Have you ever wondered how it would be to work as a florist? In this article series, we give you a peak in the life of a florist. This week’s article features all-round florist Denise Murphy, owner of Helensburgh Flowers. Read on to discover how this Irish florist ended up with her own flower shop in Helensburgh, Scotland.
Written by Denise Murphy – Helensburgh Flowers
“I grew up surrounded by her passion for all things floral”
I started working in this wonderful industry as a Saturday girl at the tender age of 13. I’m a 3rd generation florist after following my Grandmother Anastasia into the flower trade. She had a beautiful shop in the heart of Dublin City. I grew up surrounded by her love and passion for all things floral. She was an exceptional florist and her passion and commitment for this beautiful industry rubbed off on me at a very early age. Her work ethic and inspiration have stayed with me all my life.
After leaving school I went to work in a chain of flower shops in Dublin. This saw me becoming what was known as a floating junior. Every day I was in a different branch learning from all types of managers which I found very liberating if not confusing at times. They all had different styles and techniques which I felt broadened my knowledge. It gave me the confidence to believe in what my style would be when I qualified. I am a bench-trained florist starting literally from the grassroots working my way up to a manager position at the age of 18.
“My love for flowers has always been unfaltering”
I got itchy feet and like most people in Ireland in the 80’s I found myself on a plane to London to make my millions or so I thought… London was an amazing experience. I fell away from floristry for a few years working at the BBC which was exciting and education in life.
After returning to Ireland I met and fell in love with my now husband at a rugby weekend in Dublin. That’s when I made the decision to follow him to Scotland. The beauty of having my trade meant I could start straight away in a florist’s shop which was fantastic. An opportunity then came my way to open my own shop in Helensburgh. With the support and push from my husband, I took the plunge and opened my shop. I have been trading for over 20 years now and although I have had some highs and some lows, my love of flowers has always been unfaltering.
Helensburgh is a beautiful seaside town near Loch Lomond. My shop is situated on a busy street near the town centre. We have seen our business develop into one of the area’s premier wedding florists supplying stunning venues around the Lochside. Another rewarding area of the industry is the opportunity to work with one of the West of Scotland’s leading funeral directors. I find this part of my business hugely fulfilling as a florist; to be able to design a fitting tribute celebrating a person’s life.
“The support and sense of community is very special”
This industry can be hard sometimes. Dealing daily with people’s emotions whether it’s to celebrate the birth of a new baby or to offer sympathy to a bereaved family. Flowers relay emotions better than anything else in the world and to play a small part in sharing this beautiful product means so much to me and makes me very proud and a bit humbled, to be honest.
An opportunity arose last year to become an Ambassador for Florismart; a role I relish very much. As an Ambassador I have had the opportunity to meet like-minded florists and share my experience. Through Florismart I have made so many friends and the education I have received from them has been life-changing. The support and sense of community is something very special.
I was also given the chance to become a Grower Ambassador for two amazing orchid growers and an opportunity to visit the nursery in Holland. Using these beautiful blooms in funeral work has been a wonderful challenge; showing its possibilities in a new way to create some special designs.
I am very lucky to have a fabulous team who have helped make Helensburgh Flowers what it is today. As each year goes by I feel more privileged to be part of this ever-changing industry and really don’t think I could ever imagine life without flowers. Retirement will never be on the agenda for this Irish florist.
Have a look at Denise Murphy’s designs in our Florist Finder. Go check it out!