Everything has come up roses for an Odiham -based florist who pursued her passion by starting her own business.
Jay Archer was just 24 when she set up Jay Archer Floral Design in 2011, starting out trading from a workshop in the town.
In four years, the venture has flowered and she has taken on 11 freelancers to help her meet the wedding orders which form the core of the business.
She branched out into tuition last year, cultivating the skills of existing and aspiring florists.
Her efforts have caught the attention of judges for this year’s Inspire awards, earning her a place as a finalist for the Young Business Person of the Year award .
Jay confesses to being overwhelmed by the progress of her company, which has supplied flowers for more than 400 weddings and taught florists from across Europe and the US.
“We will continue to focus on weddings, but who knows what else we may be able to do?” she said. “I’ve got plenty of ideas and I’m excited to see what opportunities come up in the future.
“It’s still very much my baby and I oversee every-thing we do. There’s not a petal that leaves this workshop that I’ve not touched.
“I suppose that makes me a bit of a control freak, but the company has a distinctive style and I want to make sure that continues.”
One of the things that makes Jay Archer Floral Design unique is the opportunity for customers to get involved in the planning of their wedding displays by accompanying Jay to London’s famous flower markets.
“Wedding flowers is an over-saturated market, so you have to do something different to convince people to seek out your services,” Jay advised. “We’ve achieved that, as all of our business comes through word-of-mouth.
“The expectation to keep producing at a high level makes me nervous, but it also keeps driving me forward.”
Jay, who lives in Basingstoke, said she was amazed at being shortlisted for an Inspire award but was very happy about it.
“Winning this award would make more people take notice of the business and would help us to expand in the future,” she said.
“It would have a big professional impact and would be very pleasing.”