Meet Sarah Guild: Special Events Florist
Hello! My name is Sarah. I’m a freelance special events florist and founder of Sarah Guild Floral Design. My husband and I have an amazing, cheeky, Duracell-charged two-year-old boy. And as I write this, I am nearly 33 weeks pregnant with twins. Yes twins. We were as surprised as everyone to find that there were two in there. They checked for three and we got away with it…
A couple of years ago we moved to a rusty old cottage somewhere between Winchester and Portsmouth for my husband’s job in the Royal Navy. Even as a Devon girl, it was a bit of a shock to the system for me at first, having been in London working my way up the ranks mostly at the BBC from runner to producer in 8 years-ish.
After moving out of London, I was a little stuck to find something I really enjoyed doing for a living in Hampshire alongside my new role as ‘Navy Wife’. I worked for a small charity for a while, organising events and whilst the cause is still close to my heart, the job didn’t really rock my world. Meanwhile in the evenings to get out and meet people (I knew no-one in the area!) I started a floral design course and soon made the decision to retrain as a florist. I officially launched my business in 2015 selling handmade Christmas wreaths to friends and family and haven’t looked back since.
Currently top of my to-do-list is putting together wedding quotations for 2017. I’m also working out how to close and slow the business down while I take maternity leave; attending ladies networking meetings; follow ups from school workshops; working out how to do a mail chimp email thanking my lovely customers for their business this year; and then the most ignored task on my list is obviously my tax return (I need to put together the details even though I’ve outsourced the actual task!)
I have nursery care for two days a week from 8am til about 5pm. If I’m working on a wedding, I arrange extra days at nursery if we can afford it and the margin on the wedding allows, but more likely I call in help from the grandparents who come and stay. Since becoming pregnant again this has been essential. I’m so tired I’m unable to do the usual ‘mummying’ at tea time and bath time after working late in the workshop. Weddings often involve early saturday morning work as well, plus deliveries to brides and venues, so my husband is normally around to cover childcare if the grandparents aren’t available.
With my son around I just can’t get chunkier tasks done in the day apart from the odd telephone call, email or Facebook post. If he’s here while I’m working in the house then CBeebies really is the only way. (Longer episodes of Twirlywoos and Teletubbies are the best!) I can just about get away with wrapping bouquets in the workshop if enough buckets of water and tractors are around to play with. But what takes me 10 minutes on my own (to wrap and put a bouquet in a box) will take at least 40 minutes including a lot of ‘don’t play with the hose’ moments! I used to work during nap time, but now I’m heavily pregnant I really need that downtime too, so I feel I’m often behind right now.
My biggest challenge at the moment is just keeping going. At this stage the babies weigh approx. 8lbs plus all the liquid around them. This means I need to wear a support strap for my back and as soon as I get home I tend to lie down before the nursery run, tea time, bed time etc.
I wanted to work for myself because, deadlines aside, I can manage my own time. I can make dinner from scratch if I want (although fish fingers, potatoes and peas are often on the menu!), we can go to the zoo if we like or we can go to play groups or for a walk in the woods… Our little boy is home for more days than he is away and I’m really grateful for that. Our family are also brilliant and help cover the gaps. I obviously have to be careful when things are tiring and hard work and a constant juggle but if I had a ‘proper job’ I wouldn’t be able to be there to hear his very first words and new sentences or see him build his strength and learn how to rolly polly off the sofa…
I wouldn’t have survived this year as a parent and freelancer without:
The support of my family and friends • Advice and support from work friends who run their own businesses too • Other parents who run their own businesses – I try and work with them as much as possible! • Networking groups • My iPhone! • My laptop in an ‘on the go bag’ when naps in the car existed • Our family calendar with columns for each person (including the cat) • Sarah & Duck and their CBeebies friends • A sling and bouncing chair • Raisins and other snacks • Someone else to do my tax return!
And if you’re looking for some useful reading I’d recommend:
Annabel Karmel’s book Mumpreneur • Be A Free Range Human by Marianne Cantwell • S.O.S. A Business Mum’s Survival Guide for the Summer Holidays, by Claire Mitchel — I’ve also been reading her blog and the ’10 minute list’ has been my saviour for multi-tasking for the last 6 months!