Why I love selling locally
Victoria Uff of The Meadow Patch explores the value of selling her flowers to the local community, and how central this has been to her business in her first year of trading.
Local. What does that word mean to you? A quick check of the dictionary tells us that the definition is:
“relating or restricted to a particular area or one’s neighbourhood”.
For me, the word that jumps out here is “neighbourhood”, and the fact that, wherever we are, our understanding of geographical space is shaped by the people we share it with. My love for gardening and horticulture is what inspires me to grow flowers, but it is my love for my community that inspires how I choose to sell them.
In this, my first year of growing, I’ve made so many connections with new people – creating and delivering orders, taking consultations for wedding couples, attending a monthly market and meeting other small business owners like myself. Each customer base has its own advantages, and enables me to form relationships that are of value personally as well as professionally. What unites them all is a joyful and often emotional reaction to flowers – the memories they evoke for us, the love with which they are given and the gratitude with which they are received.
For most of us, the necessity of community has been highlighted over the past 18 months. As much as society champions the individual, we all need the opportunity to be part of something bigger than ourselves. My flowers have taken me right into the heart of people’s lives, and involved me in very private as well as public events. This, in turn, has lifted me on difficult days, and brought me a sense of privilege and purpose; it has led to wonderful opportunities, referrals, and offers of help and advice.
I have been amazed at the generosity and support I’ve received since opening back in April. Social media is of course hugely important to any small business, but word of mouth from one person to another is just as powerful. The old adage “it’s not what you know, but who you know” may not be entirely spot on in this business (it definitely is “what you know”!), but I firmly believe that meeting as many people in your local area as you can is not just good for your business, but good for you as well. Getting out into the community through markets, open days, fairs and fetes, giving talks and workshops, providing education and opportunities to work together and share our spaces – all this can only bring enormous benefits. We must be brave in sharing ourselves as well as what we do and the flowers we grow.
In the end, the connections we make through selling our flowers locally amount to so much more than just business. Beautiful flowers may be the product we sell, but it is us, the people behind the flowers, that our communities will relate to, and it is our communities that will hold us up when we need it the most. And this is why I love to sell locally.