Got a burning business idea and the perfect opportunity but not quite ready to push the button? Don’t worry – if it’s meant to be, it’ll be, says Lorna Aitchison, owner of Floral Request in Ellon. Here, she tells us how accidentally falling into florals was the best thing that could have happened to her and reminds us why Ellon is the perfect place to set up shop…

Bringing beautiful blooms to Ellon, one stem at a time

“After years in finance and customer service, little did I know that faffing with my garden would lead to my dream career! As the satisfaction in my day job dwindled, I fell more in love with flowers. Some courses gave me confidence and before I knew it, I was getting regular floral commissions. Then the owner of what was The Flower Shop in Ellon approached me to buy the business.

It was exciting and having been brought up in a small town I knew it was important to keep independent, local shops alive. But I wasn’t ready and didn’t have the finances.

Over the next year, though, we kept talking and my business kept booming – I had to give it a go. It was a big risk and a lot of pennies, and I was very, very nervous. But I kept telling myself that if anyone could make it work, I could.

My career to date gave me a great foundation for launching a business. I had passion and determination, plus there was a definite gap in the market. My real USP would be my extra services – home visits for funeral arrangements; evening and weekend appointments for weddings, and a wider delivery area.

I wanted customers to feel relaxed and comfortable in our store, and to make sure we provided for all budgets. When shopping myself, I avoid places you feel like you have to buy, or where I’ve been frightened to hear what things cost when I get to the till. I definitely didn’t want my customers to feel this way.

Ten years on, I have four staff (all local with a great knowledge of the community and our products) and we do flowers for all occasions, plus gifts, cards, balloons, ribbons and chocolates.

It’s not been the easy job some people may think it is. There’s a lot more to it than playing with flowers – long hours, tough peak periods and challenging requests. But that’s what makes it so rewarding. I feel blessed to be doing a job I love, where I can create for others.”

Lorna Aitchison of Floral Request, Ellon, Aberdeenshire

I love #ellonlife because…

“It’s beautiful town with people who are friendly, welcoming and supportive. There is so much on our doorstep, from relaxing walks, historic landmarks and parks, to shops, restaurants and bars. I’d wholeheartedly recommend setting up a business here. The Ellon Traders Association, our community and our loyal customers make sure we survive and flourish.”

Quickfire Q&A

Best bit so far?
When we revamped the original shop to suit my modern vision. And seeing customer and recipient reactions, of course!

What’s been the trickiest part of having your own business?
The insecurity, fear and anxiety! However, I’m pleased to report that this can be overcome with determination, positive thinking and support from family, friends and customers.

What will Floral Request look like in five years’ time?
I know there will be big moves online but I hope there will always still be a small florist serving the local community – perhaps even providing more stock from British growers.

Fact file

Floral Request
Address: 2 Ythan Terrace, Ellon, AB41 9LJ
Call: 01358 720401

Open: Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9.30am until 2pm, and Tuesday/Thursday from 9.30am until 1pm. Saturdays are reserved for delivery-only. Please note: These hours are subject to seasonal change and Floral Request’s website and Facebook has the up-to-date information.

Floral Request Shop Window Display, Ellon

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