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Based in Herefordshire, The Great British Florist grew from the splendidly named Wiggly Wigglers, an ethical birdseed and composting business run from a working farm. Heather Gorringe, the entreprenuer behind The Great British Florist, explains how it came into being and continues to be successful.

When the recession hit, we had to take a long hard look at our Wiggly Wiggler business and focus on what was working and what wasn’t. Surprisingly, our Great British Bouquet was one of our biggest sellers, whatever the economic climate threw at us.

Possibly this was because it’s perceived as an affordable luxury – something to cheer either yourself or someone else up during downtrodden times. The bouquet features flowers grown either on our farm or sourced within these shores, so people seemed to feel it had more authenticity.

When we discovered this, we decided we were on to something and decided to set up an online floristry business in its own right.

As this developed, we wanted to extend into different markets including weddings and funerals, but felt the Wiggly Wiggler brand lacked the gravitas, for obvious reasons.

And so The Great British Florist was born. Whilst people are used to buying and sending flowers via a website, we wondered whether weddings and funerals were a step too far? Do people want to the personal touch when it comes to these big milestone events in their life? However, it soon became apparent that the anonymity, as well as the time-saving aspect of ordering funeral or wedding flowers online, had a niche market.

For those looking for a more natural take on funeral flowers without the surrounding fuss, simply ordering online and knowing they’ll turn up on the required date ticked the box for a lot of people. The same with cash rich, time poor brides, some of whom were getting married in the UK but living as far away as Australia.

Being able to order the bridal bouquet and buttonholes, but then opting for our buckets of blooms to create their own arrangements for the reception, allowed people more freedom to have a creative input too.

Keeping a fresh supply of flowers all year round can prove tricky. We buy flowers from the UK only so we rely on Cornish tulips, for example, in winter and Lincolnshire produces some wonderful blooms throughout the year. I don’t think most people realise that of the majority of flowers bought in this country, only 10% are grown here.

There was such a high demand from people to find out how we put together our very lovely arrangements we now run courses at our Hereford shop. We’re also planning to offer online courses backed up by webinars, so if you’re living in the South of France or Japan and want to create bouquets using local flowers, you can find out how we go about it.

If you’d like to find out more about The Great British Florist, why not visit their website.