Name: Freddie Garland
Where’s home? South West London
Profession: Not sure what to call it…
Company Name: Freddie’s Flowers
What did you study at university and what grade did you leave with?
Leeds University, Popular and World Music, 3rd
Was it a clear-cut path in terms of what you would do after you left?
No! A 3rd in Popular and World music from Leeds doesn’t open the world up to you, but it made me very motivated afterwards. I would like to highlight not an ounce of work was done at university!
What is Freddie’s Flowers?
A weekly delivery of fresh flowers, direct from the grower, ready to be arranged and plonked in a vase.
How did the idea for Freddie’s Flowers come about?
My dad used to own a flower shop in Pimlico for 30 years, and my mum was one of the florists, so I knew a bit about flowers. Then the first job I had out of university was to do some canvassing (AKA door to door sales) for Abel & Cole, the organic fruit and veg delivery company. I thought flowers were a lot more fun than vegetables so everyone’s going to love receiving them every week as well. And they did!
What were the challenges in initially setting up Freddie’s Flowers?
Managing everything on your own. I would be up at 3am, so I could be at the flower market, then I’d have to get home to my mum and dad’s where I had a tent out in the garden (otherwise known as my make shift warehouse), before packing up the boxes with my mum and delivering the flowers door to door. The day was never quite over though as once the flowers were delivered, I’d have to get right back out there tempting in some more customers.
Who did you seek advice from and who really helped you in the early stages?
My mum firstly – she knows a lot about flowers and came to the market with me to help select the flowers, and then pack the boxes. Also from Keith Abel, who owned Abel & Cole, and gave me a bit of money to get up and running.
Did you ever doubt yourself that you could do it?
No I actually didn’t. I was so sure it was a good idea, and had more than enough energy, that I just felt very alive and excited through the early stages (and now!)- I think that’s important.
How do you market Freddie’s Flowers?
The only way I know how – through knocking on people’s doors and seeing if they want to give it a go. I started out doing this with the help of two of my younger brothers friends, Harry and another friend Freddie (both of who are still here today)- I still have lots of my brother’s friends helping me now. I also find actors and musicians to help me with this, as they are often in and out of work and this suits them really well. We have a lot of fun with big groups of us running around London spreading the floral gospel.
What sets you a part from your competitors?
I want people to understand the true value of buying flowers for themselves, along with learning about them and how to arrange them. Each box comes with careful instructions on how best to arrange their bunch, with info about each flower. Flowers are a lot of fun as well, and I want this to come across in each delivery, which I am confident it does!
What do you wish you had known then that you know now?
I really can’t think of anything.
Any personality traits you have discovered about yourself along the way?
That I really like working and I don’t mind taking selfies.
Any utter disasters along the way?
The first delivery vehicle I bought was a milk float from Leeds. Terrible idea. I forgot to test drive it in Leeds and realized on getting it back to London it had a top speed of 6mph. Adding to this was the issue that I couldn’t get a resident permit for it outside my parent’s home, so it had to double as my office to avoid getting parking tickets, until I could sell it.
What has been your best moment so far as a result of setting up FF? We have had 2 summer and 2 Christmas parties and they are absolutely mental. These have been my highlights because we have the best team of people I could hope for, and we are all together in one room, from the canvassers to the drivers, and have a full on party. Followed by bacon sandwiches in the office the next morning.
What advice would you give other twenty-something’s who are thinking of pursuing a career in the same industry as you?
If you think it’s a good idea, then so will everyone else. You have to just go for it.
What do you think the next steps are for you this year?
To carry on exactly how I am now, cementing the fact that having fresh flowers in your home all the time is completely normal, and will make you much happier.
What’s the dream?
To ensure everyone understands the worth of flowers, and how much happiness they can bring you. If everyone took 20 minutes out of their day to arrange a beautiful bunch of flowers, then we would live in a lovely world.
Finish the end of these sentences…
- In your twenties the three things I tend to think about are…I think there are only two things – work and my dog Claude – fun, eh?!
- When I look at my bank statement after a night out I usually…don’t care because I never do.
- The Twenty Mile Club….what a lovely idea. Well done Char!