Jake Nicholson-Lailey is our Bank Holiday Weekend Florismart Florist. As it’s one of the busiest wedding weekends in the calendar, here’s Jake letting us in on some wedding secrets, and why Florismart’s helping him buy his first house:
“I started dabbling in flowers at the tender age of fifteen. I was on our local church’s flower rota. I came to floristry in earnest after tumultuous illness. I studied business and management which gave me good business skills, and after battling my illness I studied my level three and four in floristry at Wiltshire College. I have had Abundiflora for eight years now. I have a thriving shop in the colourful town of Glastonbury.
“We are an all service florist, so we provide gift bouquets, funeral designs, event flowers and, of course, weddings. We have good links with local wedding venues, but I find social media is an excellent tool when it comes to marketing my business. It’s free, which is ideal for small businesses with miniscule or no marketing budget. I often boost posts on Facebook to encourage more trade at peak times. I usually run a competition prior to the peak periods. We ensure our shop front and window are enticing. We are just in the process of sending out mail shots for those that opt-in through our website.
“For wedding appointments, we invite couples to visit us in our shop. We don’t always close the store or book appointments after shop hours. They are happy for customers to be served whilst we chat at the desk. I will make home or site visits when necessary, but I have so much wedding paraphernalia it’s better for my muscles to see them at the shop!
“I send an initial PDF quotation, and the couple are then asked to sign our terms and conditions, and pay the £50 booking fee. We do not refer to it as a deposit, as this can imply it is refundable. The quotation is valid for fourteen days. We only provide one initial quotation, if the couple want amendments, but are generally happy with the direction the order is heading in, they are requested to pay the £50, and then I am happy to re-quote as many times as necessary. I am not willing to produce four or five quotes without a gesture from the couple that they are going to book.
“One great trick I have is a mirror for checking placements and balance when creating bridal work. I have one suspended at an angle from the wall, so I can look down on the design easily from a distance. I adore my catering boxes for delivery of buttonholes. It looks really professional and keeps them protected. My lily debacles have provided me with a theory; I believe when flowers are starved naturally of water (they drink every drop) for a day, they bloom faster. My hypothesis is, their whole reason-d’être is to be pollinated, and if they believe they are at death’s door, they open quickly to ensure pollination takes place. This has worked in the past for lilies, whether it be for weddings or funerals. Can I copyright this method?!
“I create very little on-site; it is often too time sensitive and stressful. I use cupcake boxes for transporting corsages and buttonholes, they are protected and cannot roll off bridal bouquet boxes. I try to keep water to a minimum when in transit. I once had to perform an emergency stop, which was promptly followed by a tidal wave into the driver’s cab! It was a little squelchy for a few weeks!
“I found Florismart through a phone call from Ed, back in the early days. I had used another supplier for years and was reluctant to move across, fear of the unknown I suppose. My supplier stopped serving my rural area shortly after speaking with Ed, and I felt it was a good time to sample Florismart’s impressive platform.
“Florismart is brilliant. The product choices in fresh and sundries is world class, with options for every buying eventuality; different weights, lengths and qualities to suit each job. Being able to compare the same Rose, for example, from the same grower, in the same quality, length and number per unit, across the board of exporters, allows me to make savvy choices at unbelievable prices. The Pre-order allows me to plan ahead for weddings and events, locking in a price on which I know I can make a healthy profit.
“The savings I have made have allowed me to purchase a new van and save more towards a life-changing goal; buying our first house.
“I can complete a standard shop order in fifteen minutes using the Pre order, and I know the quality is guaranteed. The Comprehensive Grading Sheet is my right hand man when purchasing from the live shop-although much of the information is locked in my brain now!
“Apart from the ‘shopping mall’ of exporters, it’s the education that sets Florismart apart. Having a private Facebook forum allows for open discussion on real business and wholesale buying.
“What my business has benefitted enormously from is the plant selection. No other supplier I have previously used could come close to the dynamic and exciting range available through Florismart. Previously I had played it safe with the usual begonias and cyclamen (snore!) but now…well! Tell me what you want and I’ll get it! Ceropegia, Cacti, you name it, we’ve got it! I sell more plants than flowers some days!
“Having florists and experts, like Merel, Lesley and Katie on board creates an unrivalled strength. Merel was invaluable to a few events we provided flowers for this year. No other supplier could match these skills and it took the stress out of the whole process. Having these experts on tap through email and the Facebook forum ensures queries are answered quickly and with confidence in the answers provided.
“I am team Florismart through and through.”
See Jake’s website: www.abundiflora.co.uk