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83 Siân Wild of The Flower Lounge, the florist business she started in 2009. Photograph: Shaw & Shaw/Guardian After spending nearly a decade training to be a florist, Siân Wild swapped her events role, and the European travel that came with it, for an opportunity to follow her dreams. In 2009, she opened her own florist business, The Flower Lounge in Didsbury, Manchester.

Wild says one of the main things she loves about her job is her customers. “Being nestled within such a wonderful community is really special. We’ve been here for more than 10 years, so our customers do feel like family.”

The day the government lockdown was announced, Wild was floored. She was concerned for her business, her staff and the future but she also felt devastated about what the closure would mean to her customers. Wild has used lockdown to focus on the logistics of continuing the business in a safe way that would also support growers. Photograph: Shaw & Shaw/Guardian “Flowers are so emotive and sentimental. They’re an everyday item we use to express celebration, affection and remembrance. Often when we can’t use words, we use the gift of flowers. To have that suddenly out of people’s grasp was concerning.”

Since that day, The Flower Lounge team has worked to find ways to carry on serving its community. On day two of lockdown, having already ordered a large delivery of fresh flowers, Wild and her team set about creating beautiful bunches of blooms, leaving them outside for passersby to pick up for free.

Then, like many entrepreneurs across the UK, she had to reflect on the business, asking herself how it could creatively adapt and still provide a quality service.

After closing for several weeks, Wild focused on the logistics of continuing the business in a safe way that would also support growers.

“Without the flower growers, there would be no industry to return to. During this time, we’ve tried to support as many British growers as possible.”

Happily, The Flower Lounge continued to receive inquiries from customers hoping to purchase flowers, which gave Wild confidence.“We’ve focused on seasonal blooms, offered a DIY vase kit and wreath set to replace our workshop offering, and even created a ‘drive-through’ service in the run-up to Mother’s Day,” she says.The Flower Lounge switched to contactless payments immediately and focused on understanding the needs of its customers. For example, it began to offer more plants because of their positive impact on people’s mental health and air purifying qualities.But it hasn’t been easy – 70 weddings have been postponed and 200 workshop places cancelled. Staff have been furloughed to help weather the storm.“Communication with our staff and our customers has been essential,” Wild stresses. “We recognise that not all businesses have communicated effectively, and we wanted to make this a priority.”Using its social media channels and newsletters, the shop has kept customers up to date as much as possible.“We’ve also used our social […]