It’s here. GLOSSYBOX Presents Women In Business! You wanted to read more about women just like you; who dreamed big, reached for the skies and set up their own businesses! So that’s what we’ve made happen…
Kick starting this exciting project is someone with heaps of creative talent, a seriously good eye for detail and so much knowledge and experience of blooms that, if we only had a smidgen of, we’d be able to keep our houseplants alive more than only a couple of weeks!
Jenna Spavin founded her business Florist Rookie in September 2020. Over the past eight months, Jenna has taken what was originally a small passion project in her flat and turned it into a business that sees her create gorgeous bouquets of dried blooms for flower lovers all across the UK. We visited her studio in Manchester, which is home to a whole host of stunning flowers that smell amazing as soon as you walk in, to talk to her about Florist Rookie.
From her initial love of flowers to her plans for her business going forward, this is what she had to say…
So Jenna, why floristry? When did your interest in flowers begin?
I’ve always loved flowers, but I’d say Florist Rookie was inspired by my Grandma. She was an amazing gardener and always had the most beautiful flowers. I wanted to work for myself and do something more creative, and Florist Rookie gave me the opportunity to do something that was also more connected to nature. I feel like flowers make a house a home, and with this business, it was a chance to take something that I personally love and enjoy, and also turn it into something that other people would want to get experience and share too.
Is there a reason you’ve chosen dried flowers over fresh?
Dried flowers were an easier gateway into starting out with my floristry business. They didn’t need as much space to store or as much maintenance to look after. I could more easily play and create and, as they have a longer shelf life, they would last until I’d built the business up a little and they had sold later down the line. Now that I have a dedicated studio space, I will be launching a fresh flower collection from this summer, which I’m super excited about!
You really know your stuff. How have you learnt everything you needed to become a florist?
I started by emailing and visiting loads of florists that I was inspired by when I was living in Australia, asking for free work experience. I asked to go along for a day and do anything they wanted me to, to learn more. You only get that sort of experience by actually being there, absorbing it all, speaking to people who have been doing it for years.
When I moved back to the UK, I kept the email and Florist Rookie Instagram account I’d created going, and continued to learn as much as I could. I’ve booked into individual florists’ workshops later this year – florists who really inspire me and who have skills I would love to learn. There’s nothing I’m closed minded to learning though. Every florist can teach me something new and different.
You’ve clearly wanted to do this for a long while. Was there a lot of pre-planning to building your business or did it all fall together naturally?
I had a lot of pre-existing skills, knowledge and experience which all helped shape the business. All of which also help me day to day; making decisions, coming up with creative ideas. But a lot of stuff was trial and error. I knew I might not get everything right the first time and I knew that was absolutely fine – it takes time to see what works and what doesn’t.
What are the most important elements of your business to you? Do you have an aim or ethos that drives the decisions you make?
One of my main aims with Florist Rookie is to become a fully sustainable business, and ensure I am eco conscious in my choices. This includes where I’m sourcing my flowers from – making sure they’re seasonal and British grown, as well as natural, undyed and unbleached. I also want to make sure I’m always eco-friendly with my packaging, for example, using plant based dyes for my ribbons. These are really important to me, and I don’t want to lose this as the business grows.
Being a part of the local community is also big for me. Working with and alongside people in Manchester, from stockists to hosting and taking part in workshops and events.
So, what does a typical week at Florist Rookie HQ involve?
Making products, deliveries, visiting the post office, updating social media, updating my website, accounts, finance… there’s so much to do and it’s super varied. A typical week starts on a Monday, making up any orders that have come in over the weekend, then on Tuesday I’ll either take these to the post office or go out and deliver them by hand around Manchester. Wednesday is more of an admin day and then Thursday it’s back to making and Friday, again deliveries!
Occasionally I also work with businesses to create bespoke installations, and can’t wait to work on more custom projects like these in the coming months!
As the making is a creative process, I don’t want to rush creating bouquets. So, I’ll flex the days I’m making around my moods if needs be. For me, mornings are when I’m most motivated and creative. Afternoons and evenings are more for admin with a cup of tea! It’s just you though, so everything is always changing. You have to put your energy into where it’s required at that moment.
Running your own business must be such fun, but how easy do you find motivating yourself when you’re your own boss?
If you enjoy what you’re doing, feel like it’s something you’re passionate about, and it’s making a difference, that’s motivation enough for me. Connecting with people on similar journeys, other small business owners, also helps me to feel less alone when things are tough. Checking in with someone else when I’m feeling a little flat helps me to get my spark back.
Loving what you do every day must really help! What gets you most excited about getting up and to work each morning?
Definitely the stuff that I’m working on that’s new – if I’m bringing a fresh pair of eyes to an idea or adding my own perspective to something. It’s the new and exciting that really motivates me for the long term stuff too. Day to day, getting orders and knowing others are supporting my business is, of course, amazing too.
Let’s continue with the good… What’s been the most rewarding part of running your own business?
The most rewarding thing for me is the pride that I feel everyday. My business is my creation, all my energy, my output. The self achievement you feel is different to what I’ve got from any other job I’ve worked in the past.
I also love seeing the end product in people’s homes and hearing back from customers saying how much they love their flowers! People being your cheerleaders and saying they love what you’re doing and telling you to keep going is so lovely!
Do you have any really memorable Florist Rookie high points? Anything that’s really stood out during your journey so far?
Seeing the business outgrow my home and have the need for a studio was a high point. As was being interviewed as an industry expert by The Telegraph – having people reach out to you and being respected and credible in the industry feels incredible. Working with other people, learning about the place I live, and getting involved in all the creative stuff going on, all the events, also makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger.
Have there been any difficult moments or any not so fun tasks you’ve had to deal with or overcome?
With your own business, you sometimes have to do things you don’t like doing. Yes I could outsource some tasks to others, but that’s of course an additional cost. So I’ve trained myself to do things – admin, finance tasks etc – that I had no idea how to do before I started Florist Rookie. And that’s actually been great. It’s made me feel much more confident going into new challenges. Made me feel capable of so much more, I just need to learn the skills.
Taking the plunge and creating Florist Rookie seems to have really paid off for you! What advice would you give to anyone else wanting to start their own business?
Pursue what excites you! If you’re excited by it, you’ll give it your all. If you need to do some experimenting to find what that is, that’s fine. You won’t know exactly what it is until you try. The idea you initially start with might not work – work with others and experiment until you find the right thing for you.
More From GLOSSYBOX Presents Women In Business
Loved finding out more about Jenna and Florist Rookie? We have so many more women in business lined up over the coming weeks! Keep an eye on the GLOSSYBOX blog and our social channels for more…
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