What is your background?
I have worked in the travel industry and retail. I had a garden themed gift shop and a home floristry business years ago. I couldn’t get either of them to work financially and have spent the last 6 years in admin.
Can you tell us about the spark that inspired you to become a flower farmer?
I was not enjoying my job and was stressed and anxious. I had previously trained as a florist and had a floristry business using imported flowers for 18 months. I have always adored flowers and my garden is my happy place. I saw The Flower Patch magazine in Tesco, which I bought and devoured. I had a lightbulb moment that flower farming was the way to go.
How and when did you get started as a flower farmer?
Spring 2018. I am able to grow at home so started sowing seeds, bought in some plug plants and joined Flowers from the Farm. I bought a couple of great books on flower farming, got a greenhouse and created some raised beds.
Describe your business - do you consider yourself to be a flower grower, a florist or both?
Flower grower - I want to grow and sell beautiful cut flowers. I can do floristry but I am not so keen to go down that route. I want to keep my business small and simple and don’t want the pressure that weddings and events bring.
Where are you based? Tell us about the size and location of your flower farm
Needham Market in Suffolk. I am growing from home on approx ¼ acre.
How do you sell your flowers (online, markets, farm gate etc) and to whom do you sell (public, florists, hotels etc)?
Last year I just sold to friends, as I didn’t have enough flowers to advertise. This year I have an agreement to supply a local farm shop, a local event florist wants to buy from me and I will be starting a local flower delivery round. I will still do ad-hoc orders for customers and will hold regular gate sales too hopefully.
What’s been the highlight of your flower-farming career so far?
It’s still very early days for me but I love my ‘office’, working with beautiful flowers and the flexibility of setting my own hours.
Do you offer workshops?
What are your hopes and visions for the future of your business?
I want to keep it manageable and get to a stage where I have enough flowers to sell so I can make a profit. I would like to sell direct to the public and also to the event florist and farm shop – I just need my flowers to start flowering first! I will possibly do workshops at a later date but I don’t want to do them yet.
What aspects of being a FFTF member do you most value?
The support and advice has been invaluable to me so far. As I said before, I have had two businesses in the past but haven’t managed to make a success of them. I have been on my own in the past and just trying to figure things out by myself. Having a support network will hopefully make the difference in being able to get this one to work for me.
You can find out more about Blooms from the Barn at: www.bloomsfromthebarn.co.uk