Shop Local: Hackney florist grows more sustainable despite first lockdown
- Credit: 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”.
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.
“We used to have 10 employees and now we have two,” Hattie said.
“It has been pretty tough - as if everything I worked for has been eclipsed overnight.”
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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.”
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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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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.”
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Shop online at Luna and Curious by clicking here