When Kally Ellis set up McQueens in 1991 she had one aim in mind. "I wanted to sell simple, stylish flowers, beautifully presented, to the people of London. And I knew they would love it."
Since then, drawing on her business experience gained within the marketing team of a large international French merchant bank, and her flawless instinct for colour and design, Kally has established McQueens as the premier name in a business that crosses all floral boundaries. From that one shop in Clerkenwell, East London, the McQueens' empire now supplies flowers to clients as diverse and prestigious as Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Christian Louboutin, Mulberry, The Grove, The Berkeley and the Connaught Hotel. Perhaps its greatest accolade has been to provide the flowers and styling for the legendary Vanity Fair parties that include the Oscars, the Cannes Film Festival and the TriBeca Film Festival.
The McQueens' flagship store in Old Street incorporates the internationally renowned McQueens Floristry School which attracts students from all over the world - from the professional florist, to the beginner with a passion for flowers - and has earned a reputation for unsurpassed creativity and inspiring design.
Kally's passion has now extended to the creation of an exquisite range of florally scented natural candles which are available from the McQueen website.
KALLY'S FAVOURITE SITES
Owners Direct - This is a great website and one that I use to book my annual holiday - there a great selection of properties to rent across globe. You deal with the owners direct - it's a personal service which I much prefer. The property owners are all very house-proud and so far I have never been disappointed. This year I rented a villa in Mykonos for two weeks and we had a fabulous time with family and friends.
French Sole - I have always worn ballet pumps long before they were ever fashionable and own 100s of pairs. I love this site - they have pumps in every shade and style and there is always something that tempts me into making a purchase. What's more they have a regular customer communication - newsletters etc that always include special offers. I also have to mention that they are a much valued client of McQueens.
Great Little Place - My events manager recommended this site to me - an informative guide to London life - restaurants, bars, clubs, museums. Subscribers can post reviews and pictures of any great places they have been to. My daughter and husband love afternoon tea so I'm always seeking new places for them to visit and this site for me has become a 'must have.' The best thing about it is that so many of the places that are recommended are off the 'beaten track' which makes it feel extra special.
Harrington&Squires - Vicky Fullick and Chrissie Charlton, who run H&S, are great friends of mine. They specialise in producing beautiful stationery that is designed, set, printed and finished by hand. I always use them to design my Christmas cards and recently they designed and printed invitation cards for the celebration of McQueens' 20th anniversary dinner at Claridges. They always do such a beautifully job - they are incredible craftspeople. The site is great for unusual gift ideas that do not cost the earth. My favourites are the calendars and the fridge magnets that double up as a shopping list.
Odeon - My family and I are all fanatical film and five minutes down the road from us is an Odeon cinema. I generally tend to go online to book tickets - it saves having to wait in queues. Most of the film studios hold the best films of the year to the autumn/winter - it's pre-awards season and it's all very exciting, especially as we are part of the Oscar madness. For sixteen years we've been doing the styling and flowers for the Vanity Fair - post-Oscars party. It's a 'pinch yourself moment!'
Farley - We use this site on a regular basis at McQueens - it's a prop hire company - they supply props to film sets. It is full of the most stunning fine antique candlesticks and candelabra that we use often in our events and wedding work.
6 September 2011