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Shop Local: Hackney florist grows more sustainable despite first lockdown

PUBLISHED: 15:24 03 November 2020 | UPDATED: 09:07 17 November 2020

That Flower Shop's farm patch in Kent. Picture:  That Flower Shop

That Flower Shop's farm patch in Kent. Picture: That Flower Shop

That Flower Shop

A Hackney flower shop owner says the first coronavirus lockdown gave her the chance to make her business even more sustainable despite 2020 proving “pretty tough”.

Locally farmed flowers from That Flower Shop in Hackney. Picture: That Flower ShopLocally farmed flowers from That Flower Shop in Hackney. Picture: That Flower Shop

Hattie Fox explained how her 10-year-old store That Flower Shop, which just moved from Shoreditch’s Ace Hotel to Chatsworth Road, is operating at 10 per cent of what it made last year.

With less footfall to the area and weddings and events cancelled, the business owner said the shop had to adapt.

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“We used to have 10 employees and now we have two,” Hattie said.

That Flower Shop at it's former home in Ace Hotel, Shoreditch High Street. The shop can now be located at Chatsworth Road. Picture: That Flower ShopThat Flower Shop at it's former home in Ace Hotel, Shoreditch High Street. The shop can now be located at Chatsworth Road. Picture: That Flower Shop

“It has been pretty tough - as if everything I worked for has been eclipsed overnight.”

READ MORE: Shop Local: Hackney shops ask customers to shop locally online or in person this Christmas

But Hattie decided to use the time she spent during the UK’s first lockdown in March on flower farming in Kent.

She said: “With 90 per cent of all UK flowers being imported, we felt for a long time as though that didn’t represent the way we wanted to move the company forwards.”

A sign outside That Flower Shop's former premises in Shoreditch advertising its online shop. Picture: That Flower ShopA sign outside That Flower Shop's former premises in Shoreditch advertising its online shop. Picture: That Flower Shop

Hattie recalls the idea first being seeded five years ago when working on Rheanna Lingham’s wedding, a co-owner of independent Calvert Avenue shop Luna & Curious.

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Rheanna wed a Kent farmer and Hattie discussed with him the possibilities of flower farming just outside of London. Four years later, she decided it was finally time to make the change.

Hattie said “I wanted to move the business forwards more sustainably.

Owner Hattie focused extra time created by the first lockdown on flower farming in nearby Kent. Picture:  That Flower ShopOwner Hattie focused extra time created by the first lockdown on flower farming in nearby Kent. Picture: That Flower Shop

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“So I took over a tiny little patch that is next to a plant nursery on the farm.

“Lockdown gave me tonnes more time than I would have had and allowed me to figure a lot out about what would work and what wouldn’t.”

Hattie and her staff have cut locally farmed flowers for the shop since March. She has also worked to create supply networks with other small flower farmers and growers substituting gaps in her shop’s inventory with their flowers.

She took over a She took over a "tiny little patch" next to a plant nursery on the farm. Picture: That Flower Shop

“We know that we won’t be able to do winter in the same way and we have to keep operating so through the winter months we will work with imported flowers but will try and source from European countries like Italy and France as much as we can, If we can do eight months a year with a smaller carbon footprint then its a small step forwards in the right direction,” Hattie said.

That Flower Shop offers same day delivery in London every Tuesday to Saturday and overnight deliveries nationwide. 40pc of the business exists online and the owner says a decrease in walk-in business has seen deliveries help her business survive a difficult year.

READ MORE: Shop Local: Markets are ‘first stone’ in building up economy, say Hackney traders

As the UK enters a second national lockdown on November 5 and non-essential shops are ordered to shut, Hattie asks customers: “Please keep shopping with us. Use our online site or call us.”

Owner Hattie Fox and her staff  have cut locally farmed flowers for the shop since March. Picture: That Flower ShopOwner Hattie Fox and her staff have cut locally farmed flowers for the shop since March. Picture: That Flower Shop

Order online by clicking here or call 07375 791373

Shop online at Luna and Curious by clicking here


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