Continuing our spotlight series on marvellous Women to coincide with International Women’s Day. We have felt inspired to show off some amazing Women in our lives that we have been lucky enough to hang out with and photograph, Women in business who strive to achieve their passions, and what better time than now as we launch our Women’s Portraiture Collections to the world!
In the second of our Spotlight series we ask florist Gemma Fowler who owns Poppy’s of Exeter our girl power questions…
Tell us who you are, the name of your business and a little about what you do…
My name is Gemma and I own a lovely little wedding flower studio in Devon, on Powderham Estate. I moved away from the retail side of floristry over a year ago now to concentrate on my ever growing wedding flower business. I primarily spend my time having some amazing chats with wonderful couples gathering ideas for their big day and just generally getting absorbed in their plans and aspirations for their wedding.
I also teach at my little studio barn, welcoming groups to my workshops and passing on my knowledge learnt over the years.
What inspired you to start your business, and what drives you as a woman in business today?
I took over a florist retail business about 9 years ago now. I had been managing the shop previous to that and just loved the team, loved my job, the customers and just being all-round creative. I opened my studio after building up such a great wedding flower business, I knew my time had to be spent where my passion was.
I think my inspiration and drive comes from my Grandad and my Dad, my Grandad had always been so encouraging to people when talking about running a business and being your own boss, it’s something my Dad has always wanted to do but just never got round to it (perhaps bringing up a family got in the way!) But I have always looked up to both of these Men in my life and that is why I now run my own business.
I can be stubborn at times and when told something will be ‘too hard’ and ‘I probably should think about it’… well, I’ll just go ahead and do it anyway to prove a point. It is this, coupled with the fact Women, are quite incredible resilient characters, we ride out the hard times and come out the other side screaming a little but filled with new drive and energy.
I am driven by everyone and everything around me on a daily basis. I’m driven by how lucky I am to be creative every day and work in such beautiful surroundings, by the many Women who just amaze me all the time from my Mum to my colleagues, friends, family and fellow wedding industry friends.
Tell us a little about your most recent shoot with Venetia and what personal branding means to your business.
I absolutely loved my recent shoot with Ve. Although she may tell you different as she knows I’m not a fan of the camera, when it’s on me!! But it was so lovely to just feel like I was standing out a little more than usual. I’m not the most confident and I always question everything I do (it’s what makes me good at my job I guess!) but I think perhaps when I had the retail side of my business I hid behind its name and the team, we were always a team, it was never about me but now with the studio it is mainly me (although I have a fantastic team behind me) this time it’s more personal. My clients meet with me, talk with me, text me, email me, and it’s me who turns up to greet them on their wedding day armed with flowers and excitement, so it seemed only fitting that some of my branding / professional imagery and my website said something about me and who’s behind the studio.
What is your greatest achievement as a woman? (Can be in your business, your personal life, something massive, something silly, something you feel proud of)
It has to be my business. I worked hard to get my business where it is today, went through a lot of hard times, tears, completely lost my confidence but then there have been some amazing times, full of excitement and I’ve been a part of some fantastic things along the way. My business has been the only thing I can recall that has caused me so much emotion over the years but I wouldn’t be the Woman I am today in business without any of that.
I must say though completing a commando challenge was pretty good going… I haven’t tried it again!
Name a woman that you admire and tell us why (can be anyone at any level)
I have a few as I wouldn’t be where I am without them, for instance my best friend, just because she’s amazing and always has my back. My wedding industry friends because they are such incredibly talented Women and they amaze me daily.
But without a doubt my Mum… because no matter what is thrown at her at any time of the day, she always manages to hold her stuff together.
And finally, If you were organising a parade in celebration of IWD, which Woman or Women would you create a statue of for pride of place on the float?
I would put all of my wedding industry girlfriends, individually they are super talented and wonderfully creative, but together as a group of Women…incredibly powerful, and that should be a message to all Women in business.
Thank you Gemma!