LORNA BROOKS – FULLERS FLOWERS, PRINCES RISBOROUGH
A fifth generation florist based in Buckinghamshire, Lorna’s great great grandmother sold flowers in markets. When she’s not making up sensational, seasonal arrangments, she can often be seen delivering flowers in their vintage van called Wendy! They also have their own Secret Garden nursery.
My great great grandmother was called Geranium and she sold flowers around Covent Garden in London from 1899. And my grandmother was called Begonia! All I can remember is that she smelt of carnations – she was always making buttonholes. The smell takes me right back.
I fell into doing floristry because that’s what we did. I can’t imagine having a change of career, I love my job. If I won the lottery, I’d still do my job, even if I won £10 million! My dad passed away three years ago and he wrote a manual for my daughter who’s waiting in the wings to take over the business. We have a page of it blown up and framed on our work room wall, he’s always with us. My daughter is called Alice Rose and she loves flowers as much as I do.
We grow a lot of our own flowers in our own nursery. Sweet peas, dahlia and cosmos, the things that don’t travel very well. It’s very popular with our customers who like the idea of locally grown.
Joining the GFG gives us a quality mark that customers can recognise.
KEELEY FAYIK – MANSION HOUSE FLOWERS, HOLLAND-ON-SEA
Recognising her creative nature, Keeley’s dad suggested she try floristry when she was just 12. A stint as a Saturday girl and four years of training led her into the business. She now runs her own shop in Essex and delights in delivering gorgeous flowers and customer satisfaction.
The satisfaction on the customer side is my favourite part of the job. When we do something good. We do a lot of funerals and when they come in they’re really upset but once they’ve done it, they feel better. No disrespect to some of the other florists but some of them aren’t qualified and I feel sorry for the customer because some of the arrangements look dreadful and it really upsets me. Making people happy is great, I love weddings too. I thrive on customer satisfaction.
It was always my dream to get into the Good Florist Guide, all I ever wanted to do and I cried when I did! Being a member of GFG really helps. When I got it in the local paper I got so much feedback, people coming up and saying ‘you’re the ones in the paper!’. They think I’ve won an award which I have in a way. I want to stand out from the rest and being in the GFG really helps with that.
My bank of flowers in the shop is important and I’m a bit OCD about how it looks! The customer needs to be able to see what you’ve got and for it to look great. If it’s all messy it won’t attract anyone. And I do a lovely big front display outside. My Saturday girl has been pushing me to do Instagram to attract the younger generation. I’ve got a lot more followers now, bless her.
JILLIAN PAGE – SOMETHING SPECIAL FLOWERS, BLAIRGOWRIE
Chelsea Gold Medal winning florist Jillian started in the business at the age of 14 as a ‘wee Saturday girl’. Thirty six years later she’s running a thriving shop in her home town and loves every minute of her job. If a customer goes away smiling, she knows she’s succeeded.
Floristry just came so naturally it was almost like I didn’t have to think too much about a lot of it. The creative part of the brain was the only bit that was working for me so it all fell into place perfectly. It’s all I’ve ever done, it’s like breathing. I can’t imagine not doing it, it’s always been part of me.
The best part of the job is when somebody comes back and they’ve got a smile on their face. You have to make the customer happy. You’re sending an emotion, you have to be personable and approachable and passionate about what you’re doing. That’s hugely important and that’s what we built the business on, customer service and the experience we have. The hard graft and the aches and pains are all worth it when you see somebody smiling.
Being part of the GFG is brilliant. We were delighted to be accepted. Love the stickers and we’re very proud that we’re part of a wider network of florists of the same standard. The general public need to see things like that, they love the fact that you have the accolade and they take ownership of that, they’re proud of it. It’s made a big difference to our clients and to us. As a team, it’s a great thing to be proud of. We love the online community too and the support is there.