Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in floristry but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Owen, owner of Goldfinch Floral Studio, located in Wells, Somerset, UK.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey to where you are today.
Prior to becoming a florist, I worked in the world of shoes, product managing women's and men's ranges for some of the biggest footwear brands. My last role had me working overseas in Denmark, however after the birth of my son in 2018 and the breakdown of my marriage a few months later, I left my job and Denmark. I found myself living in the spare room of my parent's house back in the UK. It was from here that I started to piece my life back together. I knew that despite all of the heartache and devastation that I was going through that this was also a real opportunity for me to do something completely new and start fresh. My previous role would not be compatible with single parenting a baby as it involved long hours, travel, and being full-time.
So I started researching; I knew I wanted to get back to being creative (I have a BA in Textile Design) but to also utilise the skills that I had learnt over the years in my career, and through all of the college course scrolling, and internet browsing - Floristry kept coming up. The more I looked into it, the more boxes it seemed to tick - creative, customer-facing, I could work from home, utilise my skills in trend research, brief making, and costings, and most importantly, I could work for myself. I had found a floristry school in Bath called 'The Tallulah Rose Flower School' (now based in Cumbria) that was offering a 4-week 'Career Change' course that seemed to tick a lot of boxes, but man, it was a BIG investment for something I was not 100% sure was right.
I knew NOTHING about flowers after all! While mulling this all over, I was invited to join my mum's church group to make Christmas wreaths for the church. I went to the workshop, and by the end of the two hours there, I knew that this was what I needed to be doing. I signed up for the open day at Tallulah Rose in January, went along and nodded & grinned (like a crazy lady) my way through the talk that their founder Rachel gave, went home, and booked myself on the last place on their February course. That was in 2019, and as they say, the rest is history. I finished the 4-week course and set up Goldfinch straight away in March. It's strange looking back, but to me, there seemed to be no other option than to set up my own business, so I did.
What motivates you to do what you do each day?
The idea of going back into a corporate office environment! I love working for myself and by myself (apart from when my assistant or a freelancer is in). The thought of having to go back into an office environment sends shivers down my spine - never say never, as there are benefits to this also (like a regular paycheque). However, it is not where I wish to be right now.
Describe your floristry business to us? What makes you stand out? Who are your customers?
My flowers and business target couples who are after something a bit 'quirky' and different. We can do simple and elegant, however where I think I shine is combining and finding unusual blooms and colours. Our tagline is 'Out of the ordinary flowers for out of the ordinary folk.'
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Surviving & thriving in lockdown! Lockdown in 2020 hit at a time that I should have been entering my first wedding season (A year that I saw as my 'learning year'), AND as I had not been self-employed for long enough, I had no covid support help from the Government. This meant I couldn't just 'stop.' So I diversified - once it was deemed 'safe' I started offering bouquet deliveries, making up posies from British locally grown flowers, and delivering them with notes to loved ones; I began making items out of dried flowers & selling on Etsy - wreaths on shaped frames, Christmas baubles, dried bouquets, etc. As a result, I was able to build my customer base in the area as I had the time to concentrate on local outreach.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The hours. I have never worked so hard as I have this summer. I work Tuesday to Friday, often also on Saturday (wedding day), also sometimes Sunday morning if I have a clear down from the day before. My evenings, once my son is in bed, are spent doing phone consultations, putting quotes together, invoicing, etc. It. Never. Stops
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Establish your branding and be true to it
- Find a mentor or do it with someone else - I have neither of these things as of the present. However, there are times where I really wish I could ask someone for guidance or support or to have someone else to take on some of the workload (especially the social media side)
- Schedule time off - either a fixed day where you say 'No work' or clear dates in your calendar.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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