Lucie Merkl, founder of The Bloom Foundry, tells SO Magazine’s Lilly Croucher about the shop’s success and its new pop-up book shop and also reveals details of her Christmas wreath making workshops for 2022…
Opening its bright coral pink doors four years ago, The Bloom Foundry on St John’s Road cannot be missed thanks to its grand displays of fresh, faux and silk flowers, stunning bouquets and unique collection of vintage antiques.
Its founder, Lucie Merkl, says she has always been motivated to make her ‘dream shop’ a success by taking an innovative approach to the services it provides.
Graduating from Hadlow College with a qualification in floristry, Lucie’s career took a back seat after having her children, but when the shop unit that would eventually become The Bloom Foundry became available, the talented business entrepreneur knew this was her chance.
“I was a studio florist and antiques dealer for many years. I could always see the potential this shop had with its stunning huge Edwardian shop windows, lovely airy space inside and not forgetting the original flower moulded bricks on the pillars outside!
“I knew exactly what I would do with it, should the opportunity arise. So when it became empty four years ago, I jumped at the chance to turn it into my dream shop.”
Combining her passions for floristry and antiques dealing, Lucie began her successful business, which saw her exquisitely crafted arrangements earn her notable recognition as The Best florist in Kent 2021 at the Muddy Stilettos awards.
“It was absolutely incredible to receive the award from Muddy Stilettos and made me feel very happy!”
Lucie’s techniques and experience have seen her create a range of elegant and extravagant displays, making her original floristry style instantly recognisable.
“I tend to use more unusual varieties of flowers, including huge-headed roses, deep dark-pink toned lilies and beautifully lemon-scented waxflowers, so my bouquets stand out in a crowd. I use minimal packaging to maximise the floral content of each bouquet.
“My best-selling products at the moment are my Bloom Foundry Bouquets, the handprinted papier-mâché Christmas decorations, the ceramic Floral Room diffusers and my bright dried-flower bouquets.”
“Lucie’s recently launched a book pop-up in store and will also be hosting a number of seasonal wreath making workshops”
But Lucie goes on to say that not everything has been rosy since she first launched The Bloom Foundry.
“The business has had its ups and downs, obviously because of Covid and the challenges that brought. I haven’t actually had a single year of trading that wasn’t affected by it in some way. But that taught me to diversify and offer my skills and products in lots of different ways and not just rely on people walking through the door of the shop.”
One of these new ideas saw Lucie team up with local author, Anna Wharton to create a The Book Room, a pop-up shop featuring a selection of writer-recommended books of all genres.
“Anna had been a customer of The Bloom Foundry since it opened and that’s how we became friends. She came to me with the idea of the book shop and asked me what I thought.
“We hoped the pop-up shop would give shoppers and locals another reason to make the trip to this part of town and to support brilliant independents in the St John’s area.
“It has definitely been a success and we’ve had people travelling from all over Kent to come and visit. Customers have said what a great addition it is to this part of town.”
The pop-up shop will be running until at least Christmas Eve and offers free delivery within the TN4 postcode.
For the festive season, Lucie’s popular Christmas wreath-making workshop returns for its third year, where she walks you through the steps of the wreath-making process.
The workshops will last around two hours and will be held at The Bloom Foundry shop with classes taking place on December 8 and 13 at 7pm.
On Sunday December 11, Lucie will be holding an exclusive wreath-making class at The Royal Wells Hotel on Mount Ephraim, complete with an Afternoon Tea and bubbles.
“During the workshops, I provide everything you need and guide you through making your wreath. Since I launched them they have been very successful and everyone always loves the wreaths they make. I also work with a number of businesses providing workshops throughout the year as part of their wellness programmes. It’s a great way for everyone to spend a peaceful hour or so working with materials they normally wouldn’t use to create something wonderful.”