a myriad of creative projects with her Art Director and Archaeologist husband in their design studio based at their home in Midhurst, West Sussex which they share with their two cockapoo dogs Archie and Peggy.
It's a very busy, very floral life and a hugely enjoyable one!