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A career interview with Anna Potter, founder of Sheffield flower shop Swallows and Damsons
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A career interview with Anna Potter, founder of Sheffield flower shop Swallows and Damsons
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A career interview with Anna Potter, founder of Sheffield flower shop Swallows and Damsons
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A career interview with Anna Potter, founder of Sheffield flower shop Swallows and Damsons
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A career interview with Anna Potter, founder of Sheffield flower shop Swallows and Damsons

Anna Potter | Swallows and Damsons

Author: Lauren Coleman

You may or may not know I’m a Sheffield girl at heart and so nothing makes me prouder than being able to share a huge talent residing in my hometown.

Nestled on the outskirts of Sheffield’s Antique Quarter you’ll find Swallows and Damsons a charming flower shop with an equally beautiful name. Selling a divine mix of wild and romantic blooms, founder Anna Potter has crafted a unique and creative space like no other flower shop I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting.

Though I no longer live in the north, I have been the lucky recipient of many Swallow and Damsons bouquets over the years (thanks Mum!). They always feature a hefty dose of wild foliage and beautiful seasonal stems skilfully arranged together in an organic display. And the scent? Absolutely heavenly.

These images were first previewed over on trendy design blog, Design*Sponge. However we have the unique scoop on Anna and her path to becoming a florist in today’s career interview.

Tell us a little bit about what you were doing before you set up Swallows and Damsons.

After graduating in Fine Art I tried my hand at a few different jobs, all of which I found a little creatively frustrating. It was by chance and through a friend that I got a job in a local flower shop. Within a few days I knew it was a perfect fit.

Can you take us through the process of getting your business off the ground? How did you take the initial idea through to launch?

By the time I’d worked in a few florists I had so many ideas brewing that I had to set up on my own before I exploded! Swallows and Damsons started by selling weekend flowers at a beautiful Chocolate shop, ‘Cocoa’ in Sheffield and weddings flowers from my cellar at home. Very soon after we were fortunate enough to start our own florist in an area of Sheffield that we love.

What makes you different from other florists? How did you find your niche?

Without the constraints of formal college training I have not been so concerned with the formal rules of floristry. I have always been obsessed with colour, tone and texture.

What are the hallmarks of a Swallow and Damsons bouquet?

Subtle colours, textures and nearly always eucalyptus.

What’s the best piece of advice you received when you were thinking about setting up your shop? And the worst?!

I’ve been super fortunate not to receive a lot of bad advice, but the best was definitely

“Run your own race”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned running your own business?

Learning how to say no to things, putting friends and family first.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

Wild, subtle, romantic, curious and a little bit old fashioned.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The utter joy of working with a natural, fragile and beautiful product and being a local shop. Connecting with customers, hearing stories and making it as easy as possible to be thoughtful.

What are you favourite florals? And your favourite way to use them?

Each season has a new fave (it’s a criminal florist offence to just name one).

Spring- ranunculus

Summer- garden rose

Autumn- dahlia

Winter- hellebores

How do you like to spend your Sundays?

Family days – mostly spent exploring outdoors with adventures in the countryside. Good food and lots of coffee.

What’s the accomplishment you’re proudest of?

I’m so proud of being a local shop. A humble little treasure trove of florals, where people are always welcome and always the priority.

{Profile}

Headshot

Name | Anna Potter
Occupation | Owner of Swallows and Damsons
Lives | Sheffield
Education | Fine Art

{Anna’s tips for at-home arranging}

Florals at Home

Work with the colours and textures in your home. Either totally blend or be bold and contrast. Against a plain wall try a block of all one flower in a contrasting shade. Against a patterned wallpaper, colour match and go for wild and eclectic in the same colours as the paper.

If you’d like to see more of the Swallow and Damson’s trademark style we’re very pleased to have featured several stunning bouquets over on Rock My Wedding, including the nuptials of Katy and Richard whose rainy day nearly broke the internet!

Who wants to call it quits on the day job and join Anna in her stunning little shop?! I can just smell the scent of eucalyptus right now.

{Contributors}

Photographer | India Hobson

Author
Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
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8 thoughts on “Anna Potter | Swallows and Damsons

  1. After I did some of the flowers for my own wedding I’d LOVE to have a florist shop although I have no formal training and know very little about flowers! That shop looks amazing. I wish I had spare cash in order to order several bouquets of blooms every week.

    1. Victoria I’m in awe of anyone who does their own wedding flowers! How wonderful to be surrounded by beautiful blooms x

  2. I am a frequent visitor to Anna’s beautiful shop and her style is so unique. She also hosts regular flower schools and I will definitely be enrolling on the next evening session. Her Instagram feed is one of the most stunning I have ever seen and with almost 40,000 followers a lot of people agree! Xxx

  3. Anna’s work is always beautiful and dreamy, capturing a slightly wild feeling. Thanks for this wonderful profile!

  4. Oh I love Anna’s work, it’s beautiful no matter what season it is. I asked her to do the flowers for our wedding in a barn, and she did magic with a hula hoop to make a gorgeous hanging wreath in the middle of an opening in the two floors, and an old watering can existing with blooms as a centrepiece for the ceremony! It was dreamy work, I held onto my bouquet until the band started, and nearly cried when I had to leave it to go on honeymoon, haha!! This year I’m hoping to pootle back over the Peninnes for a Christmas wreath, and maybe even make it to the flower school to make my own!

    X

    1. Oh Faye your flowers sound epic. The hoop? All sorts of amazing.
      You must nip back for the flower school though I’ll be fighting you for a place! x

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