Two young Fylde coast entrepreneurs have achieved their dream of opening their first business.
Friends, Sarah Yardley and Annmarie Clark, have bought Willows Florist in Cleveleys with the support of a five-figure funding package from Yorkshire Bank.
Sarah, 26, and Annmarie, 27, have both worked in florists for the past 10 years, with Sarah working at Willows since 2012.
The previous owner opened the business in 2011 with a view to sell it in a few years. She was keen to pass it on to the duo who demonstrated a wealth of experience and passion for floristry.
Annmarie knew she wanted to be a florist from a young age but Sarah was undecided, only sure she wished to pursue a creative career.
Sarah discovered her interest in the area when she carried out work experience at Jeanette’s Florist in Blackpool. Both trained at Jeanette’s aged 16 after leaving school, where they became good friends.
Sarah specialises in wedding flower design and Annmarie in 3D funeral arrangements. The entrepreneurs have similar ideas when it comes to floristry and want to focus on modernising the business.
They plan to exhibit at wedding fairs throughout the year and explore contract work, including businesses and hotels.
The funding was arranged by Mark Gillespie, relationship manager at Yorkshire Bank’s Business Direct.
Sarah said: “Yorkshire Bank has been brilliant to work with, making the whole process really simple. We’ve never had to do anything like write a business plan before and our relationship manager, Mark, was happy to answer our questions and help us every step of the way.
“Annmarie and I are both focused on exploring new revenue pathways and modernising the business to make it a lasting success. Running an organisation centred around something we both love is a great opportunity and we certainly intend to make the most of it.”
Mark Gillespie, at Yorkshire Bank, said: “Sarah and Annmarie have demonstrated great enthusiasm and professionalism in their approach to purchasing their first business. They possess strong experience in the area and have lots of new ideas for Willows Florist.
“I have no doubts these young business owners will be highly successful and we’re glad to have played our part in helping them reach their goal of purchasing a florist.”