Mad Lilies is more than any one person. It’s a business with soul and a personality all its own.
We are an independently owned brick and mortar store that started life as a flower shop and there has in fact been a flower shop at No.84 High Street for over 30 years.
However our passion for curating the most stylish lifestyle products has now lead to the creation of Mad Lilies At Home …. an inspired collection of carefully selected artisan gifts and homeware, which we believe are perfect for when you’ve got to find that last-minute gift that looks oh-so-thoughtful, or when you’re looking for that special something to dress your home this season.
Our regular customers will be relieved to know that flowers still remain our No.1 Love and continue to be the beating heart of the store on a daily basis.
Located at the heart of bustling Banstead village, this wonderful space filled with colour and life, and an individual style and aesthetic has been lovingly renovated and rebranded by its current custodian, Alison Howe and her exceptionally talented team, into a destination of inspiration for those who want something more than just ‘off the shelf’ flowers, gifts and homeware.
As I write this i can't believe this week we celebrate 10 years since I took over as custodian of Mad Lilies. Time seems to have flown by and so much has happened, It feels like this fabulous store and I have been intertwined forever.
Flowers are a big part of my heritage – my late mum and grandmother owned a floristry business in Belfast together when I was growing up – but my career followed a different path in sales and marketing for pharmaceuticals. It wasn't until my mum passed away and I found myself reminiscing with friends and family back home, remembering her creativity and natural way with flowers, that I started to wonder whether I too had the floristry gene. When I returned to England, this seed of an idea sprouted into something that just wouldn’t leave me alone! I decided to enrol on a floristry career course with Jane Packer, and five minutes in, I knew that my life had changed forever! It was like a lightbulb had been switched on inside my head – I had to forge a career in flowers.
Finding The One
After much research and discussion (and gin), I made the decision that changing careers and starting a new business from scratch at 44 years of age would not be easy and I would be better finding an established business to buy, which I could then take in the direction I wanted. Months of searching followed, but there was always something not quite right about the businesses I viewed. The premises were in the wrong place, or at the wrong price, or, most common of all, they just didn’t feel right.
And then I got a call. A business called Mad Lilies had come up for sale in Banstead. Well, I had no idea where that was but I knew I had to see it, my grandmother’s name was Lily, it had to be a sign… and from the first moment I walked through the door, I knew it was ‘the one’! It sounds cliché to say ‘and the rest is history’, but that’s truly how it feels.
Mad Lilies worked its way under my skin and into my heart, and with the gracious support of previous owner, Lee, I learned the ropes over a seriously intense four-month handover, and took the keys in February 2013. The last ten years have been the busiest but happiest of my life. It’s been a crazy ride, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mad Lilies has a backbone of steel, and this comes from my truly exceptional team. Every single person who has donned the Mad Lilies uniform has possessed both a sparkling talent and a serious amount of dedication. So, a massive debt of thanks is due to the current team: Katy, Aneta, Lara, Nichola, Donna, Mabel, Kerry and Garry, as well as all those who came before and all who will follow – none of this would be possible without them!
My husband Darren also deserves a pretty big shout out. He has been nothing but supportive during this floral rollercoaster. His practical advice, creative vision, patience and provision of gin in large quantities means more than I can put into words!
Other than petals, tendrils and stems, my loves include old-school rom coms, and telly shouting during Six Nations Rugby matches. I bake when I’m stressed, and have an infinite capacity for chocolate buttons. I’m a fierce & loyal friend, a nature lover and a bit of an adrenaline junkie especially when it comes to sailing.
I’ve fallen in love with the Surrey countryside surrounding the renovated pub that Darren and I now call home, and you’ll often find me out foraging for foliage, berries and flowers in the fields and hedgerows nearby. Often accompanied by Duffy, our superstar dog, loving companion and valued member of the Mad Lilies customer relations team, who very sadly passed away at the end of last year! Her younger brother Dougal (pictured with me) - very cute and equally naughty four legged addition to the team - is currently learning the ropes through his junior apprenticeship!
So if you’re looking for fresh, natural flowers that celebrate the seasons, why not get in touch, or pop in to see me at Mad Lilies. I’ll put the kettle on.
Love, Alison x