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Case study

Evolve grows its business as well as flowers

Helen Chambers explains how the Growth Hub helped her to take control of her rapidly growing business.

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What does the business do?

Based in Pinchbeck, Spalding, flower wholesaler Evolve Flowers Ltd specialises in seasonal British blooms. Founded by Helen Chambers in 2017 after she noticed a gap in the market for homegrown flowers, Evolve’s British-borne beauties are in demand by both florists and direct consumers alike.

 

What’s the history?

Helen has been in the flowers and plants industry for over three decades. During the last 30 years, she has worked as a professionally trained florist, a tutor and as a product development manager for supermarkets. Although Helen has experienced multiple facets of the industry, she didn’t start supplying British-grown flowers direct to florists until after a chance encounter at British Flower Week 2018.

Helen explains: “Fellow florists were asking ‘Why can’t I get my hands on these beautiful British flowers like you can? My answer was ‘because I’m from South Lincolnshire where they are grown!’”

“As a florist, I knew what my target audience was looking for.”

She decided to give wholesaling a go, and in just two years Helen’s business has grown from a one-woman operation to a whole team. However, the demand for homegrown British flowers means that the business has taken off more quickly than anticipated – turnover increased by 500% during the pandemic, with people wanting to send flowers to friends and loved ones. She knew she needed expert advice and guidance to manage the increased demand for her services.

 

How has business Lincolnshire helped?

After hearing about the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub through NVB’s Starting in Business course, Helen got in touch to see if they could help her to manage her rapidly expanding business. She was assigned a Growth Hub Adviser, who provided ongoing mentorship and advice in a range of areas including accessing funding, skills building and management. She was also offered a business diagnostic to help identify Evolve’s strengths and weaknesses, so she could use what she’d learned to strengthen her business moving forward.

What’s next?

Evolve has recently been added to the Good Florist Guide, an exclusive list of florists that only accepts the industry’s best and brightest. To be accepted, florists must submit a portfolio and receive an accreditation for their efforts. Evolve is also a two-time finalist in the British Florist Association’s annual awards, receiving nominations in the ‘Best Local Wholesaler of the Year’ category in both 2020 and 2021.

Helen said: “It’s extremely difficult starting up a new business, especially when it runs a bit faster than you anticipated – it’s like chasing after a rollercoaster!

“The Growth Hub Advisers understand the challenges that a new business faces and can link you up with the tools and resources to make your business a success. Their ongoing support made me feel less alone with my ideas and helped me to identify my business’s strengths and weaknesses. I was able to come up with a plan of action moving forward – I’d definitely recommend that other businesses get in touch.”

Find out more about Evolve Flowers on their website.