We chat with owner of Ivory Flowers and Bristol native, Georgia Wathan, as she shares her journey of how a Saturday job flourished into owning her own floristry business at just 21.
Just south of the river is North Street, Bedminster - a long vibrant street bustling with independent shops, and home to both Ivory Flowers and Olive Tree Beauty.
“I didn’t know much about floristry previously. school pushes students to go to university or higher education, unfortunately, we were not encouraged to get into trades, which is a shame as I believe they are the most valuable jobs”, Georgia explains.
Georgia studied sociology at UWE before leaving to work in a warehouse producing bouquets. Her interest in floristry grew from there, landing her a Saturday job at Ivory Flowers. “Xanthe Ivory who owned the shop previously had just started a family and wanted to take a step back from the shop. She presented me with the unmissable opportunity to train me up for a year to learn everything I needed to know to take over the business.”
The shop space was previously shared with Zara’s Chocolates who out-grew the space and expanded into their own shop on North Street a few years back. This presented the opportunity for a new shop collaboration and to live out Georgia’s dream of running a business alongside a best friend. “I’ve known Char my whole life, she worked just up the road previously and reached a point where she wanted to work for herself.” It was an easy decision for the pair and Olive Tree Beauty moved in shortly after - a beauty therapy business owned by Charlotte Barsby.
“The shop space was open plan, so we put in some extra walls to build a beauty room. We work so well together; we’re basically a one-stop-shop for brides. They can get their nails, eyebrows and waxing done with Char, and I will arrange their flowers.
I grew up in Bedminster and I know North Street like the back of my hand. Some locals say North Street has become gentrified, but I think it still feels very community-led. All of us in the shop are local; I grew up with Char, went to school with Maisie, and Faye lives upstairs. There’s nothing nicer than hearing the Bristolian accent when out and about!”
North Street is thriving and has a lot of footfall, and whilst walk-ins are welcome, they also provide bespoke wedding services. “We offer flower arrangements for lots of weddings, we are already fully booked for next year! My favourite thing to make is a bridal bouquet. I make a real effort to get friendly with the brides, so they know they can trust me, as it’s a lot of pressure. The feeling of going in and delivering the bridal bouquet on the big day when the bride has just had her hair and makeup done surrounded by her bridesmaids is the most beautiful thing. 9/10 times they cry when they see the flowers, and it’s just the most rewarding feeling.”
Georgia’s passion and enthusiasm for her business is truly infectious. “It’s been 3 years since I took over the business and I love it. It’s so therapeutic, there’s not one part I dislike, even down to bleaching the buckets! We also have “dance hour” every day - when Char doesn’t have a client, we’ll turn the radio on full blast and dance like no one is watching. For me, happiness and wellbeing are more important than any monetary value. It’s not easy or smooth sailing but I feel lucky to want to come to work and enjoy it every day!”