This week, we present an interview with Paul Stevens, business partner at Inspirations Florist. Paul has worked with Inspirations for the past 10 years, and has been involved in developing Inspirations’ core business strategies.
Read on to find out how Paul tackles our questions, and discover some of the secrets of success for Inspirations Florist.
Q: Paul, you are now the face of Inspirations Florist. Was this something you expected when you started working at Inspirations?
Paul: Not at all, when starting out it was more about the business than becoming a face of the community. I think people started to associate me with the weather, as I am a Huddersfield Examiners weatherman! The two went hand in hand as people would pop in to see me not only for a beautiful arrangement of flowers, but to get some advice on the weather forecast.
Q: You have worked very closely with Corey and run the Inspirations’ Salendine Nook store. What were the things that worked best between Corey and you?
Paul: My expertise is in business, I come from a long line of management roles and in my last career I was the head of operations for a large multi national organisation. Corey, however, is artistic and creative. He knows how to make a beautiful arrangement and how to style something bespoke to your needs. Together we have created a service that guarantees satisfaction in all areas because of our varied skills.
Q: ‘Successful florist’ or ‘successful businessman’: which one better describes you, and why?
Paul: It would have to be ‘businessman’, I understand how to get people through the door of our company, and how to deal with that customer to make sure they are happy. My skill set is focused more on the customers’ journey. This being said, I do not let floral quality slip, as this is very much another tool in creating a successful business. Great quality flowers and service, both go hand in hand and make us the company we are today.
Q: What do you think is the USP of Inspirations Florist that sets it apart from other florists in Huddersfield?
Paul: There are a number of selling points with which we feel we need to recreate in order to have a successful business. The first is location: the shop must be in a place that is convenient to our customers. This does not always mean a high priced central location, but more a highly populated, affluent one, where people will shop locally. The second is flower supply: we work with a great supplier who offers us fresh flowers to our door, which ensures the customer is receiving flowers that will last twice as long as those from a supermarket. Everyone that comes in to our shop should feel welcome and appreciated. We know not everyone knows what to buy someone when it comes to flowers, so we talk though the customer’s needs to ensure recipient can be given the perfect gift.
Q: What were the challenges that you faced in making Inspirations Florist the brand that it is today?
Paul: Understanding the changes in floristry within the last ten years has been an obstacle. In this business you need to be able to adapt to the times and the needs of the buying public, still offering value for money within a narrow range of products.
Q: Which (if any) of these do you think is the most important to your business: quality assurance, quick service, or personalised service?
Paul: Personalised service and value for money are our main objectives. Our focus is on treating customers as an individual aiming to meet their personal needs. However, all the above are important to running a successful business.
Q: Can you name some of the key ingredients for making a successful florist brand?
Paul: Quality flowers from a good supplier that can offer a quick turn around time with flowers that last at least two weeks. Good service – turn up, do your job and do it well. Choose your locations well – customers want convenience in order for us to compete with the bigger branded stores.
Q: We hear about a new store in the pipeline. What is the plan?
Paul: We now feel we have a business model that works. We feel we can drive our brand forward by using what we have learnt over the last 15 years. We have our sights on opening a third store, but we are keeping our cards close to our chest. Now with the help of our new partners at Inspirations Waterloo, we feel we can begin focusing on the bigger picture.