Meet Sian Wild, multiple wedding award winner and member of esteemed Chapel Designers collective. Sian grew up in a horticultural family and now puts her green fingers to good use running her seven year old business, The Flower Lounge.
Why did you decide to join the Good Florist Guide’s advisory panel?
I was privileged enough to be invited and I’m thrilled. I have read The Florist avidly since I was a trainee florist 17 years ago, so to have Caroline Marshall Foster contact me personally about getting involved was the stuff dreams are made of and a real career high! I think the Good Florist Guide is an indispensable tool, raising quality standards across our industry and am so appreciative to be able to confidently recommend the site, knowing customers will be happy with any of the florists they find.
What do you think you bring to the panel?
A northern voice! It’s vitally important to me that that the needs of the many, many talented florist professionals beyond the Watford Gap are heard, as we face additional challenges specific to our region.
Best business decision?
Recognising that I can’t do EVERYTHING! Learning to focus on the tasks where I can add value and grow the business, and delegating the rest, has been crucial to recent business success (and my sanity!). I still work a lot of hours but I am now focussed ‘on’ the business and not drowning ‘in’ it. I wholeheartedly recommending outsourcing; we are human and only have so many pairs of hands. I have a fantastic support team in Queen Bee PA, whom I use for a variety of admin and marketing tasks. They are the difference between clearing my head on a walk in hill-top fresh air with my dog Charlie and crying into my laptop of unread emails.
Worst business decision?
I don’t think I have made many and if I have, I have learnt from them which is very important.
If you weren’t a florist, what would you like to do?
I genuinely couldn’t imagine anything else! Although I would definitely give professional gig-going a try…
Your perfect day?
It would have to involve a gentle stroll on the beach with Charlie, followed by a (veggie) Sunday roast and then a night in front of the log burner. You could twist my arm with a day in New York too.
My mulberry handbag. It was a present to myself on one of the shop’s anniversaries and as boss, I felt it important to recognise all the hard work and long hours I’d invested. It’s timeless and I love it.
What’s your biggest pet hate?
Poor customer service. It is such a fundamental part of retail but one that so many businesses get wrong or simply ignore. At The Flower Lounge, we invest in training with Tim at Floral Strategies to teach our staff properly and it really helps us to maintain the high standards of service that we pride ourselves on.
What do you find most difficult?
I’m not very good at switching off. My work is such a passion that it’s really hard to know when to stop working and wind down.
Is the customer always right?
Not always, but we constantly do our best to make sure that the customer is happy.
Best piece of advice to someone starting out in the industry?
Understand your value and charge accordingly. As an industry I think we are prone to undervaluing our services. A decorator doesn’t just charge you for paint, they charge you for their labour and expertise! Believe in your talent and your experience and don’t be tempted to compete with inferior competition. Educating the customer and championing the florist professional who brings his/her A-game to every order, is a big part of what I hope the GFG will achieve.
What are you most excited about in the next year?
Being on the advisory panel and seeing some sensational branding has given me a kick up the bum to look at ours and we are currently in the process of having a new website and logo designed. Launching alongside a shop refurbishment, I can’t wait to do the big reveal!
I am also attending lots of fantastic courses, inspired by becoming a member of the esteemed Chapel Designers this year. You never stop learning in this industry which is why I love it so much.
You’re stranded on a desert island, only one flower grows there, which would you choose?
It has to be hydrangea…they don’t quite suit the conditions on a desert island but I’ve decided it’s a special variety that only grows on that island!
And finally, the plug…
The Flower Lounge is a boutique florist in the trendy suburb of Didsbury, South Manchester with a reputation for creativity, innovation and passion, delivered with outstanding customer service. Our obsession with all things flowers is matched only by our love of weddings and events, recognised in The Wedding Industry Awards as North West Wedding Florist of the Year, two years in a row.