An interview with @Textfromafriend
I recently featured on @textfromafriend 's Blog and I wanted to share our chat on here too...
Who are you/what do you do?
I’m Lizzie - flower and gardening obsessed. I started the The Rose Press Garden in 2020. It’s all about making gardening modern, fun and easy. Step by Step guides and ‘How To’ videos showing you how simple it can be growing gorgeous flowers from seed. Easy to follow guides, carefully chosen collections and high quality seeds.
How has Covid changed your business?
It gave me the time to focus on launching my business. I still work full time in Marketing, but was travelling 3 hours a day for my commute, so working from home has given me the opportunity to spend that time in the mornings and evenings on my new business.
Is there a story behind the name (if it's not your own?)
The name ‘The Rose Press Garden’ came from the name of my first house, and where my love for flowers and gardening changed from an interest to an obsession. Turning my house from a pile of mud and rubble into a flower-filled gardening has been so enjoyable. I named my house after my wonderful late Godmother Ros Press. Unfortunately she passed away at a young age and I wanted a special way to remember her - I know she’d be really proud of what I’ve achieved in the first 3 months of my business and the garden has been an amazing way to plant flowers in her honour too. The two roses climbing up my front garden porch were planted in her memory and I absolutely love when they first bloom - it brings me so much joy! Ros was very generous when it came to giving to charity and that’s why I am donating £1 from every product sold to Greenfingers, which help create magical gardens for children in hospices.
How old is the business and how did you get started?
I started The Rose Press Garden during the 2020 lockdown. I suddenly was working from home with less interaction, and the thing that kept me grounded during all the uncertainty was my garden. Walks around the garden with a cup of green tea in hand was a way to get outside for fresh air, and balanced the hours at my laptop. It was then that I realised how truly special my garden was to me. I'd often sit in the garden and watch all the bees and other pollinators visit my flowers. I found it so peaceful in a crazy world!
I ordered some seeds to sow to keep me busy during lockdown, and the package arrived with an advert for a reclining leather chair, life insurance and a holiday brochure- all clearly aimed at the elderly. It was so frustrating: I wanted to scream ‘YOUNG PEOPLE GARDEN TOO’. I realised there was no brand out there that appealed to me as a twenty-something gardener. Yet, gardening is brilliant for mental and physical health, and helps the environment!
So…I’m on a mission! To make gardening modern! There are no elasticated waistband trouser adverts, reclining chairs or stair lift leaflets with my products. I want to get more people into growing. Gardening needn’t be dull or boring! It can be SO much fun. Often people are renting or buying their first homes and don’t know where to start. Yet, we spend hundreds of pounds each year on decorating our houses, so why not make your outside area look fab too? It’s basically an outdoor room!
Do you have a style? What are you known for?
I’m still working on and developing my brand as it still in such an early stage, but I want to continue to be modern, fun and engaging. I love any flower that is pretty and that is reflected in my new product range which launches 1st December. I want to be known for being the brand that inspires young adults to give gardening a go, to pick a trowel and to plant seeds! There are so many inspiring garden figures, but not many in their 20’s, and I want to change that!
Who/what/where inspires you?
I absolutely love looking around stately homes and their gardens for inspiration, and my favourite day of the year (better than Christmas!) is going to RHS Chelsea Flower Show. One of my dreams would be to have a garden or stand at the show! I think seeing other people sharing their flowers and plants on Instagram is also really inspiring and means my list of plants to try gets longer and longer!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I really wanted to be a Barrister or lawyer when growing up, but did work experience and it wasn’t creative enough for me. I then found Marketing was a lovely balance between business and being creative!
What advice would you give your younger self?
I’ve always been ambitious, positive and put myself forwards for all sorts of things so I would encourage myself to keep doing that and keep asking questions! I’d also tell myself that it’s ok to not know all the answers - it’s ok to work things out as you go along.
How did you learn your craft?
I learnt so much from my mum; I grew up growing Sunflowers, planting courgettes and making rose perfume from petals. Then I guess I ‘made it up as I went along’ with my own garden - experimenting and trying new things. I am now studying for RHS Level 2 exams which is so interesting and giving me some lovely rigour behind my knowledge.
What do you do on your days off?
When not working 9-5 in my day job, or working on this new business in evening and weekends, I will be donning my gardening gloves - but if not, you'll find me playing GD on a netball court, eating a picnic on a North Norfolk beach or having a day out shopping with friends.
Biggest highlight or achievement to date?
My biggest highlight was being chosen by Holly Tucker as a Small Business Inspirator. I was only 3 weeks into my new business so it was a huge honour to be with a list of amazing businesses who had been established for years. I was in the middle of packing up Flower Seed Advent Calendars and was at a time where I had invested all my savings into product, but hadn’t sold any yet - ( I definitely had imposter syndrome and was really worried that I’d be thought of as silly) so it was just the motivation I needed! Then selling out of my first product was also a massive highlight for me.
I am still so early on in my business so I think I probably have some of the biggest struggles to come… I think it will be persuading the gardening industry that there needs to be a change and that we need more modern brands to encourage new shoppers, but maybe I will be proved wrong?!
What sparks joy in what you do?
For me, what sparks real joy is when someone messages me to say they have really enjoyed receiving one of my products, or have gifted it to a loved one and it’s given them joy. I also absolutely love when I have recommended a flower or plant and someone has then gone out and bought it and grown it from seed and shared how much happiness they get from it flowering.
Dream stockists/brand to collaborate with?
Dobbies is the largest Garden Centre chain in the UK so that would be a dream come true. I’ve already mentioned it, but having a stand at RHS Chelsea Flower Show would be INCREDIBLE!
Any lessons you'd pass on?
Just go for it! I have wanted to launch a business for a long while but never really had the balls to ‘just go for it’. Now that I have I feel so positive about the future. So anyone who has been debating an idea, my advice would be to GO FOR IT!
What's next for you and your business?
I have already started making plans for the New Year, one of my aims is to make my business more eco friendly and sustainable all round.
Exciting times in the next few months - launching my first range of flower seed collections online and then the next big mission will be getting listings in Garden Centres and stores! I feel so passionate about what I am doing and I can’t wait to see all the lovely gardens blooming with flowers next year.