THE BEAUTY IS…

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					                            Left: Casablanca lily on glass stand; Below: Dawn Smith in the RTfact shop in Claygate




                 THE BEAUTY IS…

IT’S SILK        The demand for silk flowers is on the increase. You
                 will find them adorning some of the most exclusive
                 residences in the region. Cream of Surrey speaks to
                 Dawn Smith, founder and managing director of
                 RTfact in Claygate, who has been instrumental in
                 creating this trend

Left: caption
Above: caption

                                                                                        cream of surrey | 113
             CCORDING TO DAWN,                  trees, flowers and artifacts. We still work




A            when she opened the RTfact
             shop in Claygate seven years
             ago, her biggest concern was
             addressing people’s negative
perceptions about artificial flowers.
By sourcing the finest quality silk
flowers and creating stunning bespoke
                                                with this client today along with many other
                                                leading Surrey-based interior designers
                                                including Hamble Interiors, Hill House
                                                interiors, The L&C Company and Aida
                                                Interiors, to add the finishing touches to
                                                some of the premium show homes and
                                                private houses in the county.
arrangements for clients, RTfact quickly           According to Lucy Manchester,
challenged people’s pre-conceived ideas,        co-director of The L&C Company, “As
developing a loyal client base which            interior designers at the luxury end of the
includes celebrities, interior designers and    market, we appreciate the fact that Dawn
multi-million pound home owners. In fact,       understands the quality of flowers needed
business is blooming for RTfact - the only      in order to meet our clients’ needs.
Surrey-based company to have been               Dawn is very good at listening and we work
shortlisted for the British Small Business      together on projects to ensure that RTfact’s
Champions Award run by the Federation of        bespoke arrangements really compliment
Small Businesses.                               our design. When dealing with property
   Dawn commented, “When starting the           developers, time schedules can be very
business, my vision was not just to provide     tight. Dawn is always reliable and can
the most beautiful silk flowers available        deliver beautifully crafted arrangements
worldwide but also to create a niche in the     within tight time frames – helping us to
market for designing stunning, bespoke          enhance the reputation of our business.”
faux flower arrangements. To me it is not           With a background in interior design,
just the stems that have to be of exceptional   Dawn also offers a free consultancy
quality. The pots and vases also have to be     service for home-owners and has been
creative and inspiring, so that the whole       invited into over 30 celebrity homes in
piece comes together like a work of art.        Surrey. The service is second to none. It is
I also made a conscious decision to aim at      always important for an arrangement to
the high end of the market and put a great      enhance its surroundings and Dawn has
deal of thought behind the colours and          the unique ability of interpreting her client’s
messages used to create the RTfact brand.       needs in creating arrangements that will
The location of the shop was also critical to   perfectly complement a customer’s sense
the success of the business. I chose            of style and the environment in which they
Claygate because it is an affluent area,         will be situated.
with easy parking and a wonderful                  “Working closely with the home owner or
village atmosphere.”                            interior designer gives me a greater insight
   Not a day goes by without someone            into their requirements. It is a privilege to
walking into the RTfact shop and assuming       be invited into people’s homes and RTfact
that the flowers are real. Great care is taken   prides itself in designing each bespoke
in merchandising, so that it looks and even     arrangement like a piece of art for a
smells like a contemporary florist. The shop     specific place in their home. I never
has a prestigious reputation and it is this     compromise on standards and sometimes,
reputation that won Dawn the trust of many      depending on the space, go back to a
of the exclusive property owners in the area.   house two or three times, to revisit the brief
   Dawn explains, “A number of years ago,       and try out different colour schemes or
a developer came into the RTfact shop,          arrangements.”
having heard about our reputation locally.         Sometimes the RTfact flowers will
After an initial consultation, we were          enhance or balance an existing colour              Top: Orchids in glass cylinders; Above:
commissioned to dress a multi-million           scheme in a room. Other times, when                Casablanca lilies in UFO vase; Right: Selection of
pound show home in the Kingston area with       working with a more neutral interior           ¦   herbs in glass vases




114 | cream of surrey
that lacks that element of drama, the theme             Dawn continues, “Silk flower                   existing corporate hire service which
can be created through powerful use of                arrangements are an investment and,             currently has in excess of 60 clients from
colour and shape. For a more tranquil                 on average, last for over three years.          Cambio in Guildford to Toni & Guy and
environment, contemporary arrangements                However, not everyone wants to see the          Hamptons International.
are often used with white or cream flowers             same flowers all year round. One of our             Nowadays, the pace of life is so fast
and plenty of greenery. According to Dawn,            many clients in St George’s Hill, for           that many people no longer have the time
this is the key trend at the moment.                  example, has a bi-monthly change to ring        to buy and maintain fresh flowers but they
She uses white, cream and lime flowers                 the seasonal changes, such as peonies in        still want a fresh look. RTfact is able to
such as orchids or lilies, to give a fresh and        summer and amaryllis in winter.”                offer clients a maintenance free, wow factor.
peaceful atmosphere. Grasses are also in                An increasing number of people also           No wonder Dawn and her team are in such
high demand, adding a lush look to this               enlist RTfact’s services when looking to sell   high demand.
current retro-style trend in interiors.               their property. These clients don’t want the
  RTfact arrangements have a distinct,                hassle of purchasing fresh flowers each          Dawn Smith
often dramatic, style. Dawn and her team do           time a potential buyer comes to visit but       RTfact
not simply use beautifully arranged flowers            want the aesthetics that flowers provide.        22 The Parade
but often compliment the look by adding               For this, RTfact offers a three month hire      Claygate
other materials such as fruit, twigs, pods or         service, helping to ensure that the potential   Surrey KT10 0NU
bark. By adding pure extracts of the flower            buyer receives an extremely positive first       Tel: 01372 470580
scent to the creation, the owner is left with a       impression when viewing the property.           Fax: 01372 463345
stunning design which also smells beautiful.          This is an extension of the already             www.rtfactflowers.co.uk




Clockwise from top right: Rush grass in black
granite vases; Hydrangeas in chrome and spiral
boxus topiaries in glass cylinders; Tulips in glass
vase; Roses and snowballs in glass tank

With thanks to The L&C Company for use
of pictures




116 | cream of surrey

				
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