The entrepreneur

Alys is the owner of Blomst, a flower shop in Walthamstow, London.

Previous career

Alys trained as a buyer or procurement professional – a career with very long hours.

Video case study: How to be a florist

The catalyst for change

She always loved her job as a buyer, but wanted something different and felt that flowers could be the answer.

After she had her daughter, Betsy, Alys realised that her life had completely changed. During maternity leave she noticed a gap in the market and seized the opportunity.

‘Blomst’ means flower in Danish, which has personal significance for Alys as her mum moved to Denmark when she was a teenager and she has fond memories of family holidays in the country. Mindful that buying a bunch of flowers can be expensive, Alys wanted to make flowers affordable for everyone, so has tried to make her prices reasonable.

She offers a flexible subscription service: specify the size of bouquet you want and she can deliver weekly, fortnightly or monthly to your door on Friday evenings – a time when most people are at home, her research has informed her.

Alys advises would-be florists to always think ahead about the seasons and time of year, whether it’s Halloween or the changing colours of autumn. It’s important to always have an idea of what you want to buy before your visit to the flower market, she says, although you can often be swayed by something else once there!

A day in the life

A typical day in the life of a florist involves waking up at 3am and travelling to the market. You will probably spend about an hour choosing flowers and chatting to traders, if Alys’ experience is anything to go by.

Then it’s straight back home to put the flowers in water and condition them ready for use later in the day. During the day, you will speak to customers, take orders and make bouquets and other arrangements.

Advice for anyone with the same dream

Alys offers the following advice to anyone considering buying a florist:

  • Never be afraid to ask questions and take in as much information as you can. Experience comes with time and mistakes are inevitable when you first start out. Don’t let them put you off. When Alys first started, she’d hack at flowers with a blunt pair of kitchen scissors!
  • Be honest and upfront with clients. It was really important to Alys to be honest about her lack of experience so she invited a bride-to-be to her house and admitted that it would be her first wedding as a florist. Even so, everything went really well! With this attitude, Blomst has had a very busy summer in only its first year of trading.
  • Starting a business is a big challenge and getting the work-life balance right is difficult – a supportive family