With a name like Mon Amie you can guess that this brand is set up by two lovely friends, Julie and Louise. We met this bubbly, friendly pair at a trade show earlier this year and fell for their enthusiasm right away, not to mention their kindred spirits. To help you get to know them better, we've quizzed this pair of high school friends on a whole host of topics including holidaying in Bordeaux, flexing work around family and what flowers to adorn your house with this season.
Aubeterre Blue is named after a beautiful village in France where both sets of founding partners got married. We’re curious, does the name Mon Amie have french connections for you too?
Absolutely! Julie is a Francophile and has a holiday home down in Cap Ferret – just south of Bordeaux on the coast and it was while holidaying together there one summer with our children that the two of us came up with the idea of a floristry/lifestyle business - it took us just a couple more days of body boarding, sunbathing and cheese eating to come up with the name!
We met at high school and have basically been friends ever since so the idea of having friendship as part of our name seemed natural.
We understand you both have a love of floristry what was the turning point that inspired you both to start creating aprons for Mon Amie?
It was really quite near the beginning of our business that we saw an apron design that we loved and that we thought would be a stylish uniform for our floristry work. Never ones to pass up an opportunity to buy lovely things, we bought ourselves some aprons – but we weren’t happy with the design. We’re quite different shapes and sizes ourselves and so we cobbled together our own design that solved all the problems we had – namely in having enough fabric around the width and wide enough arm holes to get it on and off easily. We also needed big pockets for our floristry equipment. We basically never took our aprons off – wearing them on the school run, to the supermarket, to walk the dog and everything in between – and people kept stopping us to ask us where we got them… the rest is history!
Your bouquets and floristry looks amazing alongside your aprons, but what’s your favourite part of your working week?
We both love our office days – our weeks are never 9-5 Monday to Friday – but we always have one office day each week when we get together and go through all the things we’ve not already ticked off via texts and emails to each other.
The slight difference is that we don’t actually have an office – Julie’s kitchen table is usually where we meet – and we are not actually very good at sitting still at it. Our days are spent interspersed with trips in and out of our ramshackled flower work room if we’re discussing flowers and weddings, or throwing fabric samples around the room to look at colours and new ideas for aprons and other products. What makes these days special though, is our friendship and our innate understanding of what each other is thinking. We laugh out loud when we realise that we’ve ticked off fifty things on our list whilst never actually sticking to one subject at a time. Our spontaneous and slightly bonkers approach wouldn’t work for everyone, but we love it, and it’s what makes working together so enjoyable.
We love your business philosophy and raison d'être can you share it for us?
We’ve probably answered that question already – we simply believe in friendship and having fun. When we create beautiful floral designs or new items for our lifestyle range, we want to share them with our friends both old and new. We always say that our friends became our customers and our customers became our friends. We don’t have a grand plan for our business that’s about numbers and growth (although Julie does have a penchant for a spreadsheet), we know we’ll simply go where it takes us – and as long as we are enjoying the journey and we give some pleasure to our friends along the way, we’re happy. That sounds very carefree we know, but it’s truthfully what makes our business work.
Foxy Fridays are precious for Aubeterre Blue and friends, it’s the celebration of the arrival of the weekend, enjoying drinks and nibbles out or at home. What’s your fail proof, favourite nibbles dish to serve to friends on such an occasion?
This one is definitely for Lou – with Greek and Irish heritage it's all about sharing good food and drink with friends and family! Starting out with Halloumi with freshly squeezed lemon and capers. Lots of one-dish cooking with a Mediterranean vibe - chicken, chorizo, peppers & olives baked and served with a large bowl of green beans with almonds. Then comes Monday morning and the detox starts again with matcha tea and another one of Julie's detox plans!!
Your floristry work must take you to some stunning locations… what’s the standout favourite location you’ve ever worked at?
Lou used to be the in-house florist at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire and they have the most amazing cut flower walled garden. We absolutely love working there – it’s not overtly grand and gaudy but it has an understated charm and a certain shabby chic vibe that makes it a relaxed, yet glamorous wedding venue. We love creating giant urn displays for the great hall as they lend themselves to our slightly less formal style. We know we can go a bit off piste at Kelmarsh Hall with the addition of some wilder blooms that just lend themselves to the environment. Some good friends are getting married there this summer and we can’t wait to create the flowers for them.
Can we tap into your floristry knowledge.. what blooms should we be putting in our homes and what colours should we be looking out for?
This season for us is all about the foliage – different shades of greens that make a stunning backdrop for a few focal flowers. Focal flowers don’t have to be bright and garish – we’ll be going for softer shades of pinks, whites and creams. For spring, we are loving pale pink ranunculus in shorter arrangements, mixed with white anemones with purpley black centres. Hyacinths have long been dismissed as old lady plants but we love them as cut flowers mixed with eucalyptus – a combination that smells divine. Moving into summer, we’ll be using some amazing English grown roses that simply cannot be beaten for their soft petally texture, scent and sheer beauty. Again our colour palette will be soft and gorgeous.
Once we get past August, Hydrangeas are always back in the mix for us. They can be temperamental – and as the name suggests, they do need lots of water, but the sturdier green and mucky pink varieties later in the season last for weeks and can then be dried out for decorating your home at Christmas. We use loads of them in our Door Décor Christmas wreath making workshops.
What exciting things can we look forward to from Mon Amie?
We’ve got a couple of new apron designs coming out soon and we’re looking at some fabulous new fabrics and embellishments too… we have a couple of new products up our sleeve that still require some development – watch this space…
Lastly we love a Foxy Friday here at Aubeterre Blue, think drinks, nibbles and friends, what’s your favourite serving piece that comes out every time you entertain?
For Julie it’s a simple matt black oval serving dish that she acquired when she moved into her very old house that required huge renovation. It’s nothing fancy but it looks really old and has a very soft tactile feel to it. It’s just the right size for vegetables and the matt black colour lets the greens, purples and oranges of vegetables look even more delicious.
For Lou it's a large round Silver Moroccan serving plate - purchased from a salvage store. It hangs on the wall as a decorative addition to the kitchen when not being used for entertaining.
Love what you've seen so far, check out the full Mon Amie apron range here>>