Jo Griffiths is the founder of Pollen, an award-winning florist in Oakham, Rutland, which specialises in wedding flowers. She set up her business in 2004. Jo tells us about a day in her life as a busy florist
“I’d always been interested in gardening and wanted to learn a trade that would get me a job. Becoming self-employed wasn’t the only reason I trained as a florist, but during the course of training I deciding that owning my own business was the most logical way to go.
“I start my working day at 9am and the first job is to get the shop front organised, because presentation is crucial to a florist business. I make sure all the displays outside the shop look nice, water all the flowers, ensure all the plants are in good condition and then I do the same for the internal displays.
“One of my suppliers also arrives shortly after 9am with a van and I select stock depending on what I need that day. I have another supplier from Holland that comes overnight and they have a key to the shop, so they can let themselves in and leave items I have bought.
“The next job is to check what orders I’ve got for the day and make those up for delivery or sale. That can take anything from an hour to most of the day, depends on how busy I am. The bulk of my trade comes from local customers – either just people walking in and buying display items or those ordering flowers for future delivery or collection.
“Pollen is an Interflora member, so I get some online orders that way. I also have my own website, of course, through which people email their orders through.
“I check the computer regularly throughout the day because I offer same-day delivery. I spend a lot of time in the office because I have a lot of admin to get through. I do many consultations and quotes for brides, one a day on average, which each take around one hour. All that side of it takes quite a long time. I don’t actually touch flowers for most of the week — my staff deal with that.
“I try to have a lunch break, but it depends how busy we are. If I do, it tends to be quite late, at about 2pm, for half an hour. It’s important to take a breather and it’s good for staff morale to sit down and have a chat.
“After lunch I tend to catch up on admin stuff. I also look at changing displays in the shop around, more housekeeping tasks, cleaning, etc.
“My other two deliveries arrive during the afternoon. I order from one supplier by email and that’s just dropped off by the driver in crates. My stock changes on a daily basis and experience and instinct helps me to decide what I need. Having daily deliveries means I can respond better to demand.
“I try to have one day a week when I do all sorts of admin tasks, but the workload varies. For example, I do the payroll once a month, which takes about two hours. I try to keep on top of customer and supplier paperwork on a weekly basis. Then I have set things that I do once a month. I do all my own accounts, because I’m trained in accountancy, which adds a lot of work, but saves my business a lot of money.
“If I’ve got a weekend wedding on, I start preparing on Monday or Tuesday, depending how big the wedding is. From Wednesday onwards I prepare arrangements and put together buttonholes, before doing the bulk of the work the day before the wedding. That changes my normal shop routine, because I’ll start making orders and delivery orders a day in advance while I’m working on the wedding.
“My industry has peaks and troughs throughout the year, so there’s no typical day. Summer is a busy time for me because I do a lot of weddings, although it’s a quiet time for traditional florists.”