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Customer story: The Flower Project print Print

  • 4.3 out of 5 stars
  • from 15 ratings

When Kathryn Fleming started her first business, Boudica Flowers, she knew a challenge lay ahead. However, with ANZ by her side she found success, and has now even started a second business, called The Flower Project.

Kathryn has always had a thing for flowers so it’s no surprise that growing up she aspired to be a florist. Now, with her two businesses, she is turning those dreams into reality.

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“I love being creative and working with my hands and I really love working with people as well, seeing their expressions when you deliver the flowers and just being part of those people’s special moments.”

When starting Boudica Flowers nine years ago she found one of the biggest challenges was having no guaranteed income.

With no outside investment or shareholders Kathryn says it took some time before she paid herself a proper salary.

“I just thought to myself ‘if I don’t do it now then I’m never going to do it'.”

“That’s one thing I was nervous about but I just thought to myself ‘if I don’t do it now then I’m never going to do it and I just have to wear the fact that I’m going to be struggling financially for the first few years for a greater good in the long run’.”

She says it took three years to feel total security and in that time she credits ANZ Business Specialist, Sandra Mackay, for providing continuing guidance.

“Sandra is a wealth of knowledge and keen to help me. She’s seen my business grow from strength to strength.”

As well as financial support and business expertise from ANZ, Kathryn seeks personal support from her husband Hamish who helps her everyday despite not being a part of the businesses.

With her support system Katheryn has grown Boudica Flowers to a team of 10. Its success has even meant that Kathryn has time to work on her next start-up idea, The Flower Project, which she recently started with her brother.

Looking for a new way to put her skills to the test, the Flower Project provides its customers with fresh bunches of flowers each week, fortnight or month. It’s a unique concept, but at first she struggled to get the word out.

“All of our challenges have been around exposure and getting our name out there and making people aware that there is a service like this.”

To overcome this, Kathryn hired a marketing expert and took out a loan with ANZ which was channelled straight into a marketing budget.

A challenge that hasn’t been so easy to overcome has been making sure that she hires the right people for her businesses. She admits she thought she could do it alone, not knowing how big the task would be.

“When you’re picking up the slack for other people and putting a lot of energy into trying to change somebody else’s work ethic that can really drag you down so if you just chose the right people in the first place then you can save all that energy.”

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She says having people around to support you while employing is the key.

A testament to how far Kathryn’s ability to run a business has come, is the way she has achieved balance between work and family time. Kathryn’s getting ready to leave for the flower market at 4am most mornings.

But now that she’s playing the role of mum as well as business owner, Kathryn has also trusted her staff to more of the day-to-day running of both businesses.

“I really value family time. I think one of the pillars of success is being able to have quality time to do the things that you love and for me that quality time has been family.”

The past nine years have been a real adventure for Kathryn, she has started two businesses and a family. Keeping a positive outlook, she makes time to stop and smell the roses, now her childhood dreams have come true.

Kathryn’s top tips for people wanting to start their own business:

  1. Don’t be afraid to give it a go. The short term struggle can lead to long term gain.
  2. Always make sure you have enough cash in the bank, maintain low overheads and manage your cash flow effectively. Cashflow is key.
  3. Create balance in your life: take time to step away from the business and do other things that you enjoy. For Kathryn, this was spending time with her young family.

Are you thinking of starting your own business? Get your free ANZ Start-up Guide, which is full of tips to help you become a successful business owner. 

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