“Dolly Parton said: “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”. I had that quote running through my head on repeat when I walked out of the radio station building for the very last time.” – Kirsty Grieve, Owner of Flowers By Kirsty
A note from Beth:
I love Kirsty’s story of pursuing a career she loves, particularly because from an outsiders perspective, she was already ‘living the dream’ traveling the world and mingling with celebrities as a breakfast radio producer. It just goes to show how ‘the reality’ can be very different, and that sometimes, we do just outgrow our career. A career path that felt exciting and stimulating in our 20’s may not sit so well with our older, wiser self that may be craving something different- more balance, flexibility, ownership, creativity. Kirsty’s story goes to show that with a bit of courage and clear sightedness as to what you really want out of your career/ business, you can successfully make a big change. Fourteen months into her new career as a florist and budding business owner (loving my choice of words there!), Kirsty is thriving (or should I say blooming!?) n every way. Read on to find out more about how she turned the transition from a dream into a reality- and her top tips to get you moving with your career and business dreams…
Tell us a bit more about what you do for a living?
I’m a florist which covers any event that needs flowers, but I mainly specialize in wedding floristry. I take couples through the whole process from start to finish by meeting up with them over a coffee…and sometimes a glass of wine to help them create the wedding they’ve always dreamed of. I love meeting new people and coming up with creative ideas for their flowers. I think there are unfortunately a lot of standard florist out there who churn out the same ideas, I do not. The stranger and more unusual the request the better!
What was your career path before you got into floristry?
From about the age of 7 I knew what I wanted to be. I studied it at A Level, I did a degree in it and did unpaid work to achieve my goal as a breakfast producer within the radio industry. For 11 years I worked with some brilliant presenters, met Hollywood stars, singers, celebs and went to some amazing places like Brazil with the shows I worked on. My friends would tell me I had such a great career and how lucky I was meeting these ‘celebs’, but I can honestly say I had no life. I worked incredible hours. Getting up at 3.30am and then working most evenings till gone 10pm to prepare for the show left me exhausted. I dealt with the pressure of the job for many years, but realised one day that most of my friends were moving on getting married and having children, whereas I was single and stressed! I decided I had to make a change for my health and happiness. I had achieved my dream career and actually taken it to the level I always wanted to so putting a big tick next to it wasn’t a massive issue
What inspired you to set up your own floristry business?
I would definitely say I am a creative person as I love painting and making beautiful things. My demanding radio career meant I had no time for doing what I loved which frustrated me. I have always loved flowers and in the back of my mind for years I have always thought I would become a florist, but not until I maybe had children or even retired. I did a short floristry course with my sister many years ago and from learning some basic techniques we both did the flowers for my parents when they renewed their wedding vows to celebrate their 30 anniversary. Planning what we were going to make and then actually putting the arrangements together was such a special moment and I got an incredible buzz from the reaction of family members and of course my parents. It felt like such a lovely thing to do and wanted to give this simple gift to others. After that I offered to do friends flowers as a wedding present. I made my best friends wedding flowers and again I really felt privileged to be playing a part in her day. Ending my radio career wasn’t a tough decision as I knew I could turn my love of flowers into a professional career and had the confidence to take that leap
How do you feel now about the work you do?
I LOVE it! I can honestly say I have not regretted changing career one bit. A friend of mine said to me after a couple of months of being set up which has always stuck with me. She told me it’s like having a new and improved Kirsty around. I used to have little time for friends and family as I always had to put my career first which really upset me but I felt stuck on a roller coaster that I couldn’t get off. I now decide when I want to work and can take a day or two off as I know I can be flexible with my working hours. I’m still determined to be successful; but I have balance in my life which is so important.
What’s the best bit?
My business is still very young as I’ve only been going 14 months, but I am so happy with what I’ve achieved already. I think one of my highlights was actually on my birthday in October. I’d been in Bournemouth all day setting up an awards night for my old radio company…how ironic! It was a brilliant day which was topped off by opening the post when I got home. It was the latest copy of the number 1 mag for flowers ‘Wedding Flowers and Accessories’. On the front cover was my bouquet! I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe they had chosen my flowers over all the top designer florists in the UK. I couldn’t have been happier. I will never forget that feeling. Also another brilliant element of my job is that I get to see the bride on the morning of her wedding when delivering the bouquet. It’s such an exciting and emotional time. I’ve actually had a few brides cry on me when I’ve handed them their flowers (with happiness of course!). I then turn into a blubbering mess too!
What’s the biggest challenge?
I can honestly say it’s been quite a smooth journey so far. I haven’t really faced any challenges when setting up my business. I guess as I’m the newbie its all about building a reputation within the industry with other florists, suppliers and wholesalers. Everyone I’ve dealt with has been great offering advice. I guess people react to how they are treated so everyone has been really welcoming. I suppose the biggest challenge was going from a monthly salary to having nothing coming into my bank for months. This did make me slightly nervous, but I just thought if I had to take on a part time job to cover costs to success I would. Luckily I’ve been able to support myself through my business and actually nearly already exceeded my last income
What advice would you give to women that want to find their passion but feel stuck?
Do it! Life is so, so short. Whatever happens, you know you’ll be ok and if your initial business idea fails don’t give up. Friends and family believe in you and you will get there, you just have to believe in yourself. Business can’t succeed on luck alone, it takes hard work and you have to be a bit stubborn as you can’t give up. You have to hold on to that excitement feeling you felt from your first consultation or sale etc and remember that whatever happens you’ll be fine so relax and enjoy the journey
One of my icons and who I was fortunate to meet is Dolly Parton. She’s obviously known for her singing career, but she’s also a very successful business woman and her charity work is immense. Dolly’s also a bit of a fighter and knows what she wants which I really admire! She’s quoted as saying “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”. I had that quote running through my head on repeat when I walked out of the radio station building for the very last time. I couldn’t stop smiling the whole journey back home.
Check out Kirsty’s beautiful blooms over at her website Flowers By Kirsty
Say Hi on Twitter via @flowersbykirsty
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