What I Know About Style

Nikki Tibbles

Wild at Heart


Nikki Tibbles on Japanese horror movies and rescuing dogs

You beat 70 rivals to lease the ex-loo building which is the home of Wild at Heart. What was it about this space that attracted you?

I loved that it was such an unusual building, which had such a great story. It was commissioned in 1993 by the residents of Westbourne Grove who were horrified at the thought of a ‘portaloo’ on their local traffic island and brought in architect Piers Gough to design something more elegant. The result was Turquoise Island which has become an iconic building in the area, with the lavatories at one end having become a landmark for cabbies and tourist alike, while at the other end the Wild at Heart shop has become a local institution. The building is now listed and after 18 years of being there, Turquoise Island will always be a special place for me as it’s where everything started for me.

Where in London is the best place to go for an English garden experience?

Chelsea Physic Garden is an amazing secret garden right in the heart of London and is one of London’s oldest botanic garden. It is a unique living museum of flowers and plants, which is a wonderful place to visit.

You work closely with Noah’s A.R.C charity which re-homes abandoned dogs in Spain. Have you ever been tempted to take a dog home yourself?

I currently have four dogs and three of them have come to me via Noah’s A.R.C. I brought them over with the intention of re-homing them but instead I fell in love with them. They have adjusted to their new life so well and have fitted in with the whole family perfectly. There are still many more that I plan to bring over to the UK very soon but I will of course have to find them a loving home as I haven’t got any more room for any more!

Our other objectives at Doghouse, apart from finding loving homes for dogs who have been saved from neglect and torture, is to raise funds in order to put in place educational programmes as well as to enable widespread neutering through close collaboration with partner veterinary colleges. We carried out our first neutering programme in Greece this summer which involved sending a group of vets from Bristol University out to Losbos. It was a very successful trip.

What are you most proud of and why?

I am most proud of the way in which Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart has grown into such a successful and diverse company, and that is definitely thanks to the amazing and creative people working within the company to make it such a thriving and special business. I feel very blessed to have found something that I love to do; I don’t think many people have that. I don’t have a day where I am doing the same thing and everything changes, which is great because I have a short attention span.

Who has been your favourite client?

There are no favourites as we have such a loyal client base including Betty Jackson, John Field and Meadham Kirchoff and we love working with every one of our regulars.

What is your favourite season?

I love the time around Christmas as Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart offers an exclusive bespoke Christmas service where I personally meet with clients in their homes to create their ideal Christmas fantasy. It is an elite service where we do everything from designing bespoke tree hangings to making stunning staircase garlands and finding the perfect 15 foot tree. I believe that Christmas decorations should embody your personality and empathise with the style of your home, so I often look for inspiration within the client’s surroundings. It is such a unique service which I love doing because every installation is different and special.

What inspires your bouquets?

Obviously a lot of inspiration comes from the flowers themselves and the different seasons. However, I am also heavily influenced by art and fashion as points of reference when coming up with ideas. I also use my love of interiors, often taking the interior of someone’s home or a venue as inspiration for the bouquets and installations that Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart does.

What is your favourite flower and why?

My favourite flowers are roses. They are such old fashioned, luxurious flowers which are beautifully scented. I also love the way in which they die.

What has been the biggest disaster at Wild at Heart?

Boringly we have had no major disasters. The only thing that was really detrimental to the business was the introduction of the congestion charge extension. When the congestion charge came in, it really devastated the area because people didn’t come to shop here as much. However, hopefully now the congestion charge has been lifted things will improve and Westbourne Grove will become the vibrant place it once was.

What tip can you give us to make sure our flowers last longer?

Milton sterilizing fluid is the only thing that works; it keeps the water clear of bacteria.

If you weren’t a florist what would you be doing?

I would be running a dog charity. If I had enough money and I could retire I would build kennels and spend all my time bringing street dogs over from Spain and Greece.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I would be running a dog charity. If I had enough money and I could retire I would build kennels and spend all my time bringing street dogs over from Spain and Greece.

Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart is offering 25% more flowers with every order online with code wildwest until Wednesday 25 January 2012.

Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart, Turquoise Island, 222 Westbourne Grove, London, W11; www.wildatheart.com; 020 7727 3095

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