Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in floristry, but not sure what to expect? Then check out our interview with florist, Gemma Akrigg, owner of Rock and Wreath, in Haworth, West Yorkshire.
Tell us about yourself and your journey to where you are today...
I was senior technical engineer on the railway for 15 years and felt like it was time to do something more creative, I felt slightly stifled and was working ridiculous hours. All this coincided with getting married and absolutely loving the process of working alongside my florist, I found a new love of (obsession with!!) flowers.
I completed the Tallulah Rose Flower School, 2 week career change course in July 2020, smack bang in the middle of a global pandemic and literally haven't looked back since! Rachel at Tallulah Rose taught me everything from the mechanics of creating sustainable arrangements, to the bones of starting a business from scratch.
What motivates you each day?
My love of flowers and being a part of so many people's special day! Having a blank space of a gorgeous venue and totally transforming it with flowers is pretty magical! Seeing my business thriving and getting busier and busier is really motivating and although I was out of play due to Covid for so long, I was really able to build my brand, my website and relationships with other wedding industry suppliers.
What makes your flower business stand out?
My floristry style is very wild and natural and I try to be sustainable and use British blooms as much as possible. My gorgeous couples seem to be very cool, chilled out and love a style that's quite edgy and modern, definitely no domes of tightly packed roses or diamanties here!
To what would you attribute your entrepreneurial success?
I think being 100% true to my style and not trying to copy everyone else to fit in, my brides come to me specifically for this natural style so when I get enquiries from couples that ask for very neat wedding florals, I can politely decline and suggest another florist. This may seem counterintuitive, turning work away when starting a business but I think its key to successful business being true to yourself and your style.
What's been your biggest accomplishment to date as a business owner?
Every time I complete a wedding or hand over a bridal bouquet I have a real sense of achievement. Also knowing I started this business from scratch only last year and having 30+ weddings booked in for next year already and bookings coming in for 2023 makes me feel so proud of what I have accomplished in such a short space of time, it makes all the blood, sweat and tears worth it!!
What is the hardest thing that comes with being a business owner?
I think the fact that you are always accountable, you don't really finish a days work and switch off, I'm always thinking about the next wedding, planning and of course the endless paperwork!! Trying to juggle being a business owner with family life can be pretty tough too, but as long as you find a balance it can be really great being your own boss!
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.
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