A Darlington mumpreneur is bringing her creative skills to the growing market for artificial flower arrangements with the launch of CeCeBlooms, thanks to help from TEDCO Business Support and the NEA programme.
Charlene Corrie (35) has launched a unique new floristry business to sell colourful and stylish artificial arrangements to customers looking to add florals into their home in a longer-lasting way. Selling individual stems, bouquets, garlands, wreaths and centrepieces, CeCeBlooms is focused on private customers as well as event planners looking for cost-effective but striking displays to really bring a décor scheme to life.
Charlene Corrie comments: “CeCeBlooms was really borne out of my passion and love for floristry but also my wish to do something a little bit different. Fans of the film Beaches will certainly recognise the inspiration for my business name and I really wanted to bring some of the flair and showmanship of the CeCe Bloom character to my final designs for customers.”
Charlene was first introduced to floristry after deciding on a career change following the birth of her first child. Looking for more flexibility from her job, Charlene moved from a hospital receptionist role to undertaking training at college to become a level 2 qualified florist. The course inspired her to undertake more design work and led to private work creating floral arrangements before artificial flowers started to take a bigger role in her designs.
Charlene continues: “I work around my children and fresh flowers have such a short window in which they need to be used and they can be messy to use in a home environment. As the quality of artificial flowers grew over the past few years, I started to use them more and more to create the arrangements I wanted without the obvious limits on time.
“Artificial flowers last forever so the arrangements you choose naturally become a long-lasting part of your interior décor. As demand from friends and family to create bespoke arrangements increased, I started to look into opportunities around setting up as a business and turned to Judith Wheatley at TEDCO Business Support for advice.”
Judith Wheatley works as a business advisor with TEDCO looking to help individuals to harness their ideas and turn skills and passions into new enterprises. Judith met with Charlene on a weekly basis, refining her business plan and helping her access a low-cost business loan of £8000 to fund her initial costs. Charlene was also able to utilise the New Enterprise Allowance scheme which supports individuals looking to explore options in self-employment and provides help to eligible candidates aged 18 and over.
Charlene continues: “Judith has been absolutely amazing and with her help, I have been able to launch CeCeBlooms with confidence to manage all aspects of self-employment. I was able to access the capital I needed to fund initial costs and outlay such as a website, stock and marketing materials and I’ve already started to make inroads into other areas of design to provide alternate revenue streams.
“I’m currently creating an event rental side to the business to allow people to rent some of my bigger designs and arrangements as table centrepieces for charity events or weddings which I hope will supplement my online shop selling bespoke designs and individual stems. I was so busy in the run up to Christmas creating wreathes and garlands that I am already looking forward to creating some more spring-themed designs for 2020. The future certainly looks bright for CeCeBlooms.”
Judith Wheatley, business advisor at TEDCO Business Support comments: “Charlene has such talent and skill in floral design and her passion has been translated into a wonderful new business. CeCeBlooms has a fantastic array of stock already available and with her ideas for new revenue streams and contacts, I can see this business really flourishing in 2020. It has been a pleasure to support Charlene on her new business journey and I look forward to acting as a continued touchpoint for any questions or help she requires in the future.”