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Passionate, Loyal and Loud!

Wendy Rea’s passion for flowers started when she started as a Saturday girl at 13. It got her totally hooked and at 22 she bought a shop and from there went onto own a number of shops in the North West with her late husband Bill.

Throughout her career, which included senior roles at Interflora, she has been privileged to work and train with some amazing florists and has demonstrated and trained commercial floristry all over the world.

10 years ago she sold her last businesses to her Managers and now continues her passion for the job and the industry as a consultant with Direct2Florist.

We caught up with Wendy for a quick fire Q & A which totally captures her blunt, fair and sometimes downright funny approach to the industry she feels so passionately about.

Three words that best describe you?

Passionate, Loyal, Loud! No one has ever said "Wendy can you speak up?"!

Describe your design style.

This is a hard one as the designs that I come up with for Direct2florist have to be able to be replicated by 800 florists and be liked by thousands of customers. I can’t design just what I like!

Where do you go to look for design inspiration?

I am forever on anything to do with floristry . I look at colour trends for the coming seasons and look at high end designs to see how I can tweak to a more commercial level.

What do you see trending in floral design?

Obviously no foam and cello is going to be very challenging in commercial work . But we have to try. I’m pulling my hair out as we speak thinking about the next products.

What's out?

Cellophane around bouquets. We can just about get away with putting a water bubble in cellophane but it has to be limited.

Proudest design moment?

Every time we put out a new range and I get positive comments back from members. Don’t get me wrong I get the odd critical ones as well!!!

What turns your stomach and why?

How many things am I allowed???

Poor shop displays outside shops such as Dutch cream buckets or dead plants!!! Why should anyone want to go in your shop if this is what you have as your advert?

Tatty shop fronts. Paint does not cost a lot!

Polypropylene ribbon on gift work. If you don’t want to use nice ribbon use raffia.

What’s your favourite flower?

Although I love the look of Oriental lilies I can’t stand the smell !

How important is it for florists to find ways of creating more sustainable floristry and do customers care?

Moving forward it is really important that florists create more sustainable products because, believe you me, those big boys are on it as we speak. Customers care and so should we. It would be wonderful if the packaging companies could come up with more cost effective ideas as most are so expensive we find it hard to warrant the cost at the moment .

Who are your heroes in the world of floristry and why?

All those people in the flower industry over the years that have freely given their huge wealth of knowledge and skills. We need to encourage more so that we don’t lose it forever.

Where do you find inspiration outside the flower world?

I am passionate about anything to do with home interiors and gardens and buy far too many magazines. I also love going to trade fairs to see what’s happening gift wise .

What did you learn from the pandemic and did it change your perspective or goals?

Working with Direct2florist and all our members during this time re kindled that time of feeling like a florist family again . A bit like the old days of Interflora where everyone was working together to get those deliveries of messages out to the public who couldn’t meet. You felt as if your hard work was really appreciated. This was an opportunity to show what a fantastic service florists give and hopefully we kept those customers. As florists we have an uphill battle with the boxed guys so we need to keep up this wonderful service.

What are you most excited about in the next year……

Attending industry get togethers like the Good Florist Guide events and BFA Fleurex in the Autumn as its great to get together and talk and learn. We also have lots of new things happening at Direct2florist. Some are to do with our fantastic technology and others are things such as designing a new collection.

Where do you see the future for florists and floristry?

It’s not going to get easier but I’m very positive. Florists need every avenue of orders that they can get so long as they are profitable. They need great websites, lovely looking shops and the ability to change. Just because you’ve done something for ever doesn’t mean now that its right . Be prepared to change .

Best business decision?

Changing my focus to working on the business rather than in it.

Worst business decision?

Thanking that as a florist I didn’t need to bother with technology!!! Big, big mistake.

If you weren't in the flower industry what would you like to do?

I would have loved to have been an M.P!!!!!

The perfect day to recharge your batteries?

Cook for friends then drink lots of red wine!!!!

Greatest indulgence?


What's your biggest pet hate about the flower industry?

How supermarkets don’t need to make much profit on flowers so virtually give them away and make florists look expensive.

What did you find most difficult about running a florist shop?

Staff and customers!!! Seriously I was so lucky with amazing staff over my time. In fact my managers who bought my shops had been with me for between 27 and 36 years . A lot of my ex staff have their own businesses now.

Is the customer always right?


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

Please don’t think because you can do a hand tied you are a florist. Do training. Learn every aspect of the job which means understanding profit margins and buying. Do your research about floristry as a profession.

Best bit of advice for someone who’s been trading a while and is getting stale/weary/losing their mojo!!

Get yourself to industry events .. all of them! I know it’s tough finding the time and has a cost but it is so worth it. Watch inspirational media events like the Flower Circus interviews. Meeting and talking to other florists will be a huge boost not only in spirit but probably in profits.

What’s your best marketing tip to florists? Facebook or Insta, reels and videos or something else ... and why?

All the usual things such as Facebook Insta etc but the most important is a good website. Having said that, you still need to get your website out there. Try an A board outside your shop saying you are open 24 hours a day and add your website address!!! Your customer may be driving past but can order later.

How do you keep the team motivated?

As part of the team I work mainly from home but make a point of going into the office regularly to catch up with everyone. Feeling appreciated is worth a lot. Simon the MD is very much hands on and as a small team we are very much like a family and regularly go out for meals together. My cakes seem to go down well!

What has been your biggest achievement?

Raising two fabulous successful daughters whilst working 60 hour weeks.

What’s something you dream of doing?

Winning the lottery and making a lot of people very happy.

Most cringe-making moment of your career?

Doing a presentation at a BFA event having had a great night with so much red wine that my hands shook all the way through and I did the worst presentation ever.

What's one thing you would tell your younger self?

Don’t trust everyone.

And finally, the plug… a chance to promote the business and why people should use it or recommend it. No more than 100 words please – we will insert your contact details and a link to your website.

I have so enjoyed being part of Direct2florist and seeing it grow over the last few years and knowing I have been a part of it. The company is thoughtful and kind and really does work in partnership with its members, investing everything possible, both financially and personally into getting more orders for local florists.


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