Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in floristry, but not sure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with florist Olivia Wilson founder at Livvy's, based in Hertfordshire, England.
Tell us about yourself and your journey to where you are today...
I can remember being asked at the age of 16 and in year 11 of secondary school: “So, Olivia, what’s the plan? What career will you choose to have? What will you do?” It was as though after having finished secondary school we should know what we wanted to be, as if we had been given all to tools to at least have a good idea…and some did, some knew exactly what path they wanted to choose or explore, whereas I had absolutely no idea! I worked in various jobs after leaving school, nothing that I was particularly interested in or passionate about, but it helped me to pay for things like my phone bill, driving lessons etc..
At the age of 24 I made the decision to travel to Australia, where I ended up living and working for four years. This experience was what shaped me, it provided me with the tools to grow and evolve alongside this ever-changing world we live in. It taught me some of my greatest lessons in life. I developed a career as a Personal Assistant and have been lucky enough to have worked in London, Europe, Australia, The Middle East, and America.
Through working closely with Entrepreneurs and CEO’s I became aware that I wanted to also one day have my very own empire. I saw the hard work, dedication, discipline, passion, sacrifices made, and I had front row seats to see how it all came together. My Dad and best friend unfortunately became very unwell in late 2018 and I became his full-time carer.
Although this was by far my hardest challenge yet due to reasons such as seeing someone you love become so poorly, it was a great honour and privilege to have been the one to care for him. After all he gave me everything! I sadly lost my Dad last year at the start of lockdown and it took me some time to process and adjust to life as I knew it having now changed forever. In truth I am still taking each day as it comes and learning how to adapt.
About 10 months after losing my Dad I knew I wanted to make him proud. I have this push to show him that because of how he raised me, I have the inner strength to keep going. He may not be here in person to help me along, but for 34 years he gave me everything I would ever need and more. Suddenly that fearful leap to start up my own business and go it alone wasn’t so frightening! The worst had already happened.
If I’m to have my own business, then I need to start somewhere! So earlier this year I decided to invest in something I always had a passion for, Floristry. I found I loved every second of it and I was actually quite good at it! I have been working and continue to develop my skills as a Florist ever since.
I had been proud of myself before for helping to reach deadlines, for being the go-to dependable personal assistant etc, but this is something entirely different! This is my own achievement and I know I will only get out of it what I put in! So, when things go well it’s a rush of so many different emotions, it’s a complete high!
A beautiful touch to all of this is that my Dad had his own successful business. He was his own boss and he built his very own empire from scratch! If I can be half as brilliant as he was, well that’s certainly something to smile about. Wherever this journey may lead me…I’m loving every second of being able to bring to life something I love to do and all it has to teach me along the way.
What motivates you each day?
What motivates me is the bigger picture! The dream of one day having a successful business and how that business could grow and develop. The knowledge that I need to put in 110% everyday to keep moving forwards. Being able to live a life whereby I love what I do! And of course, my beautiful Father. Those are the things that keep me motivated.
What makes your flower business stand out?
I would consider myself a perfectionist! If I'm up until 3am creating the perfect flower arrangement then so be it, I'm happy to do so. I know the value of being able to do what I love, which means I strive to make sure each and every customer of mine is wow'd!
Behind every order of flowers is a reason, a reason that means a great deal to that person, therefore it means a great deal to me, and I like that to come across in my work. Just as no two people are the same, no two orders are either. My customers and their orders are from all walks of life and their tastes are unique and individual to them. I get to bring their visions to life.
To what would you attribute your entrepreneurial success?
I believe having a true passion for floristry and being passionate about the work I produce has lead to the overall success of Livvy's. Engaging with my audience and getting to know what people want and expect from both customer experience and the final product. Putting in the study time, the graft, practice, practice, practice!
Making sure i'm keeping up to date with the latest trends alongside standing strong with the more traditional aspects of floristry and flower arranging. Everywhere I go and everything I see, I'm now thinking how can I turn that into something my customers will Love! I am constantly thinking of ways to be able to offer more.
What's been your biggest accomplishment to date as a business owner?
I would have to say making Livvy's a functioning business and a known brand have been my biggest accomplishments so far.
What is the hardest thing that comes with being a business owner?
For me the hardest thing about being a business owner is that it all comes down to you! There's no PR or Marketing team to help you to get your name out there. No allocated monthly budget to promote the business. You aren't riding on the back of an existing well known company, you're starting from scratch! No one knows who you are, what you do, or if you do it well. It's all on you to hopefully be seen and heard as a reputable brand.
What are your top 3 tips that you'd give to anyone looking to launch, run and grow a business today?
1) Make sure it's something you're passionate about, something you have a genuine interest in.
2) Make sure you have enough extensive knowledge in your field. Is there a course you can take to help improve on this?
3) Do your research! Research your customers, research your competitors, research the industry, research what's involved when starting up your own business.
Where can people find you online?
I can be found on both Instagram and Facebook, just search for @livvysflowers I can also be reached via email: email@example.com
My website is currently under construction!
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.
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