danielle gubbay | roses only

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we talk to Danielle Gubbay who runs Roses Only. Dubbed ‘the Tiffany of flowers’ Roses Only is a luxury brand whose roots lie in Australia, but now they’re bringing their long-stemmed roses to London, New York and Singapore. Here’s Danielle’s story…

Where do you live in London and what do you like about the area?

I live in Notting Hill and have done so for 4.5 years. What I love about the area is that it is gorgeous and green, and has a real sense of community. I adore Westbourne Grove with all of its cafés and boutiques, you bump into friends and neighbours and there is a lovely harmony. The hustle and bustle of Portobello is just around the corner and the fresh air and green spaces of Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park is only a 10-minute walk. The streets of Notting Hill are unique with their pastel-painted houses and their communal gardens which are tucked away behind wrought iron fences and hedges.

Roses Only started in Australia, what prompted the company to expand in the UK and how is the UK set-up different?

Roses Only is a fantastic Australian brand, the founder of the business James Stevens approached me in July 2015 about getting the business set up here. He had launched in Singapore some years before and the business there was doing remarkably well. James wanted to make the brand a global one and since launching London, we have also opened offices in NYC, LA And Hong Kong. The set up is slightly different as we don’t have the initial level of infrastructure, in that we rely on local couriers rather than having our own Roses Only vans.

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What’s your office like? Working with roses every day must mean it’s covered in them?

I work out of our workroom, where we prep all of the roses and beautiful boxes to send out to our customers. The workroom is covered with beautiful long-stemmed roses and definitely has to be one of the nicer smelling places to work, with the beautiful fragrances of the roses wafting through the air. On the downside, its also frightfully cold as we need to keep the roses in pristine condition, in winter especially we are all rugged up like Michelin men in ski parkas and beanies. We are based at the New Covent Garden Flower Market, so it’s a proper bustling market, with lots of wonderful characters and people that have been involved in the flower industry for 50+ years. Our workroom is normally one of the louder and more livelier places, my florists Cass and Lauren have an eclectic taste in music!

When I’m not at the workroom I’m at my WeWork office down in Paddington, it’s a short 10 minute stroll down from my house. I really enjoy working out of there, not just the convenience from my house, but its also nice to be able to have access to a proper workspace – which is warm and comfortable – a huge contrast to my workroom. Everyone is super friendly and the staff are always helpful. However, my favourite thing about being at WeWork and a key driver was that they are dog friendly, which means Winston my 5-month-old cockapoo puppy comes with me, and he treats it just like we were at home and insists on lying on his back in the middle of the kitchen so that anyone who passes him has to stop and give him tummy tickles.

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Valentine’s Day is a big time for you, do you have any stories of people going all out to impress a special someone?

We have had some customers do some very grand gestures, including elaborate proposals. We have a 3-foot rose bear (George) that someone purchased as well as the customer that bought his girlfriend 500 1-metre long roses. We help a lot of men with their marriage proposals – each one is exciting and special and everything must be absolutely perfect. One of our chivalrous customers ordered 8 rose gift boxes, each one was a different colour and had a different gift card message with reasons why he loved her and sharing a memory. Specifically, he wanted particular times for delivery, such as 11.29, which was the first time he saw her face waiting in line at the local coffee shop and then had to go up and say hello. So our driver had specific instructions as to exact times (to the minute) that each gift box had to be delivered; starting from 9am through to when she finished work at 5pm. The final gift was a beautiful red 100 rose bouquet that we had prepared and our customer delivered them to her and asked if she would marry him. Of course, she said yes and they got married last year and she is due to have their first baby in June.

Describe your perfect day in London.

My perfect day in London is starting at 5.30 in the morning and being able to go to the Household Cavalry Barracks at Knightsbridge (I’ve been a volunteer civilian rider there for 2.5 years now), they have hundreds of beautiful horses that you would have seen in the various state visits and royal occasions such as weddings and Trooping the Colour, the horses need their morning exercise and a I’m fortunate enough to be one of the civilian volunteers that gets to do so. I would then take my favourite horse (a beautiful grey trumpet horse) out for his morning exercise around Hyde Park; the sun rising over the Serpentine is just magical, the park is quiet and still and you can just start to hear the initial murmurs of the city starting to wake. After riding, I love to take my dog for a run in Kensington Gardens and then I generally meet friends for lunch at the Ladbroke Arms, the food is amazing, they have a great wine list and its dog friendly. Later in the evening, I would then probably head out to somewhere in Chelsea to meet friends for a drink or two.