I’ve been out of work for a long time and was signing on at the Jobcentre. I’m a single parent and wanted to go out and get something for my sister and I that worked around our families. I previously worked as a recruitment consultant before I had my children, and I didn’t want to go back and do a 9 to 5 job. They’re getting a bit older now, and I felt it was the right time to start up my own business so I can provide for them.
I am claustrophobic and can’t travel into London, so Havering Adult College was ideal as it’s just round the corner from where I live in Harold Wood. I loved going to college – I prefer to be around people of my own age, and I’ve learned more here than I ever did at school! My teacher Debbie was also really supportive.
We managed to secure a startup loan which bought us the van, leaflets and stock, so now the big challenge is paying that back. Because we don’t have a shop we’re currently speaking to the council about finding a pitch. We’ve been to a few boot sales, but it’s tough getting your name out there, so we’ve started to promote ourselves on social media and looking where else we can sell our displays.
Follow them on Instagram @the_little_flower_van
Search ‘The Little Flower Van’ on Facebook.
“The Level 1 Certificate in Floristry is suitable for complete beginners or those who have previously done one-day workshops. During the 15-week course students will learn the botanical and common names of a variety of flowers and foliages. We source everything for the course down the road at Liberty Flowers in Romford, but students will also learn how to cost and buy flowers.
“Many students have gone on to become freelance florists because it works around their family commitments. To be a successful florist you have to market yourself hard and establish a presence online as well as in person. Instagram in particular has become a destination for customers to research particular styles and get inspiration, so building a following there is important for any new florist. You can also share what goes on behind-the-scenes, which people are always interested in.”
The next Level 1 Certificate in Floristry starts on December 11.
You can also visit the Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry which provide support and advice to business owners in the borough and run a programme of networking events.
Havering Council also has a handy list of premises available to rent across the borough, including co-working spaces that are perfect for sole traders.
Their Development Team can provide help on general and specific issues for people looking to or already running their own business. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org