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Tall, friendly and chatty

In theory James Crompton should claim the 'in my blood' reason for becoming a florist ... in reality he had absolutely no desire. Indeed it was more by chance than plan that he ended up doing it ... or became a freelance writer for The Florist either!! However he loves them both - so much so he's written his own Person Profile!! Read on to find out why.

How did you get to where you are today? I’m technically a 3rd generation florist so I suppose there’s a nice cliché “it’s in my blood/it was my destiny” angle ripe for taking advantage of, but truthfully it was never my plan or even in my thoughts to be a florist.

It was 2012, I was 20 years old and had decided that University wasn’t for me. I was totally sick of education and if I’m honest with myself, I was a little bit lazy and really couldn’t get excited about another 3 years of sitting in lectures. Funnily enough I had offers to go and study sports journalism, so the irony that I now work part time as journalist for The Florist Magazine isn’t lost on me.

At the time, I was working for a very well-known high street technology retailer, repairing computers. The money was rubbish, the hours were inconsistent and the management were under too much pressure to deliver strong sales figures to care about my problems. It got to the stage where I was so utterly miserable that I just up and left. I asked my mum and dad if I could help out in their florist shop whilst I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.

Well, we all know what happens next, right? It didn’t take me too long to fall in love with the business. It started with me just helping to get the website redesigned, getting some social media presence and just generally dragging what was a tired business into the 21st century.

My parents had worked so hard at it for so long and I was so very lucky to walk into a well-established business with an excellent local reputation. We ran the business quietly, happily and successfully together and then in 2017 I was given the opportunity to work part time for Florismart. That really opened a whole lot of doors and it enabled me to make a lot of industry friends and contacts. I enjoyed that job an awful lot and will always be very grateful to Florismart for allowing me to be a part of what was a very exciting project at the time.

Fast forward a few years to now and despite taking the decision to close my shop in 2021, I’m still very much involved with flowers as I now work as in house florist for Tom Owen & Son, a busy and well-respected independent funeral director in North Wales. I’m learning about the funeral industry too which I’m very much enjoying and hope to be able to serve my local community as a funeral director myself within the next couple of years.

What 3 words best describe you?

Tall, friendly, chatty!

Best business decision?

Scaling back on small weddings and concentrating more on higher margin gift and funeral work. I’m not saying for one second that everyone should do it, but when I worked out roughly how long I was spending catering for loads and loads of small weddings and how much other work I was probably turning away to accommodate customers who in most instances had little to no value for my skill or my time, it very quickly became a no-brainer and I never looked back. I really didn’t miss the faffing around trying to squeeze a profit out of the smaller weddings either!

Worst business decision?

Ugh, I got stung a couple of times spending quite a bit of money on daft print campaigns. The ones where some idiot sales rep rolls up in a white Audi, struts into your shop in one of those stupid skinny fit suits, wearing a watch so big that you’re surprised he can lift his hand more than a few inches off his waist and promises you the earth in exchange for signing up for half a page in their flashy brochure that’s definitely going to be handed out to every client in all the big local weddings venues? Not that I’m still bitter or anything.

What turns your stomach and why?

When I am working on a funeral and the moment the family walk over to the hearse and see the flower display(s) I’ve made. That split second where I’m waiting for a reaction and my mind runs away with itself, terrified they might not like what I’ve created. Thankfully it hasn’t happened yet but in truth, I’m grateful to always be nervous, it keeps me humble. It reminds me that I always care deeply about my work and that I hold myself to the highest standards. How do you relax?

Since the turn of 2022 I’ve not had a lot of time to relax, and I like it that way. I enjoy being busy. When I do get some down time, I play World of Warcraft (don’t judge!). I love playing tennis and I enjoy going to the gym and keeping fit.

What’s your biggest pet hate?

I won’t go into too much detail here because I’m currently writing an article on it but my biggest pet hate currently is the seemingly endless tsunami of really toxic negativity that I read on so many of the different florist groups on social media. There’s nothing that saps away at my soul more.

What is something you dream of doing?

I would really love for my work to take me overseas at some point in my life.

What do you find most difficult?

I guess the same issues that many people face. The challenge of living a good life in 21st century society! Working hard, maintaining something resembling a social life, taking care of myself, keeping my house clean and tidy and trying to live so that my existence isn’t destroying the planet? It’s a lot and sometimes it gets on top of me a little.

Is the customer always right?

Yes, certainly in my line of work. Everything we do, we do at the request and in the best interests of the families that we serve. Going the extra mile and exceeding expectations is an absolute must every single time. The customer pays the bills!

Most cringe-worthy moment of your career?

I try not to talk about this too often as every now and again I still have nightmares about it. A few years ago when we were right in the middle of relocating to a new premises, I almost forgot a wedding. Yep, you read that right. Long story short, we arrived with seconds to spare before the ceremony to a very stressed bride whose money I refunded in full for the inconvenience. She was a lot nicer about it than she needed to be and I’ll always be thankful for that, she could have crucified me. A thousand lessons were learned that day!

Best piece of advice to someone just starting out in the industry?

Network, network, network! It’s a small industry so having friends and contacts both near and far will prove totally invaluable to you and your business. Be humble and be grateful for people’s time and advice and be prepared to give favours yourself. When you have a few years and some knowledge under your belt, remember to pay it forward to the next generation of new blood in the industry. That’s how we all both survive and improve.

You’re stranded on a desert island, only one flower grows there. Which would you choose?

Oh, Lilacs! I’ll probably get pretty hungry but at least it will smell lovely.

And finally, the plug …

Tom Owen & Son are an award-winning, family run, independent community Funeral Director situated in the beautiful setting of Llandudno, Conwy.

Established in 1930, we have a wealth of experience and have been serving the local and neighbouring communities for many years. Led by the husband and wife-to-be team of Tristan and Kelly, they are supported by Chris, James and Vicky. We are people first and funeral directors second.

We will empower you to create a bespoke funeral for the person who has died. We understand that the death of someone you know can be an emotional time, that’s why we are on hand to support you with all aspects of the funeral and ensure that the person that has died is looked after with the utmost care and respect.

Our professional and thoughtful team, are available 24 hours a day throughout the year, can provide you with inspiration and guidance. At Tom Owen and Son, we strive to be accessible and inclusive with our services and will encourage you to be as involved as you wish.


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