The story behind Making an Entrance UK - the online flower boutique
- Credit: Archant
Wendy Radley looks back on an eventful first year of trade for the online flower boutique.
I am delighted to be celebrating the first anniversary of my company; ‘Making an Entrance UK’ and reflecting on how much I have achieved so far.
I set up my business exactly a year ago. I previously had a successful career in teaching and web design at Warrington Borough Council. However, my real passion was always my hobby of creating beautiful gifts and home décor with flowers.
My interest in both preserved and faux flowers was initially sparked by my love for blooms in the home as they bring colour, beauty and such a feeling of contentment. However what I find disappointing with fresh flowers is how I would buy them each week only to watch them wilt and die, ultimately ending up in the bin within days. This seemed such a waste of money and I realised that I much prefer to see flowers growing in their natural environment outdoors.
With modern manufacturing techniques it is now possible to source the most incredibly life-like artificial flowers that not only look and feel real, they have the added bonus of requiring no maintenance and are also kind to allergy. These creations will remain looking beautiful for years which offers excellent value for money when compared to the cost of fresh that sadly last just a few days.
My horticultural jouney began with my new hobby of flower arranging. Something that I loved doing and I seemed to have a real talent for it. Initially I created floral décors for our home that would showcase the best seasonal faux flowers, foliage and fruits mirroring what Mother Nature had to offer outdoors in that particular time of year.
Wreaths, made from the finest quality faux flowers, could be hung from external and internal doors, fireplaces and mirrors; while, vase arrangements could be used for every room in the house and as centrepieces for the dining table and kitchen island.
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At the end of each season I would simply store the flowers away for the following year and replace with new creations to reflect the next season.
Soon friends and family visiting our home began to comment on the beautiful flowers, presuming they were fresh and from a florist which was a huge compliment. Over the years I was asked to create many wreaths and centrepieces for friends and family, and I would make them as gifts too which were always very well received.
My decision to turn a much-loved hobby into a business was prompted by a few things; Unfortunately, during 2017 I suffered a short but debilitating illness which led to my GP signing me off work for three months. I spent my days pottering around the garden, flower arranging and walking our two pooches: Rolo, a Labrador, and Sausage, a Labradoodle.
It was during many of these dog walks amongst the trees and wild flowers that I would find inspiration for my designs. Having always worked jobs, primarily to fit around my children and my husband, Andy’s successful career, our boys had grown into independent, young men and I felt I needed a re-evaluate my life; have a new focus and I felt ready for a challenge.
One day I decided to post a few photographs of our home with the Autumnal floral décor theme that I created on social media. The response was amazing; I received numerous requests from friends and acquaintances asking if I would consider making them for their homes too and that was the lightbulb moment for me. That was the moment that Making an Entrance became more than simply a pipe dream.
With Andy’s support I handed in my notice at work and couldn’t wait to start turning my dream into a reality; to create original designs of handmade floral décor and gifts featuring high quality, realistic-looking flowers that are long-lasting and therefore good value for money.
Within three short weeks I launched my online flower boutique, initially selling my handmade door wreaths, hence the name ‘Making an Entrance’. I worked day and night with a new fire in my belly and I loved every minute of it and amazingly my health improved also. I kitted out the double garage with shelving for storage and turned our large conservatory into my flower studio complete with a well-equipped workstation overlooking the garden and woods.
I launched my first full collection at the beginning of Autumn 2017, a range of hand-made door wreaths or ‘door couture’ as I like to call them, featuring beautiful everlasting roses, tiger chrysanthemums and sunflowers nestled amongst autumnal maple and oak leaves dotted with conkers, acorns, blackberries and apples.
Immediately the orders flooded in and my social media family of followers on Facebook and Instagram grew daily, the more photographs I shared of completed orders, the more orders I would then receive from others wanting the same thing for their own home or as a gift for a loved one. Wonderful product reviews and photographs were shared by my lovely clients. The reputation of the ‘Making an Entrance UK’ brand reached far and wide, becoming synonymous with original designs, hand-made using fine quality, long-lasting flowers, delivering personal customer service and courier delivery and sales continued to increase, not just throughout Britain but from as far afield as USA, Australia and Europe.
In November I launched a collection of Christmas wreaths and, to meet the client demand I extended my product range to include additional home décor items including centrepieces and our signature Bloom Boxes; gorgeous flowers arranged in a display giftbox.
I had thought my Autumn Collection was popular, but nothing could have prepared me for the volume of orders for my handmade Christmas wreaths and décor. It got to the point where as a wreath was delivered and hung outside, the neighbours of that client would contact me to order too their own. One lovely client ordered a total of five wreaths in the end because she couldn’t choose so decorated her internal doors as well as the front door, fortunately she has a large house with plenty of doors!
In time for Valentine’s Day this year I expanded my product range further; in addition to collections featuring stunning Everlasting Flowers, I also began creating décor and gifts featuring the most incredible long-lasting real flowers. These ‘Infinity Flowers’ are picked fresh from the field at the height of their beauty and specially preserved so that they don’t wilt and will last for years with no water, soil or sunlight required. These have been a huge success also and have even been received by celebrity clients; the lovely Love Island 2018 Winners, Jack and Danni recently received a hand-made Bloom Box of Red and Gold Infinity Roses, and I have also sent a unicorn and rainbows themed wreath to unicorn-loving Holly Willoughby
My product range has evolved and expanded over the year to now include; home décor, personalised gifts, bespoke wedding and events floral décor that are available to either purchase or hire, as well as wedding favours, bridesmaid gifts and corporate gifts for the hospitality industry.
As I approach this first anniversary, I feel I am incredibly blessed to have the support and encouragement of amazing family and friends along with the people I call my ‘social media family’.
I appreciate how my life has been transformed and I am so grateful that I took a leap of faith to give up my job to start my own business doing what I love; creating beautiful things for clients’ homes, businesses, weddings and events. My morning commute now involves a walk through the woods with Sausage and Rolo, returning home to begin a day spent in my flower studio creating orders and planning new collections with the most beautiful blooms. I feel happier and healthier than ever and my family are so very proud of my achievements.
Phone: 07432 250339