Sara Barrow is passionate about all things floral and has won numerous awards and accolades since launching Flowers With Passion in 2011. She has trained with several world champion florists and is skilled in traditional or contemporary work.
Sara has been self-employed since moving to Lancashire from Norfolk in her early 20s. She started in business designing and making her own range of children's clothes and then opened a children's shop in Clitheroe. She ran this for 20 years before the recession hit and her landlord wanted to double the rent. Never one to admit defeat Sara decided to embark on a career change. She and her husband Carl opened a tea room in Ribchester in 2008 where they were living at the time. Needing more ways to bring money into the business the couple sold gifts upstairs and Sara decided to sell flowers too. She rang Myerscough College to ask for help and is famously quoted as saying "I want to be a florist but I need to be a florist in six weeks time!" She embarked on as many courses as she could find and also started a degree at Myerscough. Discovering that flowers were her true vocation the couple sold the tea rooms so Sara could finish her degree - she gained a distinction (and best student award) in Commercial Floral Design in 2011.
A love of flowers and nature began in her childhood with a Mother who was an ardent gardener and flower arranger. Her Mum gave Sara and her two brothers a tiny patch of garden to do with what they wanted. Her brothers grew vegetables but for Sara it was all about the pretty flowers. And her Mum would take her for walks around the Norfolk lanes looking for flowers to press and teaching her about wild flowers and wildlife. Sara's Mum sadly died before she opened the tea room and she is convinced her Mum steered her towards flowers. When she found out florists could win medals at RHS Chelsea Flower Show she made a secret promise to her Mum that she would one day win a gold medal for her (Her Mum had always wanted to go to Chelsea but never managed to get there.) In 2011 Sara got through the heats and was a finalist at the prestigious show winning a silver medal for her jockey silk. She competed again in 2012 but didn't receive a medal for her floral chandelier. "I didn't give myself enough time and completely messed it up." Then in 2014 she had to create a "fantasy floral dress to be worn at a crystal themed ball." Sara not only appeared on the BBC's Countdown to Chelsea Programme but also won her gold medal in honour of her Mum.
Sara worked from a studio at her Goosnargh home from 2011 until March 2016 when she and Carl decided to open a shop in Longridge.
Another gold medal was gained in 2015 when Sara was asked to be on a team representing the North West Area of NAFAS at RHS Tatton Show. The team of four created a carnival procession called "Rhythm and Hues."
And Sara has also had great success at Southport Flower Show winning two trophies at her first show. She has also been awarded Best in Contemporary Floral Design and Best Innovative Exhibit.
When she is not competing Sara loves creating flowers for all occasions but especially weddings. She is also a North West Area of NAFAS demonstrator and has demonstrated all over the country. She also loves running workshops when time permits - in her Goosnargh studio.
In 2016 Sara and Carl started growing their own range of flowers and plants in their garden and they are a member of the Flowers From the Farm network. Although this year most of the flowers suffered at the hands of pigeons, mice and slugs. They hope to increase their offering of locally grown flowers - time permitting!
Below are some of the pictures of Sara's competitions and unique designs.
Sara's magic with flowers has gained her many accolades including:
Southport Flower Show 2016 - Best Innovative exhibit
RHS Tatton 2015 - Gold Medal - part of a team representing the North West Area of NAFAS with their exhibit "Carnival"
RHS Chelsea 2014 - Gold Medal - UK Florist of the Year
Southport Flower Show - Best in the Contemporary Floral Design Marquee
RHS Chelsea 2011 - Silver Medal - UK florist of the Year