Heart & Soul of Churchfield Road Wins Accolade
Sue and Reno get creative with flowers in Acton
It seems like they have been a part of the Churchfield Road landscape for far longer than 18 months, but Sue and Reno Giacomet will be celebrating 2 years running their their successful, creative flower shop in August.
Their business has recently been accepted as a Master Florist by Master Florist Direct - an important accolade for the industry.
Both Sue and Reno worked for a US bank in the city - Sue in events and marketing and Reno on the IT trading floor. After their wedding in 2004, they took the momentous decision whilst on honeymoon to get off the city treadmill and change their lives. So both of them chucked in their day jobs to start their flower shop business.
Reno thought originally that he would go back to work after helping Sue set everything up. However, he told me, it didn't quite turn out as planned: "The six-month period I had set aside for helping Sue get the business off the ground kept getting longer and longer. First I stayed to get through the busy Christmas period, then I thought I'd help Sue through the busy rush to buy flowers for Valentine's Day and it just went on and on."
They obviously enjoy creating their superb designs and working as a team with Vita, their Lithuanian part-time assistant who has been with them for a year. Max, the Staffordshire bull terrier is keen to greet anyone who walks into the shop and helps by collecting discarded plastic plant pots and secreting them in his bed.
Sue always wanted to be either a florist or hairdresser, "but after I won a scholarship to a convent school all the creativity was hammered out of me." After working for years in events and marketing it was always the flower arrangements which caught her eye and her experience led her to create the bold, unusual designs which can be found in the shop.
If you choose from the selection of flowers in the shop, Sue will give you useful tips on how to arrange them when you get home. For instance, she told me once that you should never use even numbers of flowers in an arrangement as the flowers then become like eyes instead of an artful decoration.
Sue and Reno live in West Acton - Reno has lived in Acton since 1972 and his parents still live here, too. They decided on the Churchfield Road location for Heart & Soul after Sue was diverted along it one day. They say their location is ideal: "We're on the shady side of the street and customers can park outside for free for an hour."
Reno told me that people often ask him why on earth he would want to run a business in Acton. "But they don't know what Acton is like - they only see the High Street. Churchfield Road is a great location for us and it has become much livelier over the past two years with Vanilla and two hairdressing businesses (Pro Hands and Anthony Bell) in the same block. Mind you, I am disappointed by the people who put their rubbish out in the street and by shopfronts which are... less than beautiful."
This imaginative, stylish and friendly business is a great asset to Acton. Sue and Reno are delighted that it has exceeded their expectations from the original business plan. Many people from outside the area use the florist and my visit there certainly brightened up a very grey March day.