31 May, 2012
Business In The Spotlight – Emma Walker Flowers
Posted by: Bev James In: Business In The Spotlight
Jersey-born Emma Walker founded her corporate event and wedding florist business six years ago after training extensively with prominent London florist Jane Packer. The company is based just outside of Oxford but works across the UK.
What makes your business unique?
We offer a full event design service from conception to completion, taking an idea or a style and transforming it into our client’s vision. Whether we are working on a fashion show, a product launch, a grand prix or an intimate wedding, we can help our clients to style their entire event.
With our recent relocation, which has taken us away from the high street, we are able to dedicate more time to our clients. It is very exciting time for us and we are also opening a flower school very soon.
Please tell us about your background
My background was in marketing and event management but I made the decision to train as a florist because I have always been concerned primarily with the look of the event; aesthetics are very important to me. In my current role I have the task of transforming a space or a venue and it’s something I thrive on.
My mother is an interior designer and I think I have inherited the creative gene from her. I also love the anticipation and excitement that precedes an event and the moment when you see the completed product is always special.
What’s been your proudest moment in business so far?
Transforming a hotel for the wedding of my brother and sister-in-law. They gave me free rein as far as the flowers were concerned, with a winter wonderland theme to work with. That moment when we revealed the marquee to them both and to our families is a moment I will remember forever – although I hadn’t planned on inducing tears!
My team and I may have got a little carried away, but if you can’t get carried away as a florist for your brother’s wedding when can you?
And the hardest moment?
Deciding on our recent move. We also have a shop, but I decided to expand the event and wedding side of my business, which meant a change of premises and direction. It was a huge leap of faith but after just two months the difficult decision seems to have paid off, which is incredibly exciting.
Taking the first steps into this business six years ago was, of course, daunting but making such an important decision to move and transform an existing business took a little more deliberation.
Have you adapted your business model to cope with the economic downturn?
Even though we have made a drastic change to the business in recent months, this was done to enable us to expand. We haven’t exactly altered anything to cope with the downturn, instead we’ve recognised that the event and wedding side of the business seemed to be expanding organically, so we’ve moved into this area.
Even though the change was aimed at the event side of the business, it has in turn brought a dramatic increase in our retail sales, which has been an unexpected bonus.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
I look to my parents for inspiration and business advice. The both run successful businesses in very different fields and are both extremely knowledgeable. They are so experienced in such varied aspects of business and I’m very lucky to have them on the end of the phone.
Inspiration for our work can come from unexpected sources. When it comes to a corporate event, a company’s branding or style can enthuse us, but when it comes to a wedding or a party we take direction from our clients. The overall look of an event can grow from the smallest things.
What advice would you give a budding entrepreneur?
I always dreamt of being a florist but I never imagined I would be running my own wedding and event business – that was a pipe dream. So, I would advise people to follow their pipe dreams!
If you feel you have a true passion for something and are lucky enough to have the opportunity to pursue this, when you must explore the possibilities. I did and I have never looked back.