Friday, 1 March 2013

Happy Birthday

to us; well the shop/business at least. :)

It was a whole 7 years ago today that we first opened our doors to all of you.  What a nerve wracking day that was (yes I can remember back that far :) ). Having moved from a very secure job where I was earning good money (back in the days when I drove a new car; had exotic holidays - actually had holiday time off full stop :) and could afford to drink in pubs at weekends, I found myself looking at Clive (who was looking at me) and I know we were both thinking "What have we done?". I'll be honest there are still times when we think that these days, but we knew the minute those doors were open for the first time there, was no going back. Both our lives were about to change forever. 

Some things haven't changed since that day. Clive still works for free (it's a good thing he has a *proper job* as well - not that he would have it any other way because he loves to get out and deliver to all our lovely customers) and I still worry as much today as I did back then that I am doing my customers proud, and am not letting anyone down (which is why just this morning I have turned the kitchen in to a mini sauna room to try and get some daffodils to open for an order we have going out today). The one flower that you can guarantee to get open in an hour in any warm room; 48 hours in the shop (I should have taken them home last night and put them by a radiator but forgot all about them) and they were still as tight as can be when I came in this morning. Thankfully due to my steaming of them, popping them behind the computer (where the warm air is pumped out from) and standing them in warm water, I was finally able to get some open enough; not as much as I would have liked (and had a wholesaler not let me down the day before on some I ordered I may not have struggled as much) but they were showing enough colour to be usable and make their presence known.  As a result of flowers not doing what they should; wholesalers letting me down (that one adds more stress to the already high levels than any other aspect of the business). I have way more grey hairs than a woman my age should have (that's something that has drastically changed and costs me a small fortune in hair colour every 6 weeks).
They're a bit tighter than they need to be :)
On that day way back then we were opening different doors (another thing that has changed). We were in Horndean back then (where we were to stay - and struggle to be totally honest) for 3 years. I think if we had stayed there, then there is every chance we wouldn't be here today celebrating such a big day. But thankfully our move to Fareham was to be the turning point and we've just gone from strength to strength since that day. I find that a small miracle in itself; being tucked away from the main parade of shops like we are, because we don't advertise anywhere, but it seems that "word of mouth" truly is the BEST form of advertising. I do think our website helps as well (but let's not tell Clive I'm indirectly praising him for the great job he does at keeping it running for me - and for how he has laid it out; so many people comment on how user friendly it is which is a great thing in one way but we can't let his head swell too much). 
Will we still be doing this in 7 years from now? I sure hope so. When we took this challenge on (and in these hard economic times each and every day truly is a challenge) it was for good. We didn't start this to be a flash in the pan business that would open up; make loads of money (show me a rich florist and I'll show you someone that has fingers  in other pies) and then close. We started this for me to have a job until I retire (which won't happen as I could never let someone else take over) and for Clive to wonder every day whether he will ever get his original investment back - he may do one but there is always something new and exciting for me to spend that money on that I can use in the shop :)

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