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Woman reopens florist business from home – turning garden into floral paradise

A florist who had to close her shop when lockdown was announced has reopened her business and is selling flowers and plants from her own garden.

Erica Tippett, an Interflora florist from Cornwall, is now operating from a shed in her garden, and juggling childcare by enlisting her young children to help deliver flowers.

The 33-year-old has been a florist for 15 years in Bude, Cornwall and runs Bleujen Florist. When lockdown was announced, Erica was unsure of what would happen next.

But due to demand, she decided to offer a contactless delivery service from 31 March and in a bid to better juggle childcare, she set up her shop from her garden shed, which she has now turned into a floral paradise.

‘It became really obvious quite quickly that people were looking for a way to connect with each other during lockdown,’ says Erica.

‘We were turning away so much business after closing the shop, so I needed to think of a solution that would allow me to keep working safely, serving the local community, whilst looking after my children Marnie (3) and Rookie (2).’

Erica’s husband is self-employed and is still working, so the couple are sharing the childcare load.

‘I brought all my equipment home from the shop and now I’m operating as a one-man-band from my garden, as opposed to a team of five in a busy shop, so things are very different,’ Erica adds.

During lockdown, Erica has found other innovative ways to adapt her business and serve her customers.

‘We have always sold a lot of plants in our shop, as well as bouquets, so I’ve set up a little stall with trays of plants and an honesty box outside the front of the house,’ she says.

‘It sells out instantly just from people passing by, while doing their daily exercise. I’ve literally got a little garden centre going on in the front garden, and the children are enjoying collecting the money that people leave in the box.

‘I also get the kids to help me with local contactless flower deliveries – they have little shopping trollies or they wheel the bouquets in their toy pram. They’re loving playing real life shops.’

Erica also says lockdown has made her so much more creative and resourceful.

‘I’ve definitely got more creative during lockdown. Interflora have introduced Florist’s Choice, which allows us to create a beautiful bouquet using the fresh stock we’re able to buy in, rather than to a specific recipe.

‘Flower supply has been quite sporadic to say the least, so it’s a great solution and it also means my customers are truly getting a one-of-a-kind bouquet.

‘I’m using lots of locally sourced Cornish flowers at the moment, which is wonderful, and I’m able to really bring my own personality and design style to the bouquets.

‘I’m enjoying being so creative and my customers seem to be loving the bouquets I’m delivering – I’ve had so many positive reviews and messages from both people who have received the flowers and also the customers who have sent them.’

Fortunately, Erica’s local community hasn’t been very badly affected by the virus at the moment and many of the flowers that she is delivering are little pick-me-ups and people simply trying to stay in touch.

She explains: ‘We’re lucky in that where we live the virus hasn’t been that widespread.

‘People are sending flowers to cheer up friends or family they’re missing, so it’s lovely to be able to put a smile on their faces.’