A Rotherham-based entrepreneur is hoping to bring a new meaning to the phrase “say it with flowers” after sowing the seeds of a new eco-friendly floristry business.
Hannah Jackson launched her fledgling business The Garden of Evie earlier this year. Unlike many florists, which typically rely upon importing flowers from overseas, all of Hannah’s displays are created using locally sourced flowers, some of which she even grows herself!
The launch of Hannah’s business earlier this year is the culmination of three years of hard work after deciding to leave her former role as a NHS administrator back in 2017. Drawing upon her lifelong love of flower arranging & gardening for inspiration, Hannah embarked upon a floristry course, balancing her studies with a part-time job before successfully securing a role working as a professional florist.
Despite enjoying the creative challenges of her new role, Hannah became increasingly concerned about the environmental effect of her work. Worried about the impact of the thousands of miles flowers travelled on a daily basis, as well as the high volumes of plastics, toxic chemicals and non-recyclable materials commonly used in the industry, Hannah began exploring more sustainable ways of working.
Keen to embed sustainability into her business, Hannah began developing her own cutting patch, she began delivering bouquets to friends and family to brighten up their homes during the Covid-19 pandemic and after successfully securing her first orders earlier this year Hannah turned to the Sheffield City Region Launchpad programme for help.
Working with experienced business adviser Julia Millea, Hannah began developing her future business plans, as well as taking part in a range of business courses helping her to develop the skills she needed to grow her sustainable floristry business, drawing upon the symbolism and meanings behind different flower varieties, to create stunning floral displays.
Since launching her business Hannah has developed a particular interest in farewell flowers, replacing traditional coffin sprays with living displays using a range of plants, bulbs and personal possessions, as well as advising and guiding the families of the bereaved with her knowledge of seasonal flowers and foliage, resulting in a highly personalised tribute giving those left behind a lasting memory of their loved one, helping them cope with the grieving process.
Despite being no stranger to entrepreneurship, Hannah previously balanced her NHS career alongside running an award-winning home interior business, she believes the support she has received from Launchpad has helped her business ideas to take root, enabling her to not only pursue a career in an industry which she loves, but also helping to play her part in protecting the environment.
As part of her commitment to working more sustainably, Hannah also donates some of her profits to support the Tree Sisters charity, which helps contribute to reforestation efforts in Africa, South America and Asia. To date Hannah’s contributions to the charity have enabled over 600 trees to be replanted.
Hannah Jackson, Owner of The Garden of Evie, said: “I have always wanted to run a sustainable business that provided an outlet for my creative skills. Throughout much of my adult life I’ve enjoyed flower arranging and gardening. When I changed careers to train as a florist it felt like a dream come true. However, the dream quickly turned into a nightmare when I discovered the enormous environmental impact of the industry. I turned to nature for inspiration, however, I was concerned that trying to earn a living from a hobby I’ve enjoyed for much of my life may not be practical, and so I turned to Launchpad for advice.
“I know from past experience that being self-employed is something which required an enormous amount of drive and dedication and I wasn’t sure if I had what it took to succeed. Julia and the Launchpad team gave me the confidence to believe in myself and find my own voice. For example, I was really nervous about using social media in my business but after putting the training into practice and creating a few posts about my work on social media, I was amazed by the positive reactions I received. But perhaps the best part of working with Launchpad has been the ongoing support and knowing that whatever challenges I’m facing, help is just a phone call away.
Julia Millea, Business Advisor at Launchpad, added: “Hannah was keen to build a business that helped her to embrace creativity, whilst also making a positive contribution to the environment. However, she also knew that success wouldn’t happen overnight, and as she began planting the seeds for her garden, she carefully began laying the foundations for her business and reached out to Launchpad for help.
“Launchpad was created to help new business owners understand what it takes to build and grow a successful business. It’s great to see how Hannah has put the lessons she’s learned through the programme into practice. Today, Hannah is not only producing a range of beautiful seasonal flowers all year round, she is also using her skills and expertise to inspire others to try their hand at flower arranging. The key to any business is being able to generate different sources of income, and with her gardening expertise, her floristry skills and genuine passion, Hannah’s business is already starting to see the green shoots of growth.”
Launchpad is the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub’s key business support programme for new businesses. Financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within the Sheffield City Region and the Prince’s Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs in the Sheffield City Region who are thinking of starting their own business or looking for help to achieve business growth.
Images: SCR Launchpad