What started out as a normal evening in the local pub for 2 friends, turned into a merrily drunken evening in said pub, and led to Moonstones Ltd (Fareham Florist) being created. Neither friend has ever looked back since.
Sarah already had 19 years experience as a florist under her belt when the decision was made and the fact that her boss at the time was selling her business to untrained florists made her leaving her job all the easier to do.
Once the idea and rough plans had been laid down, the company set up and registered, the next thing on the list was to find premises. This proved to be not as easy as we thought it would be. With both of us living in Fareham around the Highlands Road area, we settled on the local shopping precinct. As it was a shop had just become available and 3 more new builds were about to be, so it seemed like the ideal location. However when Sarah contacted the agents she found to her dismay that one of the shops had just had the lease signed and was to be a floral design shop. The difference between floral designers and florists is not that great, but neither of us had the heart to then take on one of the new builds and trample on the feet of the new floral shop owners, and so we were forced to look further afield. Numerous premises were earmarked before the decision was made to move into an old bathroom/tile shop in Horndean village. Had we known when we signed the lease that the layers of tiles we could see that needed removing, had another 3 or 4 layers of tiles underneath, we probably would have changed our minds. However thanks to numerous cups of tea, and enough biscuits to keep McVitie in business for a decade (other biscuits are available) a team of friends and family transformed a grotty run down place into a light, bright and airy florist shop in just 3 weeks.
Sadly although business was (pardon the pun) blooming, the village itself was sinking into decline and the closure of the main Gales brewery only added to the destruction that was going on all around and after 3 successful years trading we were faced with a tough decision, that was that a move to new premises was now a must. And so the search began again.
That is how we came to be where Sarah always wanted to be. By chance one evening Sarah made a visit to the chippie in Fareham Park Road and noticed that the premises next door were empty. This had been a sweet shop when Sarah was at school and she used to pass it every day. Often she would tell people that one day she would own the shop (she didn't know then that she was going to be a florist) and so when she saw it was available she got on a mission to talk Clive into moving there. He wasn't keen at first, partly because there is another shop over the road (the one that opened up when we first wanted to) and partly because he wasn't sure the area would be right, but after some intervention from friends and family he agreed to take a look. As it is we both live within a 5 minute walk of the shop (in different directions) and so it is perfectly positioned for us. Once we had viewed the premises we knew that it was perfect and within 6 weeks the lease was signed, the work benches built and we were trading from our new position up the road from home. We've been here 5 years now and things have never been so good. Business is going from strength to strength and thankfully we have never looked back. Clive and his Dad also moved their computer business into the offices at the back of the shop and it appears the move has been good for them also as their business is also moving in a forward direction.
Why do you do it?
A question I get asked often and one that I ask myself at some point every day. Why? I can tell you why we don't do it. We don't do it for the money; we don't do it for the hours (which at times can be, or at least feel, longer than a week itself); we don't do it to for the glory. Yes, the hours are long, the pay is not wonderful. In the winter months I am constantly wet and cold, wishing I had some form of heating. In the summer months I am constantly battling to get the temperature low enough so the flowers don't suffer (and the staff too). So why do we do it?
I can't answer for every florist out there as I know everybody’s reason is different. Some do it for glory; some do it in the hope of fame; some do it because their families did and they're following in their footsteps. However we do it for the customers. For the beautiful handmade card that was popped through the letterbox last night thanking us for some sympathy tributes we made. That feeling you get when you know you've helped a family with the very last thing they can ever buy a loved one. We do it for the bride that has emailed this morning (while on her honeymoon) to say thank you for the flowers we made for her big day. We do it for the elderly lady that has just been in to buy a few flowers for her friend’s birthday because she knows how her friends love to receive flowers and because ours last so well she's happy to spend her well earned pension on a small bouquet. To us it's not about money, fame or glory. It's about the people within our community (and those that email/order online from afar). It's about providing them with great quality at good prices. It's about the smile you receive when you deliver to someone and they open the door to see you stood there with a bouquet for them. To know that we've been part of someone’s special day, or helped them through a tough time, that's why we do it. And that's what it's about for us. Each and every single person that makes the effort to visit us, picks up the phone or order online.