We spoke to owner Nik about how she started the business and how her two dogs, Belle and Nuccio, fit into the day-to-day running of a florist.
Tell us about your dogs and how they came into your life.
Belle is 7-year-old rescue pup. She was a stray and we have had her for four years now. She’s a beaut – a real Princess & the Pea but not a diva; she will lay anywhere as long as it’s on a blanket as she’s so bony! People think we are precious with her when we take her blanket down the pub but whippet/ greyhound owners get it! She’s independent, but only in the fact she will go off into another room in the house…unlike Nuccio, our needy Bedlington whippet X, who always has to have his eye on us.
We got him as a puppy, which I do feel bad about, as I have rescued two greyhounds in the past and two whippets (massive fan of sighthounds). I am very pro adopt-not-shop, but I had my heart set on that cross. He popped up and was from a very good breeder.
The terrier part of him barks at random dogs and humans for absolutely no rhyme or reason!! He barks at 45% of them, which can be frustrating and annoying… he doesn’t do anything, just runs and barks. Luckily, we live in an area of great dog owners who don’t even blink at him.
He is the cuddliest most affection dog I have ever had; he will lie on you and nuzzle into your neck all for as long as you let him. Importantly, they love each other SO much, constantly side by side and cuddling in bed all of time, it breaks my heart. They actually mirror each other every morning when they come into our bed. SOO CUTE.
Could you tell us a little about Grace & Thorn and how it started?
I started Grace & Thorn from my living room eight years ago. After becoming despondent after 13 years of IT recruitment, I did a course in floristry for a month and there was no looking back. Since then, we have become one of London’s biggest florists, catering for many companies, brands, hotels and restaurants across London. We have a shop in Hackney, which sells lots of plants, flower, botanical gifts and ceramics. We also do events, weddings, plant styling and installations.
How does having a dog fit into your general working day?
I used to take them to the shop more regularly, but Nuccio barking at random customers was a tad stressful at times! Now me or my partner Tom run them in the woods behind our house in Buckhurst Hill every morning. Depending on what time we are home, our dog walker will come and let them out for a wee.
When you’re not working, where do you and your dogs like to hang out?
Epping Forest or any beach in north Norfolk.
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk, and what do you carry them in?
Poo bags, and a ball and stick for Nuccio to try to distract him from running at other dogs.
What adventures do you and your dogs have planned for the rest of the year?
More of north Norfolk, it’s such a dog-friendly part of the world. Most of the pubs cater for dogs, and the beaches do, too. They are so expansive and stunningly beautiful – they love it!
You can follow Nik, Belle and Nuccio’s adventures on Grace & Thorn’s Instagram.