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Supplier of the month – Jo Hicks Flowers

1. Tell us about yourself?

My name is Jo Hicks and I am passionate about my event florist business. I have been working in the industry for just over 10 years now and continue to really enjoys weddings and events and creating designs for my clients. I am based in Hythe which is on the outskirts of the New Forest National Park and I always consider myself extremely lucky to have such beautiful scenery on my drive to work and setting up events. I have a large family with 4 children and 2 step children and run my business from home. Luckily our home is like a tardis and living on three floors I have overtaken the ground floor for my comfy client studio and workshops. I am fortunate enough to have 3 staff helping me out enabling us to design for the smallest or largest of weddings or events. My colleagues have been in the wedding industry for many years and all are very experienced in delivering quality and are as passionate about attention to detail as myself. Over the past few years we have been really excited to have won awards and have won Best Home Based Business Award in 2013 in the Venus Business Woman of the Year awards and the following year in the same awards won Best Customer Service. We have also been finalists in the Wedding Industry Awards and the Hampshire Wedding Awards. We have been associated with he Balmer Lawn Hotel for around 9 years now designing for their wedding clients and providing flowers for their showcases and some events. We always find the team at the Balmer Lawn to be second to none and sharing our own work ethos we are thrilled to be a recommended supplier.

2. Why do you love working in the wedding industry?

The wedding industry enables us to be more creative in our floristry by working with couples to create something unique and personal to them. There is more planning needed when working on weddings than other events or normal floristry work and we enjoy piecing it all together and perceiving what the client really wants.

3. What do your customers say about you?

We just wanted to say a big thank-you for our fantastic wedding flowers and venue set up. From first emailing you and then meeting you, I felt like I built a rapport with you and I knew instantly that I liked your work and could trust you. The meetings were never rushed and you allowed time to go through lots of different options and ideas, as well as giving your experience of what works which is always useful and valued.

When I started to want to change things last minute you reassured me everything would be fine and it would look great – and guess what, it did! The bouquets were fabulous, maybe as a special treat for an anniversary I will ask for one again! And the special detailing with my mums horseshoe from her wedding cake on the stem was just perfect. The bridesmaids loved theirs too, and the colours matched perfectly with their dresses. The corsages and buttonholes looked great and all the flowers lasted so well – even in the scorcher of the weekend and days afterwards! Thank-you very much for everything – remember you even pointed me to the shop where I got my dress!!. We will certainly recommend you to family and friends, and I am sure we will meet again in the future.

4. What makes your different from others in the industry?

What makes us different? I run my business from a home studio and we find our Clients really like the relaxed and comfortable dedicated client room where they can make themselves at home and sit and develop their ideas with me to create something really special for their big day. I spend lots of time with each Bride listening and making notes. It is normal for a couple to come in and see me with very little idea of colours or flowers and this often worries them initially but after a very short while I will have helped them to completely overcome all those fears and concerns and it is always great by the time they leave they are always smiling and excited as they know I can completely visualise their wedding all set up and done!

I am always available for clients once booked and this includes out of normal office hours which is really handy for those who are not local or work long hours. I can offer evening appointments too which are always really popular. I like to make every wedding feel like they are the only one I am designing for and every single job gets complete commitment and passion whether it be large or small. I have always recognised that for a couple their wedding day is quite possibly the best day of their lives and it gives me pleasure to make their journey with me a really unforgettable experience.

5. What has been your favourite wedding so far?

It is really difficult to pin point one individual wedding as my favourite as lots of them have been favourites for different reasons. I suppose I would always say the weddings where we have special centre pieces to build or design are my favourites as we can really get stuck into the job and maximise on our creativity. In amongst those recently that stand out are were two giant 5ft balls of flowers which was hoisted up to the rafters of a large old barn. A mannequin dressed as a ballet dancer made completely of flowers and a huge hot air balloon wall hanging for a barn wall and beautiful garlands of flowers.

6. What tips would you give a couple when planning their wedding & booking suppliers?

Once a couple have booked their date, venue and Church or Registrar I would always urge them to get involved with a good florist at the outset as often, particularly if they are a dedicated wedding florist they will be integral to your initial planning and will be able to save you many hours of wondering how to put your desired theme together. Florists and other main suppliers such as Photographer, Entertainment and Cake designer often become booked a year or more ahead so if you wedding is at a popular time of the year during the Summer months it is a good idea if you know who you want then secure your supplier as early as possible. Generally a deposit will be all they will need at this stage. Once you have had an initial meeting with these suppliers you should have a good idea on budget needed and if there is anything else they need you to do or consider. If you are unsure of who to book then hotels and venues are a good start as they will generally only recommend Suppliers who are of a good standard who offer quality work and reliable service so usually you can be assured you will be receiving the same level of care as the venue themselves.

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