Award-winning florist Linda Cooper founded Flower Pavilion in Montrose after finding the perfect venue for her business.
Q. Why did you start in business?
A. It was a case of now or never. I started to look for suitable premises for a flower shop with a difference and when I found the old bowling pavilion, I knew it was the one.
Q. How did you get to where you are?
A. I had been a keen flower arranger for 10 years, attending clubs, courses, workshops, classes and one-to-tuition.
I also entered competitions and when I won SAFAS (Scottish Association of Flower Arranging Societies) Designer of the Year in 2015, this gave me the confidence to go for it. Over the last 3 and a half years, I have gradually built up the business, with lots of hard work and not much time to myself.
Q. How has the business been impacted by coronavirus?
A. A lot of the initial success of the business was built on weddings and events, so the cancellation or postponement of such events had a big impact. However, it has given me time to focus on the retail side of the business. During lockdown, our customers were able to order deliveries of flowers online and when the restrictions eased we really focused on making our shop as attractive to visitors as possible.
Q. Who has helped you along the way?
A. It’s very cliched but I’ve had lots of help and support from my family, friends and my flower arranging colleagues. I’ve joined a women’s networking group and I also get great, level-headed advice from my Business Gateway Adviser.
Q. What has been your biggest mistake?
A. Probably not networking soon enough and neglecting our social media channels. I also took too long to get a shop added to my website – I’m really quite excited that customers can now order and buy online.
Q. What has been your greatest achievement?
A. The business has really flourished – we’ve held workshops, a coffee & cake fundraiser day, Pilates sessions on the bowling green and we plan to build up the coffee shop on the veranda.
We have also done our best to make the business environmentally friendly, only using eco-packaging and trying to minimise our use of floral foam.
Q. What are your hopes for the future?
A. To continue growing our online customer base and host more events – it’s such a calming and peaceful space.
We’re also collaborating with other businesses that can complement what we do at the Pavilion.
Q. Are you hoping to recruit in future?
A. We have already recruited Hannah, she’s a student who is helping us at moment.
I think it’ll soon be time to recruit another experienced pair of hands as the business continues to grow.
Q. What is the hardest thing about running your own business?
A. Having to do everything yourself and trying to do it well.
Q. Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
A. I’d say, be prepared for a lot of hard work and for your business to totally take over your life.