A Maida Vale florist has launched a weekly subscription service ‘to bring the outside inside’ and give customers something to look forward to during lockdown.

Shaila Shah, owner of Avalon Flowers in Lauderdale Parade, began hand-delivering seasonal flowers in May to her loyal customers using contactless payment and delivery.

The venture began with just five or six customers, but word quickly spread and soon Shaila had dozens of customers.

The mother-of-two told the Wood&Vale: “It’s like you've just handed them treasure.

“I remember going to one lady's house and she burst into tears. When I asked her what was wrong she said: ‘I haven't had anyone come to my door in five weeks.’

Ham & High: Avalon Flowers in Lauderdale ParadeAvalon Flowers in Lauderdale Parade (Image: Avalon Flowers)

“I felt like I was some kind of guardian angel.

“I almost felt like an essential worker, I felt like I was doing something to get people through.

"I wasn't delivering food or medicine, but it felt like I was doing something really important for the wellbeing of all my customers.”

The florist has been in Maida Vale for around 16 years, with regular customers supporting her through the challenges of the pandemic.

Shaila, who was born and raised in the area, said: “They were worrying about us and didn’t want to lose us.

“We wanted to provide a service to all these people who have supported us for all this time.

“We don't make a lot of money out of it, but it keeps us ticking over, and it makes people happy.”

Ham & High: Some of the flowers outside the storeSome of the flowers outside the store (Image: Avalon Flowers)

The florist is already preparing for Valentine’s Day on February 14 and said this year it’s particularly important to mark the occasion.

She added: “I think regardless of what's going on, we need to continue to celebrate these special periods in time and we need to preserve all our traditions.

“I think people forget how necessary flowers are. People think that flowers are a luxury. But actually, I think they’re a necessity, especially for people who are not getting out as much as they need to.”

The subscription costs £25 per week, and can be bought monthly by emailing avalon.flowers@yahoo.com or by calling 020 7266 4049.

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