Article Source: Fleurtations
First Published: 17 June 2021 12:47
Updated: 17 June 2021 12:49
- Husband and wife run plantscaping specialist has risen to be go-to choice of world-class events including golf’s The Open Championship
- Fleurtations is the secret behind plantscape designs for blue chip clients including JP Morgan, The Balmoral Hotel, The Royal Yacht Britannia and Deloitte
SUSTAINABILITY and workplace wellbeing will be key to the next 30 years for family plantscaping business Fleurtations as it prepares to celebrate three decades helping some of the UK’s best-known businesses, locations and events bloom.
The East Lothian-based firm – which counts the Balmoral Hotel, JP Morgan and The Royal Yacht Britannia amongst its many clients – marks its 30thbirthday this year, longevity and success founding duo Belinda Jarron and David Chalmers put down to impact, ambition, and attention to detail.
Fleurtations began in 1991 as an interior landscape designer and now creates, installs and maintains award-winning interior and exterior plant displays, window boxes and hanging baskets for some of the biggest names in international retail, business and events throughout the UK.
Success has been a staple of the past three decades for Fleurtations, named Family Business of the year at the 2020 Scottish Enterprise Awards, as it has grown from turning over £22,000 with a single employee in its first year, to a staff of 20 and a turnover in excess of £1 million.
Despite a 25% drop in turnover during the pandemic, business is now back to pre-pandemic levels in most areas in the new financial year thanks to a rise in enquiries from the hospitality industry, particularly outside Scotland, and recovery in the events sector.
Fleurtations is run by husband-and-wife team Belinda Jarron and David Chalmers, who will also celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary this weekend (Saturday, June 19).
Belinda Jarron, managing partner at Fleurtations, said: “There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel as lockdown begins to ease. Compared to when lockdown began, our sales are up but that’s not a huge surprise after the decimation of last spring and summer.
“The nature of our orders has changed since before the pandemic began. They are now much more short notice and short term as our clients try to find their feet.
“We have had to adapt to this new way of doing business by becoming far more reactive, but we’re more than happy to work that way as it’s how we can best support our clients as they re-emerge after what has been an incredibly challenging time."
The firm now has a client list in excess of 1,000, built on a reputation that has attracted blue chip public and private sector names including the Scottish Parliament, Lloyds Banking Group and Deloitte.
Highlights include becoming the go-to choice for one of the world’s most prestigious annual sporting events – golf’s The Open Championship.
Fleurtations has created jaw-dropping displays for the event every year since 2015 at venues including St Andrews, Royal Troon, Carnoustie, Royal Birkdale, Royal Portrush and this summer at Royal St George’s. This included a standout overhead installation at the Royal Birkdale event in 2018.
Staying ahead of industry innovations by travelling extensively to visit nurseries throughout Europe to discover unusual forms of standard plants has been key to Fleurtations’ success, particularly around sustainability, and as the world focuses more on environmental challenges, so has the firm.
The Fleurtations team of horticultural experts has introduced equipment, working and training practices to boost the firm and clients’ sustainability credentials, including offering self-watering installations to save water, rainwater harvesting capability, battery operated equipment, an environmental policy and an ‘addiction’ to recycling. Almost all plants used are also grown inside polytunnels, nurseries or a tropical plant house to avoid unnecessary international transportation.
The moves have made Fleurtations particularly attractive to city-based clients.
Creative partner David said: “It’s estimated that by 2030 more than 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, and with so much of our work done in these settings we need to help clients address environmental challenges such as air quality, urban heat island effect, urban biodiversity, acoustics and climate events (flooding and heat waves).
“Sustainability is at the core of everything we do – and what clients want – and we have made significant strides in ensuring every project we deliver pays its way in this area.
“Landscaping is more than a veneer – it brings everything together. We always aim to bring our horticultural expertise and flair to projects so planting can evolve over time – just like our relationships with them.”
As well as larger scale installations, Fleurtations also works with clients on displays and plant offerings for office spaces, part of the business which has come into sharp focus over the past 12 months as employers pay more attention to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.
Belinda added: “More and more of us spend our working day chained to a desk stooped over a keyboard. Yet despite an increase in working hours, many working environments are still grey, lifeless and regimented. They don’t have to be. With a little imagination, plants can improve any environment.
“Apart from combating the effects of sick building syndrome by cleaning the air of common pollutants, plants also have a positive psychological effect on people, encouraging creativity, improving productivity and reducing stress.”
Belinda added: “We have achieved so much over the past 30 years, and we are proud to celebrate this milestone birthday with the team and our amazing clients.
“We had a bit of a disastrous start - I poisoned myself with fumes from the glue I was using making my own self-watering system, then I didn’t make any money from the first project, as I put the wrong prices on by accident. But we’ve grown an awful lot since then! Our love of plants has led us through 5-star hotels to busy call centres, from bijoux cafés to smart offices.
“Our clients are varied, from the public and private sector, they buy or rent our superb live or artificial displays and benefit from our commitment to horticultural, commercial and personal integrity.
“We are even more proud of the services we offer and the results we deliver. When we set out in 1991, we wanted to do the best job we could for whoever we worked with. To now be achieving that with the clients we do is a dream come true, and we now look forward to continued success over the next 30 years.”
Image: Belinda Jarron and David Chalmers
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