Case Studies

East Dunbartonshire florist is blossoming

Laura Jardine talks to Business Gateway about what it takes to run her floristry business, Cherry Blossom.

21st May 2019

Can you tell me a bit about cherry blossom?

Cherry Blossom is an award winning florist that specialises in weddings and events. We provide a personalised service to couples across Central Scotland that caters to weddings of all sizes. We use one flower wholesaler in Glasgow and together we work very closely with flower growers in the Netherlands to ensure we only receive the best quality and exactly what our customers are looking for. In 2017, we won our third VOWS Award for Best Florist which was fantastic, especially in our tenth year.

How did you get into the florist industry?

Ten years ago my friend and I decided to set up Cherry Blossom. Wedding flowers have evolved over the years and we felt that a truly bespoke, personalised service would appeal to couples. We never wanted a shop, instead we wanted to work closely with each customer coming up with designs and ideas together. A few years ago I bought my friend’s share of the company and began running the business on my own.

Did you have another job(s) before working as a florist? If so, how big a decision was it to switch?

Before Cherry Blossom I worked in the hotel industry managing hotels but I always had a desire to run my own business. When I became a mother the pull was stronger as it would allow me to be more flexible with my time. It was a hard decision but I’ve never regretted it.

Have you always been interested in this type of work?

I used to work for an interior design service so I’ve always had a creative side and an eye for colour. I have always loved flowers and over the years I became more interested in arranging and pulling together different types of bouquets for the house or as gifts.

What sort of training/qualifications did you need? What was the training like?

I used my interior design background and flower arranging hobby to experiment with different types of flowers. I then researched different varieties and as I grew more confident I realised I had a natural flair for creating lovely displays that people would love.

Can you describe what a typical day is like?

My day varies depending on what weddings or events we have on. Our flowers normally arrive from Holland on a Wednesday so I will drive to the market to collect them at 6am and return back home to take the kids to school. Then my day will be spent cutting and conditioning the flowers before I collect the kids from school and spend a few hours with them before heading out to see brides in the evening. On the day of a wedding we are on the road very early and normally start with delivering flowers to the bride, then to the church and onwards to dress the reception venue. Afterwards we usually return to the church to transfer the flowers after the ceremony to the reception venue.

What's your favourite part of the job?

I love so many aspects of my job but probably the best part is when I deliver the bridal flowers to the bride on the morning of her wedding and see the reaction to the bouquets. It’s always very emotional for both of us and it is a lovely part of the job.

What kind of events do you supply flowers for and can you provide some examples?

One of our favourite events was last year’s BAFTA Scotland awards. Over the years we have decorated venues for awards ceremonies, milestone birthday parties, christenings and silver wedding anniversaries. Alongside weddings and events, we create bouquets for delivery on Mother’s Day every year and we also attend various Christmas fayres around Glasgow taking orders for fresh Christmas wreaths and bouquets.

What help and advice did you receive from business gateway?

I felt that after ten years we needed a bit of a facelift to reflect where the business is at now so I went along to my local Business Gateway office to find out what support was available for an existing business. The help and advice I received was fantastic and I don’t think I would have gone through the rebranding if it wasn’t for Business Gateway’s guidance. My adviser helped me to source funding, recommended courses on social media and gave me advice on how to take the business forward.

After ten years in business, what is the secret to your success?

I don’t know if it’s a secret but I do believe in making sure we’re always up-to-date with new trends and making sure we’re constantly developing. During the recession we had to adapt slightly to help people get more out of their budgets and last year we’ve invested in our website and learned more about social media. Social media has been a great tool for us and will continue to be in the future. Our biggest secret to our success comes from our attention to detail, and outstanding customer service.

What's the best part of having your own business?

Being my own boss is great. It gives me the flexibility to work around family life and I get to meet lots of lovely couples and be part of their very special day.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in this industry?

Be prepared for early mornings, irregular hours, lots of standing in the cold and the joy and satisfaction of contributing to people’s biggest celebrations.

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