In celebration of the all-new charlotteargyrou.com, I’ve invited seven brilliant founders to share their expertise in seven areas of creative business. These are subjects I have found especially fun or challenging in my first 18 months since launching Charlotte Argyrou Illustration. “On the Sofa” invites creative, wedding and wellness entrepreneurs to join the conversation, each focused on personal branding, community, tech & SEO, mindset, design, self-belief and uniqueness.
My seventh and final guest is 2019 TWIA Florist of the Year, Emma Soulsby. Turning her back on a career in finance was just the first of many bold steps Emma took in founding her multi award-winning business. In our Live interview – which took place in Emma’s gorgeous studio – we discussed how integrating her uniqueness, story and personality into her brand has created many fruitful opportunities. Determined and passionate, Emma’s a totally inspiring example of how to successfully communicate a personal brand.
Celebrate Your Uniqueness: What’s Your Story?
Charlotte: Tell us your backstory. Do you still feel “new” to floristry?
Emma: My background is in finance. I’m a part-qualified chartered accountant. I sucked at it. I turned 30 and realised I needed to make a change in my life. So I walked into my local florist in Notting Hill and asked if I could volunteer on a Saturday alongside my full time job. I created a Facebook page to document it all and was so happy I found something I was good at and loved. It went from this amazing high to a deep low because I desperately wanted to do it full time, but I didn’t know how.
I quit my full time job 3.5 years ago and in January I won TWIA Florist of the Year 2019. I still feel new because I rebranded at the beginning of 2018 and I’m always pushing myself to the next level. I’m never satisfied. I’m comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Charlotte: For few months before we first met, so many industry suppliers mentioned you to me: “You have to work with Emma Soulsby!” How did you build that reputation so fast?
Emma: I hounded people. I emailed and called, emailed and called. And the way I saw it, if I got a “NO”, I saw that as an in. Because in that moment, they had acknowledged who am I. And you can come back to them when you’ve launched something new, replying to their own message.
Charlotte: Didn’t a part of you die inside?
Emma: Of course. Everytime. But if this doesn’t work, I have to go back to finance. And the thought of having to do that is scarier than the thought of emailing someone two or three times without response. Making myself uncomfortable by picking up the phone is nothing in comparison to the idea of going back.
OMG this is amazing!!!!! Thank you! It’s made me cry I Love it so much. You’re so talented.Emma Soulsby
Intimacy and Connection
Charlotte: Where does your motivation to create a personal brand come from?
Everything about my business is personal to me. As soon as I left school, I wanted to go to art college. I walked in, saw how cool everyone was, and walked back out again and went to work in an office. I’ve never drawn again. Having then spent years behind a desk working in finance, to then rediscovering my creativity – it is very personal to me. There’s so many amazing florists out there in the world. There is no way that I am the best. But I am passionate and I have worked hard to transition from the cooperate life to this creative life. Everything I put out there is consistent and meaningful.
When I was researching you for this interview, I read your About Me page, where you credit your grandmother as inspiring you passion for floristry. I thought it was very sweet. But when I watched the video of you talking to camera about that video, it really gave me goosebumps. I felt a total next-level connection. Why do you have that video on your website?
Precisely because of that reaction. When you read something, you interpret it in your own way according to your own circumstances. But though the video, I can communicate the passion and drive that I want my customers to understand. Anyone can copy your product, but they can’t be you.
Being “You” in Your Business
You renamed your business in your name and feature yourself throughout your website and social media. Do you think being “you” and celebrating your uniqueness in your business helps you stand out?
100%. I’m not Interflora. I’m not a faceless brand.
I am there at every consultation.
I personally walk my clients through the entire process.
I deliver the bridal party flowers.
Making sure my face is in my profile is essential. People buy from people, so it’s important I get my message across. I do these amazing huge creations, but I’m just this Northern girl who wants to tell you about how excited I am to work on your wedding.
Charlotte: Where can we find you online?
@emmasoulsby for engaged couples, party planners and flower fans
@emmasoulsbyflowerschool for florists and wedding industry suppliers
Emma Soulsby Flower School a closed group for florists and aspiring florists-to-be
Read more about my bespoke Wedding Bouquet Illustration Service here