The Office: Helen Clarke
Before Edie Rose I worked for yell.com for 15 years. I started in telesales, then progressed to ‘new media specialist’ where I visited lots of businesses advising them how to improve their online presence. I always liked visiting florists who (on the whole) seemed to love what they do. I always got well jell, as my job consisted of sales targets and lots of pressure.
While on maternity leave with Albert I took an evening course in floral design and absolutely loved it. It felt like I’d opened up a part of my brain that hadn’t been used for years — the creative juices were flowing and I got such a buzz from it. I also really enjoyed doing something on my own for a couple of hours a week where I could zone out and create lovely designs and not have to think about nappies, feeding and Peppa Pig.
So when I went back to work my whole attitude had changed. I just didn’t feel part of the rat race anymore. I know that I wanted to leave but also needed a bit more training and knowledge before I could go for it. (In other words I was stalling because I was so scared of actually leaving a secure, safe job and not having a lovely pay cheque every month!)
But about 18-months ago, I plucked up the courage and left work to set up Edie Rose. I set out at a pace similar to that of snail and slowly started to get local business and enquiries but we’re in reasonable shape for a new business going into its second year.
I tend to work from our kitchen when I have flowers to make up or concrete pots to make. But let’s be honest here — there is constant mess which we really try to keep on top of! I would love to show you a picture of a pristine workspace ideal for what I do but that’s not it. I don’t think it ever looks as clean as it should which drives my poor husband up the wall.
Right about now I can see Weetabix stains, toys, old newspapers, a cold cup of tea… There is a bucket of flowers, about 30 handmade concrete pots drying by the radiator on newspaper and various bits of Lego and figures which I am sure will be the death of me one day.
When I’m on my own I like the radio on for company. 6 Music or BBC London are my faves, but when the boys are about this changes to Blaze and The Monster Machines, Pokémon and Diego Go, then changes again to Talk Sport when my husband is about.
Before I started this venture, I never wanted a florist shop — we thought about it but the thought of standing in the same place day in, day out just didn’t sit well. I like to think of myself as a bit nomadic. No two days are the same and I’m really pleased that I’ve managed to not be tied down.
If I’m at home and it’s sunny I try and work in the garden or I’ll try and get out the house and work in a café nearby. I go where I need to and also find interesting venues to do workshops in. It adds to the experience if people have never been there before and it’s an interesting place. I just try and make each day different.
I like working from home because I can work around my children and the school runs. If I had a studio elsewhere I would have to pay additional childcare which we couldn’t afford at the mo. The boys are getting better at playing independently too so I can now multi-task and dip in and out of work. But if I’m prepping for a big wedding or event I make sure I book a childminder.
The main time the kids are around while I work is after school until my husband gets home. Homework books are out on table, I’m talking them through their work whilst getting dinner ready and conditioning flowers. They come on early deliveries with me before the school run and help deliver the flowers — I think they like it, they want to be involved. They even come down and help on the market stall at weekends.
My favourite thing in my workspace is my mobile phone. Boring I know but it links me to my customers and affects everything I do. It can change a slow day into an extremely busy day with one picture on Instagram. I use it more than anything else. My children love my wooden alphabet stamp set — a bit of paper and that bad boy can keep them busy spelling for a good hour at a time.