Nicola Downie is without doubt the most qualified florist in Caerphilly.
Nicola Downie works very hard to achieve being an award winning florist who has been featured on television as well as in the press.
She says that she never stops learning and becoming a “good florist” and the best florist in Caerphilly has taken 10 years and she has been a qualified florist for over 20 years.
Nicola has not had an easy journey and has had to work very hard in economically challenging times to create her own business which is called “The Caerphilly Florist”. Her shop looks over Caerphilly Castle and she says she has the best view in Caerphilly.
Nicola started off here career as a florist in Cardiff where she worked for Eric Roberts who she says “was quite a character” and run his business like he was still in the forces.
Nicola says their is no great secret to being a good florist.
- You have to really want to be a florist.
- You have to be driven to be a better florist than you were yesterday.
- You have to be prepared to work in cold conditions to keep the flowers fresh.
- You have to care for your flowers and make sure the flowers are properly conditioned and always put into fresh water.
- You have to bin flowers before they have peaked otherwise you have created a bouquet, hand tied arrangement of flowers that will not last.
- You have to smile every day.
- You must understand what your customer wants and wishes are.
In other words you have to be prepared to work very hard in an environment where the product is as delicate as a flowers and be prepared to do it seven days a week be it sun, rain, snow or fog because your customers are the people that need you for happy and sad occasions.
A typical day for Nicola starts at 6.00 am to be ready for the daily delivery from the flower market in Cardiff She then has to check all of the flowers that have arrived to make sure all of the stems are in perfect condition. She then has to condition the flowers and puts them directly into fresh water ready for the shop to open. She then has to put a selection of fresh flowers outside of the shop front to let the public and the people that drive past the beautiful flowers that have just arrived. When she opens her doors at 9.00 am she never knows who is going to walk through the door. It can be a bride wanting her to do wedding flowers, it could be someone distraught wanting funeral flowers, it can be a bouquet of flowers to say I love you, it can be an arrangement of flowers for the home, it can be a bunch of flowers saying I am sorry for a variety of reasons.
It can be a busy day, it can be a quiet day. In fact the only times it is guaranteed to be busy are Mothers Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Easter and when the children break up for school during the summer holidays.
Nicola says that being The Caerphilly Florist has given her a lot of satisfaction.
She says the pleasure is in exceeding her customers expectations. Flowers are alive and one of the few ways an emotion can be transferred without words; be it a wedding, funeral, birthday, or any other special occasion.