MORGAN-DOUGLAS NUTH – OLD OAK FLORISTS

Presiding over two beautiful florist shops, one in Ascot and the other in Ealing, Morgan-Douglas is a force to be reckoned with in the world of flowers. A master at social media, he knows just how to showcase his lovely creations and is the first to volunteer his help to fellow GFG members.

 

I followed my mum into the industry. We both worked for the same company for many years and that’s the company I ended up buying. I learned almost everything I know from her. She tried to tell me how hard it was and how I was never going to earn any money. But if you love it, it’s just in your blood, and you can’t not do it really.

Marketing is massively important now. Gone are the days when you were trying to get to the top of the Yellow Pages by callling yourself AA florists! It’s all social media now and you have to learn how to do it well. I find that my customers who are over 35 have seen us on Facebook and the under 35’s find us on Instagram.

I initially joined the GFG because I know Caroline and I know if anyone is going to be passionate about something it’s her. I know that anything she does, she always puts her heart and soul into it. It quickly transpired for me that people understood the GFG, they recognised it and they liked the terminology.

Everyone knows the Good Pub Guide don’t they? And the Good Restaurant Guide. They all know that terminology so the GFG seemed to sit with people really easily, they grasped exactly what it is, it is what it says on the tin. When that first poster went up on my door I got a lot of recognition, people acknowledging it, which is very rare!

NICOLA DOWNIE, NICOLA DOWNIE FLORISTS

 

Welsh florist Nicola is passionate about community involvement and keeping her shop looking beautiful. An inability to afford a landscape gardening course led her into floristry, a forced decision she’s never regretted! You can find her opposite beautiful Caerphilly Castle.

I started out working in a care home with people with learning disabilities. It was very rewarding but very stressful. When I ended up doing a part time floristry course, I absolutely fell in love with it. I’ve had my shop here now for nearly five years.

I try as hard as I can to do everything I can to keep customers walking through the door. My classes for children have been really successful. We went from 15 in the first class in the shop to having to hire the local community centre for two nights in a row! I also work with a carers’ group every week. It’s a chance for them to get away from their responsibilities for a couple of hours and enjoy flowers.

It doesn’t matter how good a florist you are or how good the shop looks, if people don’t know you as the person that you are, in and for the community, then you’re not engaging people. Community is very important to me.

When I applied for the GFG I was extremely nervous about it and I didn’t think I would get accepted. When I got the phone call, I was over the moon. That was quite profound in my business because it made me feel that I’d worked really hard and that I’d been given a gold star to say that I was good enough. I’m very proud to be a GFG member.

 

 

LESLEY NASH – JENNIFLEURS

Veteran florist Lesley is now in her 33rd year in the business and still going strong. A specialist in funeral work, Colchester-based Lesley uses her big and bubbly personality to connect with all of her customers and has kept her business thriving through talent, determination and a keen business sense.

I love the GFG because it’s the only directory of florists that has any accreditation of florists whatsoever. For me, that’s really important because a lot of places have no filter system. You know they are proper florists not order gatherers or unscrupulous traders. I think every florist should get themselves up to scratch and get themselves on the Good Florist Guide!

How closely and intimately we deal with our clients is a surprise to lots of people. Whether that’s for a wedding where they tell you the ins and outs of every last detail or whether you’ve got a family that’s just lost a child or a baby and you’ve got to be empathetic. For me that’s what floristry is about. You can go and buy a bunch of flowers from Tesco but there’s no emotive gesture if you take those to somebody. What we offer, above and beyond, is they’re able to make that gesture by having them delivered.

It’s no good filling your shop full of things you love, you have to fill your shop full of things that are commercially viable for your clientele. You have to get what works for your customers. If you do everything to your own taste that doesn’t always work. We’re on a housing estate where 80 per cent of our customers are over 50 and we have a Tesco next door! You have to know your customers.