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Warwickshire florist who's finding a green niche in funeral flowers

FLORIST Claire Higgs is hoping her new venture will change the way people think about flowers for funerals.

Adapting to the new world, florist Claire Higgs from Pillerton Priors has started Solace Funeral Flowers. Photo: Mark Williamson. P3/2/21/2368. (44452823)
Adapting to the new world, florist Claire Higgs from Pillerton Priors has started Solace Funeral Flowers. Photo: Mark Williamson. P3/2/21/2368. (44452823)

Claire was a specialist in wedding flowers, running Hibiscus Floral Design, until the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown rules saw the wedding market disappear.

Rather than wait for the pandemic to pass, Claire turned her skills to funeral flowers, setting up Solace Flowers with the aim of being a dedicated funeral service specialising in eco-friendly tributes.

She said: “I had been running Hibiscus Floral Design quite nicely for 12 years until Covid hit last year and the whole wedding sector went downhill very quickly, with everyone cancelling and not going ahead. It went from a 60-70 wedding business down to seven.”

With weddings on hold, Claire – based in Pillerton Priors – took the decision last year to reinvent the business, create a new name and specialise in another area of the flower market.

“Funeral flowers are a bit of a taboo subject and florists tend to lump them into a general florist service, whereas I wanted to be a specialist in that field,” she said.

One of her key selling points is the green credentials Solace Flowers offers.

“A lot of funeral flowers have plastic frames – it’s massed flowers, it’s a lot of spray paint and a lot of really unkind materials which are used for the funeral and then end up in landfill if they are not taken away,” Claire said. “The idea of Solace is to really pull on the eco-friendly element, offering flowers which can be deconstructed and taken away straight after the funeral so they can be taken in bunches and given to family members.

“One of my signature casket displays can be deconstructed into eight different bunches.”

Solace also provides living designs, which are in soil and can be placed on a grave afterwards.

Claire said she had been taking courses which highlighted the eco alternatives to creating flower displays, discarding wire in favour of willow, for example, and making sure all materials used are recyclable.

Claire added that she had been building a business relationship with funeral directors, who have been really positive about giving families the option of a bespoke, personal design that can be tailored as they wish.

“All of my designs are created from a conversation, not a catalogue,” Claire said. “I can offer home consultations, on-site meetings at the funeral directors’, as well as telephone, Zoom and email correspondence for families in a Covid-19 safe way during these difficult times.”

Find out more at solaceflowers.co.uk.

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