Floral Expression was born out of founder Alison’s dream to leave her 9 – 5 office job and become a florist. Now, over a decade later, Floral Expression is cherished by our local community as a go-to florist for all occasions!
Over the past year, Floral Expression has provided joy and comfort for so many people during difficult times. So, we caught up with Alison to learn how this time has been for her and her business…
The past year or so has been a roller coaster for the business. When the first lockdown came we were in the throes of Mother’s day and the anxiety was whether we would get through the day before we were locked down. We had thousands of pounds worth of flowers in our cellar and there was nothing we could do but pray the day would go ahead.
The evening of 23rd March came and we were told to lock down, fortunately that meant we had got through the busiest day on our calendar. The next day I felt confused, sad and fearful for my business. It was the most surreal moment of my life and along with so many other businesses I felt in limbo. I cried so many tears before I picked myself up and hunted for paint, as that was scarce, and went back into the shop, cleared it all and decorated!
After a couple of weeks of not knowing what was the right thing to do, I cautiously decided to operate the business on my own behind closed doors. I offered a delivery service in the local area to cheer people up with flowers. I soon found people were contacting me from all over the globe wanting to send flowers to loved ones they could not reach. The support locally was immense and our website has gone from strength to strength. Through our regular social media posts the local community could engage with us and community spirit was high.
I also worked with other florists within Leeds and we really gelled together in this period – there was a real feeling of community and spirit as we helped each other where we could.
It was very difficult to get flowers at one point and very sad to see at the very beginning the flower growers burning their stock as it just became worthless. Some of these growers have sadly gone out of business as trade completely dried up, almost overnight.
Since then we have operated to Government guidelines, slowly re introducing a click and collect service and now finally been able to open our doors again. Who would have known this would have lasted so long.
I think, in hindsight, I am one of the fortunate businesses who have survived this through diversity and filling the need of human kindness to be close to their loved ones. My team and I have worked very hard, without them there would be no Floral Expression, we have survived another Valentine’s day and Mother’s day, and although it was very different for us we did it. The help of our local business owners as well was overwhelming. We all looked after each other not only by checking on each other’s shops whilst they were closed but emotionally as well. We were, after all, all going through the same emotions. It saddens me that some local businesses haven’t survived.
This is the first time I have actually sat down and reflected on the last year and whilst I write this I am feeling very emotional, but I have survived and I will continue to grow my business, my passion for flowers is still very strong. The flower growers are finally getting back on their feet and growing beautiful flowers once more and the variety is slowly returning. The local community have shown us great support as we opened our doors and happy faces flooded back into the shop.
Looking for that perfect way to say I Love You, Get Well Soon, Congratulations, Happy Birthday or want a beautiful addition to your home? Check out Floral Expression here. You won’t regret it!