HAPPY NEW YEAR! Evolve & Inspire Annual Review - 1st Jan 2023

Happy New Year Flower Folks!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Personally,  I really dislike the build up to Christmas and have written a separate blog about why it's "just not my thing" and how I opted out during my 'gap years' I hope it makes you smile and gives you some inspiration :) One thing I have learnt over the years and especially since having children is that Christmas is what you want it to be as a holiday, tradition, feast or whatever you decide it is for you and your friends and families! 

Now New Year is a whole new chapter! I love newness, fresh starts, moving forward and especially Spring. I start planning the continuous improvement plans to start in the new year around August !! 

We have so many exciting things planned for 2023 and I can't wait to share these with you as we get started on the year! there are loads of projects to be realised on the continuing journey of Evolve! Some of you lovely lot who have been with us since the start will know its been quite a rollercoaster so far - there's an easy way and a hard way and as a person who thrives on challenge we have had quite our fair share of ups and downs.

Evolve trade was launched in 2019 around Mothers Day, many said that was brave and what would happen if it went wrong on a peak ?! Having had extensive experience delivering peak campaigns into multiple Retailers I just shrugged and said "it's only flowers - my specialist subject -what could go wrong - it's not going to fail!"

We launched and we got going with around 400 of you. At that time everything was on email - an admin and paperwork challenge as we split ourselves between developing processes and packing boxes!

Managing a mega seasonal driven business is challenging to say the least! being "not your traditional wholesaler" is also not easy and I can see why many simply "don't get us" or do the same. Our tribe is growing as more florists and designers aspire to be sustainable and planet friendly.

With my history in the industry spanning over thirty years as soon as Covid-19 started to impact during 2020 I knew we had to be radical. 

Flashback - I brought my family back to Lincolnshire from Egypt in 2011 as a result of The Revolution aka The Arab Spring. What we have achieved since relocating back to the UK after eight years of living in various parts of Egypt has been "considerable book material" and also has contributed further to my ability to overcome challenges!! 

Back to 2020 - lets not dwell on it, challenging to say the least! we increased turnover by 500%, customer numbers grew to around 1200 Quite simply processing thousands of orders on email was crippling. We invested in a walk in flower fridge, rented a larger packhouse, took on more staff.... January 2021 the British Flowers Direct Web shop was launched with a whole new set of challenges to overcome! 

2022 and the War in Ukraine sent us another set of challenges especially as Dutch prices were so unstable throughout the year. We know everyone is watching the pennies but if you really care about supporting British growers you will learn to understand that our prices are stable - our network of growers set their product price at the beginning of the season and are not flexing it up and down according to markets - in short we benefit from the contracts that are in place with larger players. This is a much easier way to trade key product crops - stable and reliable. 

So here we are at the start of 2023 with two years of simply mind-blowing data; the Evolve foundations have been shored up - the concept that was 'thrown at the wall' has stuck! I am so looking forward to sharing some new insights with you and helping to improve your seasonally driven businesses too. 

British Grown Flowering In January 

  • Tulips - Full range of colours and the return of Rainbow and Pastel Bundles 
  • Tulips OTB - On the Bulb - these will be available all season as we promote sustainable design and inspire you with more foam free commercial designs. 
  • Hellebores will start trickling in ... and the return of some Alstromeria 
  • Narcissi - Four varieties to start with - Paperwhites will be the first to finish as they started early, theres a poster of varieties HERE 
  • British Birch is available in bundles - fantastic for installs and giving a really cost effective value perception to spring designs
  • Pussy Willows and Wobbly willow will return
  • Loads of foliage - Cornish, Norfolk and Lincs -  Eucalyptus, Bottle Brush, Pittosporum, Wild Garden

We are looking forward to bringing you the first of our Sustainable Sympathy workshops on 25th January 2023 - Visit Workshop 25th Jan & 1st Mar -  I really love creating sympathy designs from scratch and am really looking forward to sharing these skills with you to in the first of our Evolve & Inspire Workshops. 

Wishing you all a flower filled 2023 for sure we will have more challenges but being a seasonally driven British grown business does get easier so lets Evolve & inspire together :)

Quote of the week 

"Don't limit your challenges, challenge your limits"

Keep Calm & Carry On Flowering! 

Helen & Team Evolve

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