Helen Walker, Partner at Wholehearted Florists
Working with clients to design and create beautiful, bespoke floral displays for all occasions
In February 2018, I took voluntary redundancy after a lovely 10-year career in procurement. The company I worked for had been bought by a multinational and my job description started to change – moving from a regional focus to a much wider national demographic. With two young children, fulfilling the role was no longer practical because lots of travelling was involved. I didn’t want to be away from my family, so I took the best option available to me.
My dad and brother both have their own businesses and I was always keen to follow suit. The (original) plan this summer was to open a coffee shop selling children’s clothes. I missed out on one premises by 24 hours and then, during the drive home, I pointed over to a place in Worsley and said to my husband: “That one would be perfect if it became available.” A few weeks later, fate intervened and I discovered it was up for sale!
Michaela Parry – a friend of mine – was about to open a floristry business in nearby Walkden when it fell through at the 11th hour. I took it as a sign and asked her to partner with me. She agreed and we opened Wholehearted Florists on 1 August.
Although I’m not selling children’s clothes, I do have the coffee shop I wanted and I stock a kids’-based gift range. Most significantly however, I’ve awoken a passion I never knew I had… Working alongside Michaela, I’ve learned so much about floristry and my skills are starting to flourish under her expert tutelage. With the business evenly split between us, as well as both having a son and a daughter who are the same age, we turn up for each other every single day – pushing ourselves into new things and working as a team to maintain that all-important flexibility all working mums need.
During the run-up to Christmas, we’ve been super-busy but loving every minute of it! We’ve held wreath-making workshops; assembled festive floral displays for our clients; prepared ourselves to wrap 35 Christmas hampers which will be donated to the local homeless community; and booked some events in for next year.
Being self-employed with Michaela feels amazing!