Every business has a heart – a core to its operations. The soul and drum beat to the golden thread that runs throughout the works. Fabulous Flowers would not be where it is today without the owner - Josie. We had the privilege of catching up with the blue-eyed beauty over the past week. And what a week; having a stop at the Cavendish Close Studio in Claremont, Cape Town was such a glossy cherry on top.
Where did your love of flowers come from?
My mother was an avid gardener which was difficult on a Free state farm with the only water available being from a few boreholes. She had to constantly convince my Dad to allow her to put the sprinklers on. I used to love pottering around with her and then seeing the results of our labours. I would always put fresh flowers in our house but had to ask first about which ones I could pick. Her garden was gorgeous.
Have you always wanted to have your own business?
I had never really thought about it until I had children. When the opportunity presented itself, I grabbed it with both hands as it meant that I could be at home with my children when I needed to be.
What was your dream profession as a child?
I wanted to be a model actually until I realised that that industry was not for me. I was also not thin enough. My dreams as a little girl were mostly about getting married and having a wonderful family. As I got older I was very driven to find something creative I could immerse myself in and receive financial rewards from.
How did the idea to start Fabulous flowers come about?
I had a very dear friend whose sister was getting married and she asked if I would help arrange the flowers for the wedding. I said yes instantly and then realised what a huge task I had undertaken. I planned for days with many trips to the flower market and when the day arrived I was up at the crack of dawn determined to get this right and to make everyone very happy. It went really well and I found that I was enjoying every moment.
At the reception people asked me if I had my own florist business and when eventually about five people asked me the same question, I got the message loud and clear and decided to do some research and the next thing I knew, I was doing contract work for the corporate market.
My trips to the market became almost a daily thing and I began to see the potential in dried flowers and different permanent creations. I was lucky enough to get to do a lot of work for Southern Sun and Sun International placing my creations in most of the bedrooms of new hotels. I worked closely with Steven Falcke who is a world renowned Interior Decorator and he commissioned me to make incredible things for very beautiful homes in Johannesburg.
I had opened my first shop by this stage and I loved the opportunity of being creative and different and being able to showcase my style to the public.
What motivates you to get up in the morning?
I get motivated very easily when I think of what I have in mind to create or simply the joy of being amongst beautiful flowers every day. I am also motivated and look forward to going to work because I have the most incredible people working with me.
What is your long-term vision for Fabulous Flowers?
We have a wonderful online business now and I would like to grow that. I would also like to expand Fabulous Flowers into doing larger weddings and events. We love this and we are very good at it.
Tell us about the weirdest clients you have ever had…
There have been many of those. Some who ask us how often a silk orchid needs watering. Some who come into the store and ask if it is a florist when there are buckets of flowers everywhere and we are busy making arrangements.
What is your favourite flower, Josie?
I have a few. Peonies, Tulips, Hydrangeas, large-headed Roses, Lisianthus, Amaryllis, Lilacs, Poppies. I could go on and on. The list is too long.
When hiring staff, is there a particular quality you look for?
I want the people I work to be honest, passionate, kind, have a good work ethic and be committed and creative. They have to love working with people who will sometimes be difficult. They have to be team players and be able to take criticism as this is how they will grow. I can teach anyone to arrange if they have a love of flowers. This industry is very demanding with all sorts of variables so they need to think on their feet and above all, keep calm.
What advice do you have for anyone who would like to start their own business?
Do lots of research to find a way to do whatever it is you want to succeed that is unique from the rest. Be on top of your game and come up with new and innovative ideas constantly. Make sure you offer the very best service and fulfil your promises when you make them. Ask for help from the right people. Make sure this is what you want because if you do, you won’t be working, you will be having the best fun ever.
Each profession has its ups and downs, and having one’s own business is no different. Passion, pride and positivity are very important, and we thank you, Josie, for all of the love and dedication that you put into Fabulous Flowers. Many a dream you have brought to life.
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