Better quality products and awareness through social media are among the factors spurring the change-of-heart. “Silk flowers used to be really popular in the Sixties and Seventies but then there was snobbishness about them being fake and inferior and they fell out of vogue,” Jenkins explains.
“Today people are becoming more conscious about waste and want things that stand the test of time. Modern silk blooms are much better now in terms of colours and variety.
“Social media has made people aware they have more choice and what is possible. Pinterest has done really well for us.
“Happy couples can display their flowers afterwards just like framed photos. And whether you choose artificial, fresh or both, the costs are similar.”
The power of the past and emotional links laced with a liking for vintage are not to be underestimated either and the biggest drivers in Jenkins’ experience.
“Those Sixties brides often kept their silk bouquets and their granddaughters like to copy them – so something old and something new,” she adds.
Liverpool-based Jenkins’s own expertise is in textiles and she set up Sophia Vincent late in 2017 on the back of co-founded retail business Silky Bouquets which helps bereaved, cash-strapped families cut funeral costs with more affordable floral tributes.
While Jenkins has wider design ambitions for Sophia Vincent, its current focus is on bespoke bridal arrangements, bouquets, buttonholes and event décor.
Working from her own unit and showroom, Jenkins sources flowers from the Far East via a UK wholesaler. Her projects, generally from £200, are commission-only and orders taken from anywhere in the UK.
“Client involvement is at the centre of what we do and if families are more distant it is still more than possible to work with samples and photos,” she says.
“Brides naturally want something special and that’s why with my designs I want to weave in both people’s tastes and references to their own stories.
“Silk flowers are flexible, the wires make the heads easier to position, allowing for a lot of creativity.”
Currently, the business is Jenkins, 31, plus helpers including her boyfriend “who spends a lot of time up ladders” putting the decorations in place.
A £100,000 turnover in 2022 is forecast following an interior design collaboration with new north-west wedding venue The Barn at Yew Tree Farm.
Like many entrepreneurs, it was youth charity The Prince’s Trust that gave Jenkins her start.
Still in touch with the mentor it provided and now a Trust ambassador, when it comes to enduring love affairs one of hers will always be enterprise.
Published at Thu, 13 Feb 2020 19:15:00 +0000