Deluxe Blooms is 1 year old! How? Just HOW has it been a whole year already? It really seems to have flown by.
But, actually, when I took a step back, I suddenly realised how far I've come these past 12 months and 'this time last year' seems like a life time ago. I've grown not only a business, but grown personally as well. Being my own boss has made me appreciate my free time more, the wonders of family time and date nights. Starting DB has allowed me to be there for every school run, every sick day and school performance. It's given me the control back in my life and my day to day routine, in a way that working for someone else just couldn't give me.
My little girl Lauren. She now 7, but how cute is she here? :)
But back to business, what have I really learned so far? The biggest lesson and advice I can share is that you WILL make mistakes. Small ones, big ones, lots of ones! Some cost you money and others cost you time. But it's all OK. I honestly believe mistakes are the best way to move forward and learn. No... really! Mistakes mean you're not afraid to try new things, explore new possibilities. It's a sort of crazy fearlessness that's grown within me this year. The whole, 'you'll never know unless you try' suddenly and totally makes perfect sense.
So where was I this time last year? I was just a mum, with a small dream, hovering over the publish button on my Facebook page, hoping to get a few page likes. When I finally got the courage to press the button and after checking every 3 seconds for notifications, the fear and unnecessary worries I'd flooded my mind with just fell away. The response from friends and family was quite literally overwhelming. So much so that I spent about an hour throwing up uncontrollably and having, what I now know, was a panic attack! Bloody stress, just likes to let you know how powerful it can be sometimes! Cheers for that stress. Next time I'll just take a normal dose of appetite loss please.
After starting DB with just six faux arrangements, I've grown the company so that it now sells over 44 different products and is also, since January, an official wedding florist with over a dozen brides so far this year. I've had so many highs, too many to mention, but a recent interview with the BBC about being a mumtrepeneur was up there with the highest of highs this year.
My son, Luca, affectionately known as Pooki, loves pretending to work like mummy!
For anyone wanting to start a business, here's my top tips;
* Don't waste money on advertising with national magazines. It's very expensive and you'll very rarely make your money back. If you want to advertise, do it locally. It's cheaper and the response is much higher.
* Social media. Enough said really. It's free, it's easy to use and everyone's on it. Use it. Daily!
* Always, and I mean ALWAYS be yourself. People buy into YOU as well as your products. So make that joke and wear that ridiculously bright orange top! Be who you are and your tribe will come. Trust me. ( Not that I have any mad clothes, but I do have a somewhat crazy jewellery collection. )
* Invest in some professional photography. Images are everything. We're living in such a visual world so it's pretty much essential. Plus it really helps to have a clear brand when you have a store of great images.
* Be prepared to work all hours of the day. First thing in the morning, last thing at night. But guess what, it doesn't even matter. When you work for yourself you WANT to work all hours god sends. If your passionate and you care about what you're doing, then it never really feels like work. How cool is that!?
The hubby, Joe. My world and best friend.
I'd like to end this blog with the biggest and most heart felt thank you, to the best person I know, my husband Joe. Without you, Deluxe Blooms just wouldn't exist. You're always there to rub my shoulders after a long, tough week and never miss the opportunity for a celebratory high 5 when things are going well. Heck, we've even danced in the kitchen after a successful day. And there's no else I'd rather boogie with.
Thanks for everything baby.