Ah, flowers. We are so lucky here in the Netherlands to have so many wonderful flower shops, so many fantastic markets. We'd even go so far as to say we're spoiled. A stalwart floral friend, one we go back to time & time again, Pompon is truly leading the charge when it comes to innovative florals. We had a chat with the woman behind it all, Merel Krouwels, to find out everything about one of our favourite shops. Keep reading to find out more!
gloobles: Hi Merel! Thanks so much for sitting down with us. Can you tell us about your earliest memories with flowers?
Merel: My earliest memories go back to my grandparents, when I walked through a field of sunflowers three times as tall as me.
gloobles: Magical! How did you end up in floral design? Was it fated from the beginning?
Merel: Ever since I was young, I spent time in nature observing flowers & plants. As soon as I was allowed to work, I helped in flower stalls. One day I found out that the owner of a beautiful shop on the Prinsengracht was looking for a successor for his shop. That’s how I ended up with my Pompon shop. It has been my only career.
gloobles: Ah, so it was fate. Walk us through Pompon's origin story.
Merel: For more than 30 years Pompon, Amsterdam’s devoted florists, have created bespoke arrangements out of a small atelier in the Jordaan. Hilde’s approach had earned her little shop the admiration of many clients. She started with one flower shop; now there are three in a row - a complete concept with flowers, plants & artificial flowers & plants. The silk flowers are used to create timeless arrangements so realistic they’re constantly being mistaken for fresh blooms.
gloobles: It's so rare that silk flowers are done well, but yours are really special. What's your favourite flower? What do you like to combine it with?
Merel: My favourite flower is the tulip; there are so many styles & beautiful colours. Seeing tulips bloom is a fascinating process. Erwin Olaf made a video of it, and it’s amazing to see! I like to combine them with blossom branches.
gloobles: Plus tulips are very Dutch, so it would almost feel wrong choosing another flower. How would you describe your floral style?
Merel: Hilde believes in giving space & prominence to each bloom in the bouquets she creates, allowing the natural beauty of each flower to shine through, imperfections & all.
gloobles: It sounds like a lovely, organic approach. Can you walk us through a typical day at Pompon?
Merel: A typical day starts very early, around 6 o’clock, at the flower auction place in Aalsmeer. With a van packed with beautiful flowers in the most gorgeous colours, we drive back to our shop at Prinsengracht 8-10. We spend the whole day making flower arrangements for people stopping by, ordering online or calling in by phone. We supply “De Bijenkorf” with flowers twice a week and also deliver to many offices in the centre of Amsterdam. At the end of the day, we have sold almost all of the flowers. Then it’s time to go home…
gloobles: A seriously busy day! What's the one place you'd love to do flowers for that you don't already?
Merel: We would love to do flowers for the “Eregalerij” at the Rijksmuseum, amongst the 17th century paintings.
gloobles: Oh, yes. That would be wonderful. What's the flower world like in the Netherlands?
Merel: There is an amazing supply of fresh flowers in Holland, so we believe you can't find so many nice flower shops anywhere else in the world. We have the huge auction place in Aalsmeer, which is a small world on its own! Also the flower fields in North & South Holland are impressive; you can buy fresh flowers just cut by the growers.
gloobles: We couldn't imagine living anywhere else when it comes to flowers. Other than Pompon, which florists do you admire?
Merel: We admire IVY flower shop amd his gentle way of working. We also like Tage Andersen in Copenhagen for his fairytale work & shop.
gloobles: Tage Andersen is amazing! Other than flowers, what inspires you?
Merel: Art & architecture inspire me.
gloobles: In the midst of a long day of floral design, you get a hankering for coffee. Where do you go to satisfy the craving?
Merel: Libertine Petit Café at the Noordermarkt, just around the corner. It's a friendly small café with very good coffee & a nice menu, with a beautiful view of the Noordermarkt. The Noordermarkt is a large square in the Jordaan with an organic food market on Saturday & a flea market on Monday morning.
gloobles: Such a cosy spot. What about for lunch? Where do you like to go?
Merel: Although we know it is not healthy, we eat while working - because it’s so busy all the time.
gloobles: We can't blame you! Ok, last one. If you weren't a florist, what would you do?
Merel: I would be a designer, probably of nice pots & vases…