For many business owners, their venture is more than a job. It’s a manifestation of enthusiasm and passion, and the result of hard work, commitment and desire. That’s certainly the case for Sir Thomas White Loan Charity business loan borrower, Emma-Mae Parry.
Emma will be a familiar face to those that enjoy a stroll through the independent shops on Queens Road in Leicester’s Clarendon Park. Emma owns The Bloom Project, a florist with a difference. It’s a gorgeous shop set in the perfect location. However, as Emma explains, it’s something that has been many years in the making.
“My mum said to me that she saw me as a florist; she could really picture me doing that,” says Emma. “At the time, I remember thinking that it sounded really nice. In my naïve mind, I was thinking it would be great to have a shop and play with flowers! From there, my mum encouraged it. We would go out to the flower wholesaler in Leicester and buy various flowers and sundries. I’d start putting together arrangements, and I was just making it up.”
Those early years set a journey in motion that would end up with Emma opening up her very own shop in late 2018. Having worked Saturday jobs at local florists and learning her trade, each day served as a building block on those early days traveling Leicester’s wholesalers.
Once Emma knew she was ready to work for herself, The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity was one of her first ports of call.
“I actually looked at applying for a loan before submitting the application which was successful,” admits Emma. “A year before I was successful, I did try to fill out the form, but didn’t feel I could complete it. In all honesty, at the time, I lost my nerve!
“However, as time went on I realised more and more that I couldn’t progress in that job any more. I had all these ideas and knew that there was a gap in the market in Leicester for something different. So, second time around, I really knuckled down to get the application done, sent it and then I just waited. I didn’t tell anybody that I’d gone for it!
“When I applied for the loan, the plan was to run the business from home,” Emma continues. “I was going to be a freelance florist, specialising in weddings and events. I was planning on working from a studio, which was essentially my mum’s garage and was going to be called ‘Mae & Bloom’. The concept was that I would be an alternative wedding florist, which Leicester hasn’t really got.
“Two weeks after being successful in obtaining the loan, I saw a vacant shop on Queens Road. Right from the word go, I wanted a shop, and I even questioned whether I’d be able to do what I wanted to do from home. I was asking myself how I would market myself or establish my brand. Having a shop was the best thing. I love the shop environment, I love having customers coming in and chatting to people all day. It’s amazing now, when I think back to how shy I was! As soon as I started working, something switched.”
To find out more about The Bloom Project, please visit www.thebloomproject.co.uk
Keep your eyes peeled to The Sir Thomas White Loan Charity website, where we’ll be featuring more of Emma’s story in the coming weeks.