Robin Sharmer, a famous writer and inspirational speaker once said, change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous in the end.
My name is Emily Hepworth and I am a 21 year old multiaward winning florist, if you are not one of my regular followers it’s nice to get some background. I am based in the heart of Wiltshire from my purpose built workshop and I provide everything from bouquets and arrangements to weddings and full event venue decoration. I have worked in the industry for over 10 years now with a considerable number of those years spent in the shop environment (I started out my floristry path aged just 10). I started my own business aged just 18 alongside studying for my level three and four floristry qualifications in which I gained two distinctions. This year was the second time I competed at the renowned RHS Chelsea flower show. This year I secured a bronze medal at the show and in the same month was also named ‘Young Business Person of the Year 2016’ in my local chamber of commerce business awards. I am extremely passionate about flowers and this really comes across in my business. So that is my basic background information done to give you clear insight into me and Persephone Violet (my growing business).
Today’s blog is the start of a series of blogs that are looking at focusing on two things. First of all explaining the revolutionary way my flowers are bought, exported and delivered to Persephone Violet before they are arranged for my customers. Secondly to engage and encourage other florists to do what I have recently done by shaking up my flower supplier to be able to offer more variety, at a more attractive cost delivered straight to my door. I find all things flower related interesting, of course I am a florist, this has particularly captured my recent attention.
A number of times in the last 6 months I have said to myself I really need to convert, give someone else a try, the benefits could be endless if I take the time to swap. So many things can cause us to fear change, there are big red warning signs that change isn’t always good for us – why change something if it isn’t broken? For me and my business time commitment was the biggest factor for the lack of change before now. It takes time to change, to be trained on the webshop, to place your first order and to make sure it all goes to plan ensuring everything is the right length, ripeness and condition for the job in hand. What is easy, is not always the best option, it is not always the most cost effective and is most certainly not always the most profitable option.
I have put together a number of honest informative questions and answers, that I hope will encourage more to do the same as me! I also hope that this will be interesting to all my customers and clients to learn a little more about behind the scenes.
From one florist to another the information you really need to know (and everything to get you to change, just like I have but hopefully sooner than Persephone Violet).
What were the main drivers for me to change?
There were so many highlighted positives that arrived into my business inbox on a daily basis – quality flowers at a good price and DELIVERED (what a novelty for me!). I felt the need to force myself into the change that could be making my business more profitable, my time much better spent and my customers getting the best quality from the best suppliers at most importantly the best price! I have had a rather negative outlook on flower suppliers due to a bad experience when I first started out in business. This experience I am sure had also hindered my vision. One bad experience can mean when you find someone reliable why move away from the known?
One email to Florismart started the snowball rolling (Yes FLORISMART, all that text and I have only just told you who I am writing about!) and from then on it has been full steam ahead. Ed, a really helpful guy who when speaking to him I feel like I have know a lifetime has been a real motivator to me during this conversion, a massive support and also someone I know I can call at any time to ask the smallest question about anything. Our first conversation happened a while ago when I first applied for an account at Florismart. I was clearly not in the right mind set as I didn’t follow it through I hadn’t placed an order, I hadn’t taken the time to explore. This was January – we are now in AUGUST!!! Time fly’s in business.
How did I find the training?
Really really informative! You really do need training to be able to buy properly, effectively and to understand the different information provided by the suppliers on this webshop. This takes time and understandably, like most people I have only a slim amount of time spare in my working day. I had a number of questions as I am sure most florists have as well. Each one answered by either Ed or his customer support team (they have only been a phone call or email away in this process). Myself, and Ed spent some time on skype so that I could watch how the webshop is operated without needing to be right next to him and his laptop – technology really was so helpful in this case when we are miles apart. I also had the call scheduled in for a time and date that I knew I could dedicate enough time and wouldn’t be disturbed too much. I made copious notes in order to look back and be able to function the site on my own when I was good and ready. I am so pleased that I did make notes because these were reminders of my conversation with Ed and cues to help me remember the important things.
How was the first order processed through the Florismart website?
So I’ve had training on the webshop, I had a big event coming up that wasn’t flower specific so I try the site out. I made sure I wasn’t going to be interrupted, that I had plenty of time and that I started off with a shopping list of what I thought I would like to use. Ed had suggested to use just one supplier in my first order so that I could familiarise myself with the webshop and not have to use the ‘go compare’ facility, which can complicate a shop especially the first one. As with anything new there was a lot of anxiety to get the quantities, ripeness, stem length and head size right. So like Ed had suggested I started off with EFPG. However it was soon apparent that they didn’t have some items in stock. So I instead, went to ‘go compare’ and on my first order. I found it so easy to work the site and find what I needed. You really don’t have to be hugely tech savvy for this site – it couldn’t really be made any simpler to use. The only issue I found was I couldn’t remove certain items from my basket at the end if I had changed my mind or found an alternative I preferred. The customer support team were more than happy to remove unwanted items after the order was placed. The end checkout was really helpful as it tells you to check that you have spent the correct amount of money overall and within each supplier. The only stipulation by Florismart is that the total spend is £75.00 and you spend a minimum of £15.00 with each supplier. That is one thing that can be tricky when shopping with different suppliers – you might only need a box of pins and these don’t amount to £15.00.
So lets recap on todays blog:
- Florismart are quickly becoming the go to flower supplier within the UK.
- I wish I had taken the time to covert sooner
- Your flowers are delivered straight to your door, conveniently packaged.
- They have a wonderful customer service department for any arising issues
- I cannot find anywhere that can beat them on price
- By shopping around on the site I can provide good quality flowers at an affordable cost for my customers
- Minimum spend of only £75.00 and £15.00 on each supplier
- Full training is given
- It will only take a few hours to get comfortable on the site
- I already feel comfortable using them and have only been using Florismart for three weeks!!!
The main point I want to stress is that this site it run by florists for florists everyone can tell their Dahlias from their Daffodils which in this industry is very important. Florismart – really is a smart choice.
But we aren’t done – there is so much more to tell you! To be continued ……