How to start a flower shop business

we’re coming up to Valentines Day so we’ve got the red roses but we love to persuade our customers to buy anything but red roses so a lot of them go for the beautiful vintage roses – quicksand, really beautiful a lovely faded parchment colour one of our best sellers memory lane. a really beautiful rose it’s very long lasting and it opens up really well so we combine a lot of the vintage roses with things like the garden flowers this is Clematis that a lot of people have growing in their garden and I think the style that we try and go for is just very naturalistic we’re all quite keen gardeners so just like the flowers to speak for themselves when we’re arranging bouquets I grew up on a flower nursery. My father’s Dutch and he came to England just after the war. He set up as a grower so where I lived up in Yorkshire the houses were surround with greenhouses so lots of flowers and my parents had the nursery and a garden centre and a flower shop as well. I used to work on the nursery so I had the knowledge of the growing. And then I used to go and watch them in the flower shop and help them out as well. and sweep up and that sort of thing so yes definitely grew up with it as a family business that back knowledge really helped me decide how I wanted the business to run and what sort of shop I wanted. Having had experience of growing up in the flower shop and working as a freelancer in London I went to horticultural college, for three years. There I did the study of the growing and designing side. So it combined the two. In the middle year I came to London and started working in a flower shop and then when I finished my course, I carried on then freelancing At that stage I was working so I’d go along and join a team and we’d go to somewhere like the natural history museum or the portrait gallery and set up parties for the evenings. The shop I opened 8 years ago but the business I started fifteen years ago. so I started off as an events florist so working out of a unit, working for event planners who’d come with an idea for a clients party and we’d just put our heads together and work out how we were going to set a theme for that party. I moved into the retail side in this area about twenty years ago and I could see how the area was coming up really there’s some great flower shops here but I had an idea to just do a different style of flower shop And I just thought if I don’t do it someone else will so I sort of jumped into this site pretty quick, because there is a lovely weekend market here so it’s very busy and it’s really buzzing different days, different jobs. Most days, I’ll start at the flower market which is great I absolutely love it So that’s here in London, in Convent Garden You don’t have to get up too early, people think it’s a really early start but as long as you’re there about 7 o clock so that’s the start of the day then we bring the flowers back and we get on with jobs, whether it’s bouquets or deliveries from the shop or whether it’s events, like this evening we’ve got an event in the city so the girls have prepared flowers for that and we’ll be delivering those later on clearing jobs in the middle of the night after doing large events so it can be a really long day it’s often 12 – 13 hours but it’s great work cause it’s very varied I think it’s really important to get experience working in the florists first. I think as I’ve mentioned it’s very varied the work, you could specialise in one side whether it be in retail or doing flowers for events or wedding or funeral work but I think you need to find out first There are the busy times and we’re coming up to 2 now Valentines Day and Mothers Day Christmas is a very busy time for us especially if you can get into doing christmas decorations, christmas trees, that sort of thing but it’s definitely not recession proof, it’s very hard work on very small margins so that’s going back to about having experience I think it would be very hard to come into the business having just done a course hoping that you would be able to understand how you manage waste and price and margins cause that’s really crucial to keeping the business going during the crash, before that I was doing a lot of events and working at quite a few banks for their corporate dinners and Christmas parties and so on so when that happened they stopped having the parties and stopped having the flowers so luckily at that point I had just opened this shop so it was a great aspect to the flower business however I do know that a lot of event florists didn’t survive the recession because of that my daughter Alice has just joined the business with me, she’s a great florist and a really good business inspiration – some young blood in the business. She’s really taken up the social media she’s uses Twitter and Pinterest and Instagram and keeps it going, that’s proven to be really popular actually Because it’s such a visual thing. People love pictures of flowers We really try to stock seasonal flowers. It’s important for our customers that the flowers reflect the seasons so we try and buy English grown flowers as well. So at this time of year, the tulips the enemies we’ve got these beautiful enemies here daffodils cornish enemies here – one of my favourite really beautiful they’re just such vibrant colours as well as the flowers in the shop we do sell plants we sell vases too, these little mini milk crates really popular, because people love to pick a few stems so they’re proving to be really popular and we’ve started to do flower classes down at the other site so that’s really popular as well.


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