CHIC, dramatic, colourful, theatrical, stylish and personal - that’s Ma Fleur florist which opened recently in the Diamond in Portstewart.
Already a vibrant part of Portstewart’s retail centre since its opening just two weeks ago, Ma Fleur (French for ‘my flower’) is the creation of a top class London florist who has returned home to his native north coast.
Mark Allen (hence the M.A. in the business name MA Fleur) is originally from Portrush but “gave up the office job in the City” and part-time teaching floristry in the London Borough of Lewisham to pursue what began as a hobby and quickly became a way of life.
“I really started in floristry 25 years ago by accident. I was doing flowers for family and friends and it just developed,” explained Mark who was awarded the prestigious title of Teleflorist London and Home Counties South Florist of the Year in 2004.
Qualified in horticulture landscape design, Mark also completed a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture at University College Dublin.
“I had worked for other florists and done some freelance floristry work.
“I had even decorated one of the chapels in St Paul’s Cathedral for a wedding but then I decided to come back home and everyone was saying - you should open a shop.
“So the challenge was to look for the right location to open my own shop.
“Thankfully this location became available in the Diamond in Portstewart. It’s been two weeks since we opened and the response has been great.
“The whole town has really gotten behind us which is fantastic and people keep popping in, saying a florist is just what Portstewart needs.”
Mark’s creative eye can come up with a floral arrangement for any occasion - weddings, bouquets, funeral arrangements, buttonholes, etc.
“We can cater for all occasions whether it’s a birthday or wedding anniversary bouquet.
“We also can come up with what I like to call a ‘doghouse bouquet’ for the man who needs to produce something special as he’s in the doghouse with the other half,” laughed Mark.
“We like to mix modern and traditional flowers, to create an eclectic mix.”
Ma Fleur receives deliveries of fresh flowers every other day and replenishes its stock of fresh plants every few days.
The florist is also the exclusive retail outlet in Northern Ireland to stock Alternate Angles candles made by adults with learning difficulties in Coleraine.
Ma Fleur also offers a delivery service in the Triangle and can make arrangements to cater for your delivery requirements anywhere outside of this area.
Mark has concentrated his talent and expertise in creating a more continental, fresh look and feel to Ma Fleur.
Offering a price range to suit everyone, Ma Fleur offers everything from the small plant for a child to buy out of their pocket money as a gift, to nick-nacks for the home, to the “wow” bouquet for a man planning to propose to a vivid arrangement using hot pinks and oranges for a girls night.
Bridal work is where Mark’s creative flair really comes into its own.
“I’m trying to steer brides away from the traditional ideas towards classical shower bouquet with 21st century twist,” explained Mark.
Ma Fleur’s bridal arrangements can feature wonderful ideas such as stunning horse-show shaped cascades of flowers or coiled floral arrangements featuring little tokens reflecting the bride’s life and personality.
“I love to see some drama in a bridal bouquet because it is the bride’s big day and all eyes should be on her.”
Similarly Mark is also passionate about bringing that very personal touch to funeral and sympathy floral arrangements.
“Funeral flowers don’t have to be a casket spray or a wreath. When I am dealing with a bereaved customer, I like to have a chat with them to find out something more about their loved one. Then I can suggest flowers, colours or arrangements which will mean something to the family.
“Ma Fleur means ‘my flower’ and that’s at the heart of this business, these are MY flowers and arrangements which I have put my ideas into so that my customers can say these are MY flowers and they mean something to them.”
Ma Fleur Florist, 22 The Diamond, Portstewart. Telephone: (028) 7083 3333. Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9.30am - 5.30pm and Saturday 9.30am - 2.30pm.