Sarah’s edible flower business blooms thanks to Cywain support

05 February 2014

A Denbighshire businesswoman is making Valentines Day celebrations across Wales and beyond, a little sweeter, thanks to her delicate sugared flowers.

 

Corwen-based business Eat My Flowers has recently completed its biggest order to date, supplying candied flowers and floral lollypops for this year’s Valentines Day range at London shopping emporium, Fortnum and Mason.

 

Using techniques passed down from her grandmother, producer Sarah Hughes transforms plants grown in her garden into delightful edible gifts.

 

Thanks to support from Cywain, a Menter a Busnes added value project that assists Welsh food producers, Eat My Flowers has rapidly blossomed from a small kitchen-counter operation to featuring on the shelves of some of Britain’s biggest department stores.

 

Having left her previous job as a consultant helping people out of work start their own businesses, Sarah used her expertise to set up Eat My Flowers, with support and guidance from Cywain ensuring the budding business bloomed.

 

Sarah said: “After finishing my consultancy work in 2010, I took some of my own advice and looked for something that fits around my life and family.

 

“I set up a company making edible flowers for culinary use, but the crystalised flowers emerged as an obvious route to follow.

 

“Making the flowers is something I’ve always done after my grandmother taught me how to make them. I don’t really like icing on cakes, and used to use them to decorate my own.

 

“Eat My Flowers has quickly developed into the business I have today, and as this is our first full year, we’ve really seen things pick up over the last few months ahead of Valentines Day.

 

“Last year we supplied Valentines Day and Easter products for Harrods, and we’ve just completed our biggest order yet with Fortnum and Mason.

 

“We’re also going to be supplying flowers for the St David’s Day lunch at the Welsh Office in Brussels, and we’re really honoured to be representing Wales on an European stage.

 

“We get everything from corporate orders and product launches to one-off gifts, which is what’s so nice about the flowers – you come into contact with all sorts of people that are sharing some really lovely gifts.”

 

Having spent months perfecting her intricate gifts, which involves crystalising flowers in sugar, Sarah went about pitching her products to some of London’s leading hotels.

 

She also targeted the bridal market, tapping into contemporary themes of vintage, home-made weddings, as well as developing her website and social media presence.

 

The business development was supported by expert advice from Cywain, which Sarah first heard about after taking part in a Denbighshire food producers meeting.

 

“I heard other producers talking about it, and approached Cywain for more information. Since then they’ve been absolutely fantastic,” Sarah said.

 

“I was really impressed with the professionalism and assistance they provided. I received information on everything from how to improve my website to advice on new contacts and suppliers that have helped the business grow.

 

“It’s tough for small businesses to know where to go for help and assistance, but Cywain has really helped in that sense. I feel really lucky that there’s a resource like this in our area.

 

“As a self-employed person, it’s been invaluable to be able to bounce ideas off someone that knows what they’re talking about. It’s a perfect fit, as they have the know-how of what has worked for other food producers from North Wales, which helps inform and shape your own plans.

 

“I’m now looking to expand and grow over the coming year. We’ve just taken on our first worker on a part-time basis, and we’re looking at developing a purpose-built production unit at home.”

 

Cywain Development Manager, Caroline Dawson said she hoped to see Eat My Flowers go from strength to strength.

 

She said: “Eat My Flowers is a really unique, well planned business, and Sarah has done a fantastic job of maximising the opportunities that are out there for independent Welsh producers.”

 

Cywain was set up by Menter a Busnes to bring added value to primary produce within the agriculture sector.The project has received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

 

You can find the full range of Sarah’s products by visiting www.eatmyflowers.co.uk, or for more information on Cywain, visit www.menterabusnes.co.uk/cywain

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