Show-stopping Floral Design With Early Hours 

Incredible floral installations with Early Hours founder Lizzie Powell

Responsible for some of London’s most Instagrammed floral installations, TOAST chats to Early Hours founder Lizzie Powell to hear more about their incredible and innovative floral designs.

2017 has seen more floral installations that you can shake a long-stemmed lily at; whether it’s eye-catching shop windows, lavish restaurant doorways or entire living walls of floral abundance – flower power has well and truly swept the nation. One London based florist riding this floral wave in fabulous style is Early Hours who specialise in show-stopping event work, as well as producing weekly floral displays for offices, hotels, restaurants and private homes. 

Early Hours means flowers in Cockney rhyming slang!” explains founder Lizzie Powell.  “When I started the business I was living in Shoreditch with my now husband Joe who was born and bred in East London and often says things in Cockney Rhyming dialect. I also usually start work at 4am - so the name made perfect sense!”

Harvey Nichols Spring Instal

Show Dry Wimbledon Hearts

(Images Harvey Nichols Spring Installation and Wimbledon Window) 

Established in 2012, Early Hours started out, like most, with just few small projects but Lizzie and a group of enthusiastic florists were deeply passionate about style and creativity balanced with good value, so they quickly gained a reputation for producing innovative floristry and the ability to take a client’s idea and turn it into a design that both exceeded their original expectations but was also affordable and realistic.

We are really passionate about creativity and moving away from the expected when it comes to working with flowers, and we pride ourselves on coming up with innovative designs that combine both flowers as well as other interesting elements…” Lizzie explains.

My grandparents were both professional gardeners and they instilled a vast knowledge of flower varieties in my late mother, giving her a passion for all things floral. In turn, my mum and my grandparents both passed this love of flowers and nature onto me

Lizzie went on to study Textile Design at Leeds University where she learnt how to fully explore creative concepts. After leaving university she became increasingly interested in floral design and had her first experience of high-end floristry at none other than world-renowned florists - Jane Packer London. 

Here I learnt the reality of the industry and was inspired by the various pathways flowers could take you. After working there for 5 years I took a break, and moved into creating my own floristry business vision…”

Despite the evident success of her very own floristry business – Lizzie describes the creation of Early Hours as a “a happy accident'.

The business found me when I was offered an opportunity to create a weekly large floral display in an office for a friend - I made the most of the opportunity and put my heart and soul into making every design interesting and different” she explains.

“From then on, new and exciting creative projects kept finding me, before I knew it I'd accidentally started a business!

Crabtree Evelyn Floral Install

No58 Early Hours

Daphnes Floral Instal Early Hours

Today, Early Hours is one of the leading florists London with a reputation for designing innovative, beautiful floristry that makes a maximum impact without costing the earth. It is this attitude and an honest approach that has gained them both trust and recognition, and the title of ‘flower artists’. 

We actually didn't come up with the term Flower Artists ourselves! But our job title has been described as this by some of our clients” explains Lizzie.

I'm guessing the labelling came about because we mix both flowers and other creative mediums into our designs, so sometimes 'florists' isn't always the most appropriate job title for us…”

The other creative mediums that Lizzie mentions vary; Early Hours’ stunning Easter installation at London’s Covent Garden featured brightly coloured bunny rabbits and eggs nestled in amongst the abundant, beautiful florals. Their work for luxury London restaurant Sexy Fish featured water lilies and lily pads, shiny perspex sharks and hundreds of trailing orchids. More recently there were colourful tennis balls and vintage racquets aplenty intertwined with sunflowers, foliage and wisteria that made up their jaw-dropping Wimbledon displays for The Ivy Collection.

We are always looking for beautiful or exciting colours and textures - there is no great thought process but we never randomly include something just for the sake of it” Lizzie explains.

Usually the piece will be lacking something and it then becomes obvious what is missing…it might be a bright yellow or a bit of sparkle and sometimes only a lemon or a piece of mirrored perspex will give us the lift we are looking for.”

Early Hour’s inspired work has been the celebrated subject of quite literally thousands of Instagram posts, particularly their installations at the The Ivy Collection’s group of high-end restaurants in and around London, whose doorways are the stuff that floral dreams are made of (after Early Hours have seen to them, that is).

We try to make the doorways really special and enchanting to welcome their guests, creating a truly unique curb appeal in the process” explains Lizzie.

My favourite installation was back in 2016 when we covered the whole of The Ivy Chelsea Garden with every colour of flower for The Chelsea Flower Show - it was the first time we'd tried anything of this scale outside and I believe it really kicked off the flower wall concept.”

Binky Nixon Photography Early Hours Edited 1

Binky Nixon Photography Earlyhours Edited 1

Sexy Fish Early Hours

(Imagery Binky Nixon Covent Garden Easter Installation and Sexy Fish window nstallation)

Early Hours Binky Nixon Photography

Theivychelseagarden Entrance

Theivywimbledon Windown

Earlyhours Ivy

(Images: The Ivy Cafe Wimbledon installation 2017)

The Ivy’s installations often follow a theme or an event – be it Wimbledon, Christmas or simply the arrival of Spring. When given such a broad theme, Lizzie follows a specific a design process that starts with her and then involves the rest of her multi-talented team.

I always start by drawing a picture and then painting onto it. I explore the internet for unusual art, fashion, films, music videos or simply interesting plants and florals - I take inspiration from anything beautiful to be honest” she enthuses.

Once we have an idea or design, my colleague takes my drawings and starts sourcing all the different elements and designing the frameworks and mechanics, then they work out exactly how many flowers we'll need as I'm terrible at this! Once we have everything in place it's usually an all hands to deck situation - we all take a section and get making”

We all have different roles and we’re all very different characters. We all have completely different reference points and abilities, but it's great because combining our skills and approaches leads to some really epic designs!

And you’ll be pleased to know that Early Hour’s epic designs are not reserved for the likes of The Ivy alone, oh no. Lizzie and team can also work their green-fingered magic at weddings, private homes, events and parties, and they pride themselves on always being approachable, enthusiastic and filled with big ideas.

We never shy away from a complicated design idea and always give it 100% passion and energy!” Lizzie enthuses.

“Events and weddings are dictated by the clients brief so we are lead by their taste and style, but we always help and guide the concepts into unique and interesting arrangements that will create a real talking point amongst their guests. Floral Chandeliers are being requested frequently, and always a photo opportunity installation type of display, the flower wall being a current favourite. I'm predicting giant floral writing across walls to be next…

So having successfully created incredible displays for some of the biggest names in hospitality, various luxury brands and a whole host of fabulous private events – what would be the dream project for Early Hours?

Flowers for Beyoncé. We want to create a floral backdrop and crown for Queen B to wear on a photo shoot. One day!

Lizzie’s Top Tip For Creating Early Hours’ Inspired Florals At Home

My top tip is to pay as much attention to the foliage you use as you do the flowers. Foliage is beautiful and should be given equal attention. We always use several foliage varieties in our arrangements to give them interesting textures and colour tones and the flowers always look more fabulous presented against a full foliage backdrop rather than a stark empty space. Plus if you have a garden - foliage is also free and in abundance!

For more information and contact details for Early Hours, take a look at their page in TOAST’s Little Black Book. 

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