Can you believe it?! It's a year since I took the plunge and decided to start my own business. Yay! And what a year it's been!
In January last year I completed a "Business of Wedding Floristry" course at The UK School of Floristry in Aintree, Liverpool. This gave me the final push I needed to start up. I designed my website myself (with much help from Google!), ordered my packaging and worked with a very talented lady; Graphic Designer, Game Developer and Illustrator, Elizabeth Roberts to create my logo.
Last spring I ventured into growing a few flowers of my own (with varying degrees of success - see previous Sweet Pea post!). I love adding a personal touch to wedding flowers and gift bouquets by incorporating even a few blooms or herbs I've grown myself. I was a bit late planting out my seedlings and ended up with MASSES of flowers at the end of September, you live and learn!
In May I had a gorgeous long weekend in Amsterdam with my bestie, including a visit to the flower fields in Keukenhof, Lisse (which I just about fitted in to my busy schedule of eating all the cheeeeseeee!). The sea of tulips went on foreverrrr.
I'm a big believer in "collaboration over competition"- we all have different skills and all have something different to offer our clients. During the last 12 months I've taken on (quite a few!) freelancing roles, some local some further away. I love going to different florists and helping out for a big event. I've made so many new florist friends who have been super supportive of my own flower-y journey and taught me loads. It's super interesting to see the techniques, tips and tricks other people are using and how they vary place to place. Freelancing has given the opportunity to visit so many different venues (castles, hotels, tipis, marquees and stately homes!) and work alongside loads of talented suppliers - fab for recommending to my lovely couples. I continue to learn something new at every freelance job I have and I LOVE it!
In October I flew over to Hanoi, Vietnam where I took a class in Korean style floral design. I enjoyed three weeks of exploring (Hanoi, Tam Coc, Cat Ba, Lan Ha & Halong Bay, Hai Phong, Phu Quoc and Ho Chi Minh City - Phew!), seeing breath-taking landscapes, taking picture of ALL the flowers, visiting markets and obsessing about how cheap orchids sell for! Oh, and the food! Dreamy!
December saw me redesigning my floral foam free, alternative Christmas tree and compostable Christmas wreaths, displaying them in a local plastic-free shop (Shed 38 at Ivy House in Montgomery, Powys - check them out on Facebook for loads of plastic-free items and packaging-free food), and posting them off around the UK (recycled packaging where possible!). I advise my wreath customers to remove the ribbon prior to composing (as I use a mixture of natural and synthetic ribbons) and return or reuse it. This year, I had enquiries from customers asking specifically for ribbon containing no plastic and non-coated wire so they could have a fully plastic-free Christmas. It's fab to see more people trying to make eco-friendly choices. This really highlighted how our environmental conscience is changing and the care that needs to be taken when ordering. I have always tried to make environmentally friendly choices when ordering packaging and sundries but there are still improvements that can be made - eco friendly ribbon options are one change I'm keen to take on this year.
Anyway, that's a brief overview of my first year in business. For year two I'm trying to concentrate on being BRAVE. I'm *trying* to open myself up to new opportunities, however scary they might seem! As someone who has suffered with anxiety in the past, my default mode is to doubt myself and think "why are they even booking me?" but the answer is simple: because they like what I make. I put my heart into every design I create, if I don't love something I simply can't sell it and will work on it until I think it's perfect for my customer.
Thank you all for your support over the last year; family, friends, fellow florists, freelancers and customers! Whether it's been by simply liking an Instagram post or booking me to create floral designs for your big day, it means so much for a teeny little company like mine to have your support! Here's to the next year of business and blooms! Yay!