Sapphire aka the Queen of Flowers is an entrepreneur with a difference. Between running her successful business, The Flower Arranger, she also founded support network The Coven, a group dedicated to helping women with online workshops and mentoring schemes.
For our latest instalment of GRL Talk we caught up with Sapphire, 24, to chat about her journey…
Hey Sapphire! What inspired you to start The Coven?
The main reason was that when I started running The Flower Arranger I spent so much time on my own. I didn’t have anyone around me who necessarily understood what it’s like to run a business – all my friends would be down the pub on a Friday night and I’d be working. It just got really lonely, and it lifted me up when I met women on Instagram and at events who ‘got’ it. Meeting all these amazing women doing their own thing made me feel so much better. I wanted to bring all those women together, but I didn’t want it to just be another community because there’s a lot of those. I wanted to also teach women the business skills they might not have and help them with their confidence, all kinds of things – in one inclusive space.
Are you self-taught with your business knowledge?
Yes, everything. I basically read hundreds and hundreds of books, watched YouTube videos; learning everything I possibly could. But, not everybody has the time to do that. I wanted to make it really accessible for people to get the information they needed. You read so much and have to sift through to find what is actually relevant, so I provide downloads and workshops that give them exactly what they need to know.
What advice would you give women starting their own business or side project?
My number one piece of advice is just fucking do it. That’s my life motto. There’s never going to be a perfect time. Once you’ve run one business you know that, but when you’ve never done it before it’s so intimidating. There are all these lists about what you need to do before you launch, but if you follow those you’ll never start – it’s better to just do it and learn as you go.
Number two is finding your community. Your tribe of women who you connect with and that lift you up because it’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows. If you’ve got people around who understand it feels so much easier to tackle.
With The Flower Arranger do you do that by yourself, or do you have a team now?
I use freelancers sometimes because we only do weddings and events, it’s so sporadic, they come and work as and when it’s needed. But, 90% of the time it is still just me.
What’s the biggest challenge with running your own business?
Time management I think; getting the balance right between having a life and work. There’s so much conflicting advice on how much you should be working, the internet can make you feel like you’re not doing enough. But you do really have to be careful because there’s always stuff you could be doing, but you have to take time off and have a life alongside it – otherwise, you end up just hating it. You’ll burn out. Finding that balance is really difficult, the challenge is getting over that guilt that you should always be working.
Of course, especially when it’s your own business, it’s that internal pressure.
Definitely, it’s what you put on yourself – because people will understand that you have a life. Especially when your business starts to take off, it’s easy to forget that you do need to see your family and friends and do things other than just work.
What exciting plans do you have coming up?
Lots of really exciting workshops coming up, I’m trying to organise meet-ups and get everything moving. There are lots of girls in there getting to know each other. We’re on our second month of mentoring, so we’re catching up and getting to know how everyone got on with their tasks last month. At the moment it’s a massive learning curve and all about trying to see what else I can bring in that will help the members.
Were you surprised about the kind of women who have joined the coven, is there a wide variety?
There are so many different kinds of women, everyone does something so varied and interesting. Even the people doing the same thing have such a different spin. It’s a really nice time. It took me nine months to launch it, so it’s so amazing to have it up and running.
Tell me about the nine-month process?
I had the idea nine months ago in New York, and realised that this could actually be a business and something I’d love to do. Because I run The Flower Arranger, it was quite slow, as I couldn’t throw myself completely into it. I took out a loan for The Flower Arranger, and I didn’t want to do that again for The Coven, as there’s such a thing as having too much debt. So it was all self-funded.
How do use social media to boost your business?
All my work, pretty much, comes via Instagram. It’s crazy how helpful it is – that’s how I connected with all the women in The Coven. Utilised in the right way it can be so powerful. It’s worth investing time into. I’m a big Instagram fan as I wouldn’t have two businesses without it!
Your community feels very similar to ours at FGRLS, in the way that we don’t get trolls, it’s just a very lovely engaged atmosphere. How have you built a platform that’s so supportive?
I think the number one thing is that I’ve always been myself and I’ve always been clear on what I wanted it to be. Even from the beginning, when we had this free Facebook group, I was very strict about it being a positive space; if you’ve had a bad day, then we’re here for you, but this isn’t a place to put anyone down. Through being nice and supportive I feel I’ve attracted people who are similar and understand the value of connecting with other people.
Have you always wanted to do your own thing and be a self-starter?
No, definitely not! I had no interest in running my own business, I was always of the mindset “why would you want to do that? It’s so much work and you don’t definitely get paid, you don’t get any holiday”. I fully couldn’t see the benefit. I started The Flower Arranger because I was living in Thailand, didn’t have a job and my savings were running out. I basically was at a point where I had to figure out what the fuck I was doing with my life – it was my mum who suggested working for yourself. The more I thought about it the more the freedom really appealed to me. Your time is your own time, which was a really big draw for me. I started on my own and realised how amazing it was.
What are the five things you couldn’t live without when running a business?
My phone/Instagram, my support network, 8 hours sleep a night and time off. If I didn’t take time off I’d struggle so much. Oh, and my workspace, I’ve made it a really inspiring place to be as an office space would be hell to me.
What would you go back and tell your 16-year-old-self?
At 16, I was very close to getting kicked out of sixth form. So, I’d tell myself not to worry and not to stress, to have more belief in yourself. At that age you’re so conflicted about what you should be doing, it’s a confusing time. Just have more faith in yourself and have more fun – don’t tear yourself up about failing. At 16 it’s good to have a plan but you don’t need one, we put too much pressure on young people. At 16 you haven’t experienced anything, how are you supposed to know what your career is?
Thanks for chatting with us, Sapphire!
Follow Sapphire HERE
Follow The Flower Arranger HERE
Join The Coven HERE