Worm is a creative floral design studio based in Clapton, East London and is co-owned by Katie Smyth and Terri Chandler. Worm create unique floral displays for events as well as more conceptual projects for brands and businesses in the most sustainable way possible. Their work has a beautiful, natural quality to it, opting for tonal hues and where possible, British-grown flowers. Since they began in 2016, Worm have worked with the likes of Elle Decoration, Harper’s Bazaar, Burberry and Matches Fashion, plus many more.
We visited Katie and Terri in their beautiful treasure trove of a studio earlier this year to discuss how it all began, their continued commitment to the environment, exciting new projects and the London haunts they’re most looking forward to visiting again this summer.
Can you tell us a little about what lead you both to start Worm and how it’s evolved into what it is today?
Worm started in 2016 when we were both feeling a bit lost in where we were heading in life and wanted to have some autonomy in being creative. It started as a local bunch and book delivery service, but as we started to do event flowers for friends, we caught the design bug and now we mainly create for shoots, events and weddings.
This past year has been hard for many businesses – did you decide to adapt Worm or did you chose to step back and use the quiet time to take a break?
We stepped back. A lot of our freelancers who seemed to be forgotten about by the government at the beginning were still having to work to stay above board financially, so we passed on the rare small jobs that came our way to them and kept ourselves on furlough. Between lockdowns, we managed to do some creative collaborations that we had wanted to do for so long, but had previously not been able to justify giving the time to, so that was really refreshing.
What did you enjoy most about creating the floral set design for our Venus shoot?
It was so lovely to collaborate on this shoot. After such a long time of working on our own, working with others again feels really important. The Venus candle is inspired by lots of summer florals. We enjoyed making displays with the challenge of including the different flowers, which feature in the fragrance. We really wanted what we created to connect to the candle and its ingredients.
Do you have any exciting summer projects you can share with us?
We have a LOT of weddings to catch-up with. It’s definitely the ‘Summer of Love’. We are also going to be able to show some of the lovely collaborative work we’ve been working on, which we are really excited about.
Are you both reading anything at the moment?
Katie: I am reading Olivia Laing’s book ‘Everybody’ I only started it at the weekend but I can’t put it down. It’s an exploration into the body and the powerful force it can have in changing and reshaping our world. We have been working on some projects, which explore the body and our relationship with it recently; this book has already made me think in a different way about my body and other bodies. So far, a really inspiring and thought provoking read.
Terri: I’m working through Maya Angelou’s work and currently reading Letter to my Daughter. She was so incredible and inspiring.
Which spots in London are you most looking forward to returning to?
Oh god, so many. We had our first lunch out last week at Rochelle Canteen and it felt really special. We can’t wait to be back at Duck Soup in Soho with a drink at The French House beforehand. The Royal Oak on Columbia Road (promise to never moan about having to push through the crowds to find a spot ever again). We set-up a wedding in Spring restaurant at Somerset House this week which is always so gorgeous – it got us so excited about returning to life again. We are really looking forward to the Constance Spry exhibition at the Garden Museum and hearing the last call to take your seats at the National Theatre. All of these experiences will seem so much richer having not had them for so long.
How easy is it to practice sustainability within the flower industry?
I think the problem isn’t how easy it is to be sustainable, but how easy it is to not be sustainable – the same as every industry. It would be so much easier for us to throw lots of floral foam at an event, but that just isn’t part of our company anymore. There are so many problems in our industry – flower waste, micro plastics in floral foam, taps left running constantly to fill buckets, wrapping flowers in cellophane, flying flowers across the world for the few hours of a wedding. We’ve had to take a really hard look at out footprint and make major changes since we first started. The good thing is the demand is getting stronger for alternatives and there are so many British growers we can now buy flowers from in the spring and summer seasons.
What is your favourite Evermore scent & why?
We both love Venus and not just because we worked on the flowers that make up the images. We love the floral notes and the grown-up hint of tuberose in the base notes – we can’t wait to burn it both in the studio and at home on warm summer evenings.
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– Images by Liz Seabrook