Meet the women behind The Flowerhouse Pub, Marylebone’s female-led local
When Jo Jackson left her role as Chief Creative Officer at MADE.com, it was far from goodbye to the world of interiors. It was to pursue a passion project and champion a cause close to her heart: female empowerment. A born host, she teamed up with the crew behind Shoreditch’s award-winning Light Bar and drew on expertise from across her career, to create The Flowerhouse Pub, Marylebone’s female-led local. With often unsociable working hours, the hospitality industry employs almost 4 men for every woman. Not The Flowerhouse Pub. With flexible working hours and an inclusive all-female team, the aim is to help women from all backgrounds juggle familial, educational, financial or personal commitments that can create a barrier when entering or reentering the workplace.
An offshoot of this trailblazing endeavour is the recently opened Apartment at The Flowerhouse, a former pub landlord’s digs turned a creative hub for women to get together and collaborate. We caught up with Jo and some of the women that make it possible, to talk all things interiors, favourite tipples, and finding that all-important work-life balance.
What was the inspiration behind The Apartment at Flowerhouse?
“In the same way that I wanted the Flowerhouse Pub to be an inclusive space for women, the goal for The Apartment was to provide a creative space for emerging female talent to host everything from press events and dinner parties, to photo shoots and meetings with investors.”
The interiors are bold and distinctive. What was the design concept?
As far as the design process went, Jo explains, “It all happened quite organically. I just wanted to do something a bit different and create the ultimate Instagramable home—to do some of the things I've never been allowed to do before”, she jokes. But it’s what we all dream of. A space where we can have total artistic freedom to express ourselves. “I had these initial mood boards of how I wanted each space to be—from the furnishings to the paint colours—I wanted each room in The Apartment to be very different,” she explains.
A woman with 20-20 vision of what she wants, she recalls how the “wallpaperer advised us to only wallpaper up to the dado rail and I said—nah-ah. If you’re going to do it, do it properly. If we hadn’t done the ceiling, I definitely don’t think it would have looked as cool”. It’s those design decisions - where she had the option to play it safe but instead took what seemed like a risk - that makes Jo such a creative powerhouse.
How do you want people to feel when they walk into The Apartment?
“I want people to open the door and think where am I going? It’s why we went so bold with that strong graphic wallpaper and bright zesty color on the staircase. I just wanted it to be when you walk into the space you almost get slapped in the face!”. Jo's design choices are as fearless as the women she aims to inspire, and The Apartment could be described as a creative fortress for women. It’s a place that inspires women to be bold and unapologetic. “It’s a real statement,” as Jo puts it. And there’s nothing that we love more than someone having a crystal clear decor idea and running with it.
How would you describe your personal decor style?
“As far as the decor goes I think [the dining] room is probably the most ‘me’ (I imagine most people would be very happy in there!) whilst at home, my style is a lot more pared-back. But now I’m thinking about repainting everything in my house! I wish I’d had the guts to do that when I was decorating a few years ago. I would have done things like paint the living room Blue 111. Although saying that, my kitchen is Black 02.”
And what do the women of The Flowerhouse think about this female-led work environment?
As Assistant Manager Maggie, a hospitality veteran, puts it, “When I met Jo and she explained the mission I thought, where have you been all my life?! We just understand each other. Especially when it comes to thinking about the future and having children. Obviously, when it comes to hospitality the hours can be quite unsociable, but here they understand that there are moments in your life when you might need to spend some time at home and that’s ok. The job is very team-oriented, and having an all-female team makes the atmosphere feel really inclusive and safe.”
Whilst for bartender Queenie, this was her first role in the hospitality sector. “I’d never worked for an all-female team so it’s really unusual. Everyone’s young and cool. It’s a great place to work. I also love the interiors. Everyone always comes into The Flowerhouse and says this is the best-smelling pub ever. The whole atmosphere just feels comfortable and cozy.”