Close your eyes. Good. Now, imagine a vase of artificial flowers on the windowsill. What do you see? Odd pale green stems with rough, obvious, plastic edges? Polyester petals faded by sunlight? The dusty remnants of cobwebs?
It’s pretty fair to say manmade flowers have had a bad rep over the years. We’ve all seen them in restaurants and cafés, festering in a corner. Hardly inspiring. But Suffolk florist Ashlee wants to change that perception. Her faux flower business, The Suffolk Nest, spawned last year during lockdown, has taken off at a rate of knots, with nearly 30k followers on Instagram, and orders coming in from across the world.
“It’s been very organic,” says former sales manager Ashlee of The Suffolk Nest’s success. “It was never my intent to do this. I had a full-time job in the corporate world. It was very different – but it did teach me a lot about business and spreadsheets,” she laughs.
Ashlee began making wreaths for friends and family, and eventually went on to set up her own floristry business. When the pandemic hit, Ashlee turned from making floral arrangements for weddings, to producing DIY wreath-making kits...and she sold hundreds upon hundreds. “I couldn’t believe it. We were overwhelmed. I started The Suffolk Nest on Instagram as an account about our home, and it became something else entirely.”
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