Michelle Garrett from Olive May Floral Design has loved flowers since childhood. She has fond memories of seeing the daffodils and roses in her Grandma Olive’s flowerbeds. And, as a child, Michelle would often pop into the local florist shop on the high street. Not to buy, but to simply to look at the flowers and chat with the owner.
Then, several years later, Michelle stumbled across her dream job.
“Meeting with the florist before my wedding made me realise how much I’d love to do the same. I booked on some amazing floral training courses with Tallulah Rose and Leafy Couture. Then began a business called ‘Beautiful Floral Styling’. I was working full-time, so spent every holiday and hour of spare time on the business. It wasn’t a sustainable way to work, and in the end, I had to let the business go.”
But the dream of running a floristry business stayed in the back of Michelle’s mind. When a friend died suddenly in 2020, she realised that life was too short not to follow her passion.
Michelle revived her business, giving it a new name and rebrand. Olive May Floral Design is named in honour of her two grandmas, Olive, and May, who both loved flowers. Her website shares their pictures and the inspiration behind the name.
Michelle currently provides floristry for weddings and events. But she’s recently trained in sympathy flowers and will be adding that as a service soon. She also wants to work with corporates and is planning wellbeing workshops.
“At the moment, I work part-time and run Olive May Floral Design alongside this. But my plan is to grow bookings so I can spend more time on the business by Christmas. I’m also doing more training with Tallulah Rose Flower School. This will focus on British, locally sourced flowers, and working more sustainably.”
Looking back over her years of training, Michelle can see a huge change in how her designs have developed. And she credits the different courses with helping her find her own style.
“I’ve trained with some of the best flower schools in the country. Each has been different. But I’ve found my own vibe now with natural, scented, textured flowers.”
When working with clients, Michelle has a very customer-focused approach. It all begins with an initial consultation to uncover their vision and ideas. Then, she arranges another consultation a couple of months before the event. This could be one or two years after the first meeting, so it’s important to check for any changes.
“Two years is a long time and, often, clients can have changed their mind. One bride had a complete colour palette change. So, by having a second consultation, I can make sure they’re happy with the final flowers.”
When Michelle resurrected her business in 2020, it was from a 6x12ft shed in the garden. But soon, everything began overspilling into the house. And she was using pubs and coffee shops for consultation meetings.
“I wanted to move out of the shed for a long time. I felt it would give me a clearer mindset and make the distinction that I was running a business not a hobby. I also thought it was noisy and unprofessional to hold client consultations in public places. I wanted to find and create an ambient space where clients could relax when discussing their event.”
Michelle began looking at the different options available in the area. Her husband Neil, founder of Ginger Fox Studio, had been a previous tenant at The Business Village so it was high on the list.
“Neil had nothing but praise for the support offered by Lyndsey and Kevin at The Business Village. It’s also a central location with great motorway links. Any of my clients coming from Sheffield or Leeds can get here easily, and park for free. I have 24/7 access too, which is vital as floral deliveries for events can arrive as early as 4am on the day.”
Michelle is renting a unit which has enough table space to make up the floral displays for her clients. And it’s right next to a parking area which is perfect for loading her van with flowers. She’s also been able to create a relaxing area to invite clients for meetings.
“Being part of The Business Village community will give me more people to connect with. Now I’m in a professional setting, I’m hoping that business will snowball so I can reduce my employed hours.”
Michelle’s dream is to run her business full-time. She also has ambitions to move into a bigger space at The Business Village in the future.
“I’d love to run workshops and events from my own space, rather than having to book venues elsewhere. I want my business to give me a comfortable income and for people to enjoy my designs. I always aim to give my clients excellent customer service, and to source the best flowers I can find. I’m also open to developing new ideas. So, if something’s not listed on my website, it’s always worth getting in touch for a chat.”
Get in touch with Michelle at Olive May Floral Design:
Tel: 07369 246778