Business is blossoming for a busy florist which now numbers Strictly champ Stacey Dooley among its customers.
Blooming Gorgeous opened in Rhuddlan less than two years ago but already they’ve had to move to bigger premises in Prestatyn to cope with demand.
It’s been a labour of love for partners Ed Furber and Pete Fletcher who have built the business together and made the switch to larger premises on the High Street in Prestatyn where they live.
The pair had a shock last month when Stacey Dooley’s PA contacted them to order flowers for the journalist and broadcaster’s mum who lives in Prestatyn.
Ed said: “We’re both massive Strictly fans so it was a real thrill and Stacey’s mum was lovely and charming too.
“She actually follows us on Facebook so getting that order was certainly a highlight – it made my Friday.”
Blooming Gorgeous is the kind of unique shop Denbighshire County Council’s #LoveLiveLocal campaign promotes as part of the diverse and vibrant shopping experience available on the county’s high streets.
The project is centred on the busy run-up to Christmas and as part of the #LoveLiveLocal campaign shoppers can support local independent businesses by using the hashtag on Twitter and Facebook to share good experiences they’ve had as well as promote products and services locally they have ‘loved’.
This is the second Christmas in business for Ed and Pete whose own backgrounds are very different – Ed is a country boy from near Mostyn while Pete is from Manchester and spent 22 years in the Army, serving in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
They bring different talents to the business as well with Ed, who initially trained as a chef but who also gained valuable experience in a florist in Rhyl, providing the creative spark while Pete handles the practicalities of orders and deliveries.
Ed’s first real attempt at floristry came when he did the flowers for his sister Vicky’s wedding: “She wasn’t going to have any but I decided she ought to and bought some and did them on the train on the way to the service,” he said.
“It grew from that but my real love is exotics, tropical flowers, and creating displays from them and my favourite flower is the Bird of Paradise.”
At first Ed and Pete operated the business from a garage but with a loan of £1,000 from Pete’s dad – now repaid – they set up in Rhuddlan and one of their first contracts was to provide bouquets for Lyons Holiday Parks, based in Rhyl.
Pete said: “We just cold-called and they had just come out of a meeting discussing what they could do for their customers and they asked us to provide bouquets for the people who had bought mobile homes.”
They buy their flowers from UK-based companies and from wholesale flower markets which can mean turning up at half past three in the morning in Preston or Manchester to make sure they get the freshest stock possible.
The business blossomed in Rhuddlan but they soon outgrew their small high street shop there and made the move to Prestatyn and Ed said: “It was purely down to the size of the shop but the move has really helped us to grow.
“These new premises are much bigger and the shop gets more light which is good for the flowers and it means we can display them better and there is good parking available in the town which also helps.
“At the time it seemed like a gamble and it was scary but it has really paid off and other businesses have been very supportive while the Town Council are brilliant and Denbighshire County Council are also very proactive.
“It’s a busy high street which is thriving with lots of independent shops and actually the retail park has helped as well because it attracts people to the town and it is easy for them to also walk into the town and see the excellent offer it has.”
Christmas is a key time of the year for florists – along with Mothering Sunday and Valentine’s Day and Ed’s been busy with Christmas displays while they have also successfully added Christmas trees to their offer.
Pete said: “We do like to be different from most florists and certainly from the supermarkets and we’ve found that people around here love their tropicals.
“The supermarkets are the biggest competition but that doesn’t bother us because they don’t do what we do and their flowers aren’t the quality of ours and don’t last as well.”
They get deliveries of flowers at least three days a week but that will increase now as Christmas approaches and Ed said: “It just gets crazy in the last week.
“People think you shut the door at 5pm but it’s not like that at all. Pete runs our website which has been very successful and we can be up at three to get to the wholesalers.”
The highlight of their career so far has been winning the Best Retail Florist in Wales at the Welsh Independent Retail Awards earlier this year just ahead of the move to Prestatyn.
They do hope to expand further and have just taken on their first staff member but eventually they see themselves opening further shops in North Wales and Pete said: “We do have places in mind but we have to make sure it’s right for the business and sustainable for us.
“Everything we’ve done we’ve done blind because we’d never been in business before but I always said when I left the army that I’d want to be my own boss in future.”
Ed added: “We want to be seen as modern, friendly and individual and to be very customer-focused. They have to come first and if they ring us up and ask for a delivery that’s what we’ll do.
“The most important thing for us is to have belief in what we do and in what we’re selling – you mustn’t give up at the first hurdle.”
They have been inspired not by international business stars but by the people around them and Ed said: “It’s all the people we’ve met locally who have encouraged us.
“People like Linna and Martin from Good Signs and Print in Rhuddlan and Rebecca Morgan in Prestatyn who have us good advice and inspired us.”
As part of the Christmas #LoveLiveLocal campaign, Denbighshire County Council have posted a video to highlight what the county has to offer and the campaign will encourage people to support local independent businesses by using the hashtag on Twitter and Facebook to share good experiences they’ve had as well as promote products and services locally they have ‘loved’.