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Two women who quit their city jobs to set up floral design studio Grandirosa

Two women who quit their city jobs to set up floral design studio Grandirosa

Inside the hustle and bustle of The Ned, I eventually find Lil Caldwell and Mary Wood tucked away in the comparatively quiet Library Bar. The co-founders of floral design studio Grandirosa are sat on cosy sofas, and Wood, who is currently on maternity leave, has her sleepy three-month-old baby in her arms. Judging by the way they finish each other’s sentences, I can tell immediately that this pair have been friends for a long time. And there is a good reason why we are in The Ned too, because the florists have installed a gigantic 18-foot Christmas tree in the main hall, having worked through the night so that it was ready for guests when they woke up. It was also at The Ned where the pair got their first big break back in 2017, having quit their City jobs just a few months prior to focus on Grandirosa full-time. Before committing to the new business, Wood had worked in marketing for Cancer Research UK, while Caldwell had been a lawyer at Freshfields for 10 years. “It is an amazing firm and I worked on extremely high-profile cases, and with top people in the industry,” she tells me. “It was great to be a part of that, and their standards are so high. But I just felt that I wasn’t doing something that I really loved.” So how did they make the leap from these sturdy, rather conventional careers to building a firm centred on the frivolity of flowers? Caldwell tells me that something twigged on her wedding day. “The only time I got remotely emotional was when I saw the flowers,” she says, admitting that she had always been quite arty, but ended up taking a more traditional career path. “I eventually decided to do a floristry course, […]

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