Article in Princes’ Trust Mentor Quarterly Update

My Big Career Change: Administrator to Florist & Business Owner

I suppose you could say it all began when I was 17 and I was asked by a relative the obligatory question: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?!’ Growing up itself seemed an ominous prospect let alone the idea of an actual career. My love of English literature and reading lead me to answer ‘perhaps a writer…’ shortly followed by ‘…or a florist?’ To which most people would laugh light heartedly. It may have started light heartedly but it has developed over the years from a suggestion, to a dream, to my reality. I now own and run, my very own Creative Online Florist.

I finished my degree in English Literature with a feeling of excitement and apprehension; I was going to enter the world of work with the advantage of a solid education and bag loads of ambition to go with it. However, around the time of the recession we all know it wasn’t as easy as that. I was lucky to land a job but it was at this time when I began to take a look back at my real dreams – and floristry was one of them. After making the decision that floristry was a creative and colourful industry I was eager to explore, I searched for a training programme that would suit me. I signed up for the prestigious private tuition of Judith Blacklock. I felt ready to step into the world of self employment. And so that’s exactly what I did.

The Princes’ Trust Business Programme was where I turned next. I was given endless support with marketing, accounts, branding and general business advice. The support was priceless and boosted my confidence incredibly. Equipped with my confidence and business plan I finally felt able as a florist and as a business woman. I went to a dragon’s den style panel and secured myself some investment with the Trust to help me with start up costs. This has enabled me to set up a website, carry out some marketing, set up a workshop and allow me to buy all the initial materials needed for such a business. The mentoring began a few weeks after this and has been the key factor in keeping me motivated through the more difficult times. I soon realised that self employment can be an intimidating and isolating prospect; my mentor has not only given me business knowledge, but the most valuable gift any new business owner needs: encouragement. Through the mentoring I have gained confidence and realised my potential. I have also been able to talk about my weaknesses and how these can be addressed – it’s so vital to be able to recognise that you cannot be perfect, but that this is ok!

I have since had a feature in a local cultural magazine and have numerous wedding and events bookings as well as selling gift bouquets weekly. A few of my clients have defined me as their ‘personal florist’ and are constantly enhancing my reputation through word of mouth. The orders and bookings are now snowballing and I could not have done it without the support provided by my friends, family and The Princes’ Trust.