Name: Belinda Jarron.
Age: 53 years old.
What is your company called?
Flowering plant landscapes.
Where is he based?
What does it produce, what services does it offer?
We create plant displays and plant landscapes for some of the best known businesses and events in Scotland and the UK
Who is it sold to?
Commercial premises and event operators.
What is its turnover?
How many employees?
When was it formed?
Why did you take the leap?
My parents and grandparents were self-employed, so it was always expected that one day I would run my own business. I grew up with a passion for plants and gardens, and did a BSC in horticulture, so the two eventually came together to create Fleurtations. We celebrated our 30th anniversary last year.
What were you doing before taking the leap?
I had a brief flirtation with corporate life after going to Cambridge University to do a Masters, and was offered a job with a surveying company in London. I thought about it to see what the starting salary was, but I always knew I would take the plunge and work with the plants. Even back then they were doing biometric testing and the report I got was incredibly accurate – the lure of horticulture was too strong.
How did you raise the start-up funds?
I applied to the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust. They were very supportive in the first few years and are a fantastic organization. Of course, you couldn’t make do with Google’s funding options back then, but I found out about it through the University of Stirling’s Graduate Business Program. I was 22 at this point and my parents thought I would never quit school!
What was your biggest break?
The most impactful was securing a contract with famed car care contractor Sir Tom Farmer. He was speaking at East Lothian Business Club in Aberlady. A friend insisted that I go prospect it, which I finally did after an initial protest, and he asked me to do the plants at his headquarters. Over the years he gave me incredible advice and was a true champion. He really made a difference. I saw him again a few years ago and he was so thrilled that I went to talk to him.
What was your worst moment?
The pandemic. I honestly thought I was going to lose everything. I feel like I have PTSD now. We are about to undergo a post-Covid reset and have brought in a business coach to help us review our systems, review the culture and just heal. The pandemic was a terrible situation. I knew it wasn’t me causing the problem, but some people lost their jobs. It was a horrible position to occupy. The personal and the professional are so intertwined in a small business and it takes its toll. I’m sure there are plenty of other business owners who will have gone through the same thing.
What do you enjoy most about running the business?
I love plants! The business coach said, ‘what would you like more time to do?’ and I answered ‘be in my garden!’. It’s a privilege to be surrounded by your passion and innovating in plants is exciting on a daily basis. We do it because we love it.
What do you like the least?
Lead the team when there are not enough people. Everyone knows where we want to go, but we can’t quite get there because there aren’t enough people. We are recruiting at the moment, but as in all sectors, it is a challenge to say the least.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
When people don’t complete a task. I’m a finisher/finisher, so when people leave things unfinished, it drives me crazy. I just can’t understand it.
What are your ambitions for the firm?
It’s been the same for 30 years – I just want to keep doing what we’re doing. At the minute plants are extremely popular. The quality of leads we are receiving right now is phenomenal. We had almost hit the perfect spot in March 2020 and then it all evaporated. But it’s back to the same level – people are really into factories right now and it’s the best business to be in. I just wish there were more of us so I could do more.
What are your five priorities?
Building the team; expand the space; maintaining high standards; having weekends off; for the team to be happy and for the culture to evolve.
What could the governments of Westminster and/or Scotland do to help?
Improve mobile phone and internet coverage across Scotland. Even when going from Edinburgh to places in East Lothian my calls are dropped – and that seems utterly ridiculous to me. I can’t even work from home because of this. We need to work across Scotland – and I’m sure many others do too – and we need to be connected. It’s quite pathetic in the 21st century.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned?
My husband came to work with me and didn’t want to do things my way, which led to friction. A personal investment coach asked me if I had considered our strengths to be our differences. So the lesson is that things don’t always have to be my way (even if it’s better).