Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in floristry, but not sure what to expect? Then check out our interview with florist, Katie Stone, owner of Featherstone's English Flower Company, in lovely Nether Wallop, Stockbridge, Hampshire.
Tell us about yourself and your journey to where you are today...
It has been a fairly long journey to get here! When I left school creative or ‘manual labour’ jobs were not encouraged, so my first career was in healthcare - first studying to be a doctor, then due to being poorly with mental health difficulties I changed direction and finally got my degree in Speech and Language Therapy. I loved helping my patients, but ultimately, the stress of working in healthcare and the NHS led to my mental health suffering and I made the difficult decision to leave.
Throughout my life, the garden has always been 'my happy place' and I saw my medically enforced break as a chance to pursue a career change. I gained a place at Sparsholt College to study for my RHS Level 2 in Horticulture and have never looked back! I have always loved having cut flowers in the house, but the more I gardened the more I realised that supermarket flowers and traditional bouquets have no resemblance to the beautiful combinations of flowers and foliage I could create in my garden.
I started looking for floristry courses to help me use my flowers in the way that I instinctively felt was right. Initially, I was disappointed as the local colleges seemed to do very traditional flower arranging which just did not sit right with me... I wanted wild, abundant, natural, seasonal floristry... and my search led me to the fabulous Georgia at the Sussex Flower School. I swooned over her Instagram for several years, until my amazing husband surprised me with a 10-week course with her which was one of the best things I have ever done! I originally set up Among the Agapanthus as a side project to my main job as an Assistant Gardener. However, this year I have had the opportunity to go into partnership with a local flower farmer, Jess Roberts and we have just launched our new business Featherstone's English Flower Company.
What motivates you each day?
I love the process of sowing a tiny seed, nurturing the plant and then cutting the flowers at the perfect point for use in my floristry designs. I am so lucky to be able to go to work in a beautiful location, be outside in nature working with the seasons and creating floral designs that bring joy to people. It really is an honour.
What makes your flower business stand out?
We are a sustainable cut flower farm based in Nether Wallop just outside Stockbridge in Hampshire. We grow cut flowers and foliage with the seasons, using no pesticides, peat or artificial heat to grow. We provide bouquets, buckets of blooms for arranging at home, cut flowers for florists, run workshops and use fully sustainable floristry methods for wedding flowers, event flowers and funeral flowers. We will also be opening for Pick Your Own days from Summer 2022.
What is the hardest thing that comes with being a business owner?
Being able to switch off! I still haven't mastered this... my business is my passion, hobby and job all rolled into one.... hopefully when we are able to book a holiday abroad again post COVID a week in the sun might help me to have a complete rest (maybe!!)
Where can people find you online?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share then email firstname.lastname@example.org, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check us out and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.