Eternal Blooms by Victoria provides preserved roses and artificial flower arrangements for personal and corporate events.
Female founder Victoria Cumberlege tells The StartUp Gold about her business and shares some tips for entrepreneurs.
TSG: Please tell us a bit more about Eternal Blooms for Victoria
Victoria: Eternal Blooms started at the beginning of 2017. After a few years of feeling really dreadful with ME and fibromyalgia, I started ‘playing with flowers’ again. I had trained as a florist many years ago but marriage and children came, so floristry just became a wonderful hobby! I always found it one of the most relaxing things to do. After seeing some of my work, friends started asking me to make arrangements for them. It just all organically grew from there and I could really see a future working with high quality artificial flowers. I started hiring designs out for events and also businesses on a monthly basis. I then found Preserved Roses – roses that last at least a year – and that was it – I just knew that I wanted to add them to the business! They are the new kid on the block in floral terms and the quality of the roses (and foliage) is absolutely amazing. Apart from the sales on line, there is a lot of potential with the bespoke corporate side. I can make totally bespoke orders for companies – the boxes can be made in a variety of materials and colours and can be printed with companies own logos and then filled with these equisite roses! They make the most wonderful original corporate gift. I also make arrangements for weddings. My next wedding is to organise bespoke hat boxes for 450 wedding guests in the new year.
TSG: What inspired you to start the business? Do you still feel the same way?
Victoria: My husband actually! He could see how much I was enjoying working with flowers and could see how much better I was feeling when I was being creative. I actually feel even more inspired 2 years on!
TSG: What first things were important to have in place when you started the business?
Victoria: I think finances are paramount, as you will always need far more money than you may think at the beginning of starting a business. Surround yourself with like-minded positive people.
Victoria: Just go for it! Stop procrastinating and waiting for the right moment and the right website and the right branding and business cards – just start! I also think investing in coaching/workshops/networking is very important.
TSG: Are there any specific skills you think are relevant for business owners?
Victoria: Determination, have a clear idea of your business plan, organisational skills, persistence and learn from your mistakes because you will make some but the art is not to make the same mistake twice! To give yourself well earned breaks as you are no use to anyone when you are utterly exhausted.
TSG: As a business owner, what are your top three priorities?
Victoria: 1. To keep on top of the finances 2. To keep the business always looking fresh and exciting with new collections etc. 3. Time management and diary blocking.
TSG: As a UK business owner, are there any local network groups, business coaches you’ve found useful for building your business?
Victoria: I had a few months of business coaching with Laura Payne Stanley. She was totally fabulous and I wholeheartedly recommend her! I joined a networking group called Onle in Winchester. This group, which is run by James and Kelly West of Clean Slate Websites , meets in and around Winchester but has now expanded to Four Seasons Hotel in Hook, Southampton and in February 2019 Chewton Glen Hotel has been added. I have met some amazing businesses through the group.
TSG: Has technology impacted your business? If so in what way?
Victoria: Technology is not one of my favourite things! We cannot be good at all things so I do outsource things I know I am not good at.
TSG: How do you market your business, what tips have been successful?
Victoria: I love using Instagram. I have also joined Response Source where journalists/influencers shout out their requests for articles/recommendations/comments in the field that you are interested in. This has resulted in being featured in quite a lot of magazines and blogs. I have James West looking after my SEO, I write a monthly blog and also newsletters that get sent out periodically.
TSG: What do you find most rewarding about being an entrepreneur?
Victoria: It is very easy not to congratulate yourself with your achievements or when you reach a goal when you work for yourself so I would recommend anyone to just sit back and think where they were this time last year and how much things have improved. When I do that, I feel really rewarded.
Follow @eternalbloomsbyvictoria on Instagram
To see more of Victoria’s work and place an order visit the eternalbloomsbyvictoria website