Kalaina Hughes had been thinking about starting a floristry and event catering business for the best part of a decade, with her friend, Anna Shell. Then along came 2020, and the realisation that people might appreciate having food and flowers delivered to their doorstep
What were you doing before Hughes and Friend?
I’ve spent the past four years working in fashion, both as a seamstress and for an online clothing company. I studied fashion and textiles in London until it chewed me up and spat me out, then gravitated back to Norfolk after leaving the big bad city.
Whereas Anna, after a brief spell in a finance department, decided to go back to school and gain an events degree at Falmouth Uni. She’s since dipped my toes in all sorts, from corporate events to festivals, working as a producer for a production company all over the UK and Europe.
How long have you known each other and are you Norfolk born and bred?
For 14 wonderful years! And too bloody right we are, bor!
When did the idea for your event catering and floristry business come about?
I have thought about little else for the past decade. I finally got Anna on board when the world nearly ended in 2020. In all seriousness, we’ve always toyed with the idea of starting a business, but finally worked out how to merge our two passions. Like our Insta bio suggests, we wanted to kill two birds with one stone, and make event planning easier for people looking to source flowers and food.
Has it been challenging, being a lockdown start-up?
Yes and no. It’s given us the time we need to work out exactly who we are and what we want to offer. We’d like to give a shout out to our mums for eternally being the voice of doubt in our minds…(we love you really!).
How’s it been going so far?
We are overwhelmed by the positive feedback we have had, especially from camping and glamping sites who seem to really like our picnic packages. The support we get on Instagram from fellow local foodies and small businesses has been invaluable.
So food and floristry is a pretty perfect pairing, right?
Yeah! We like to think so and we’ve had lots of nice comments from people saying they don’t know of anyone else doing it.
Is the food vegetarian/vegan? And where do you source your flowers from?
We cater for all tastes and dietary requirements, but veggie food always looks so pretty. Saying that you can’t beat a sausage sarnie! We try to use British flowers where possible and one of our close friends is kindly prepping her garden to supply us with flowers and veggies going forwards! Big up Harriet!
How do people go about having a Hughes and Friends style picnic?
The best place to start is by having a chat with us. We can tailor our offering from a posy and a picnic for two, all the way through to bountiful banquets and floral installations to match.
Have you and your friends discovered a renewed love of cooking and gardening this year?
Yes we have and we are not sure how we feel about – should we be worried that all we talk about is soil quality and when to defrost the freezer?
Will you still be delivering throughout the autumn/winter?
We have been adapting since we first launched to accommodate lockdown measures and bespoke requests, so we plan to continue with this tack through the colder months. Fingers crossed for it to be safe enough for indoor events and large gatherings soon.
Finally, can you share five tips to have the perfect al fresco lunch with friends?
Pray to the weather gods; find a good location; get a nice big blanket; get Hughes and Friends to do the food and flowers; and pop the bubbles!
Hughes and Friend is based in Norwich. https://www.instagram.com/hughesandfriend/