Heather Peatfield; Audrey's Flower Shop, 38 Railroad Avenue, Gloucester, MA
How did I "meet" Heather? Ok, you guessed it - Facebook again! I'd say our "floral friendship" started by her asking me a question via messenger about doing a "rose petal drop" and being I was heavily into balloons, she assumed it might be similar to doing a balloon drop. That was back in 2016 and we've asked each other a thousand questions since then! Heather amazed me as I watched her run her business while being treated for Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I'm happy to report that she's 7 years past her treatments and thriving. Like me, she has a wonderful husband who supports her and her business. Just reading her answers to my questions makes me admire her even more as she is a wonderful designer but also a very savvy business person. She works very hard but she's also smart!!
I sincerely hope you enjoy Heathers story!!
How did you happen to get into the flower business?So this is a crazy answer but I need to be honest, So when I was 15 years old I got pregnant and decided to keep the baby. Well there was no other option in my mind and my beliefs. So my dad said" you want to play your going to pay"!!!! So I went to my local mall wandering around and filled out a few applications for department stores, but not thrilled about it! Then as I entered the food court area there was this beautiful flower shop. It was filled with beautiful blooms and plants and caught my attention. The shop was called Mall Flowers and the owners name was Fred Corazzini and he had a help wanted sign out front so I went in and sold myself, I actually lied about my age as you needed to be 16 to work there and I was still 15. He had the best staff who taught me so many trick of the trade that I still use today. I new from the moment he hired me that this was going to be my career.
What part of your business is the most valuable financially?
Our funeral designs are our top sellers and we have become a favorite to the three local funeral homes.As they recommend us to each of their clients.
What part of your business is the least valuable financially?
This would definitely be prom work for us, We find this to be to time consuming and in the end I swear we are losing money and not to mention The mothers are just a PIA!
If you could go back to the beginning, what words of advice would you give yourself? What do you wish you knew then that you know now?
Inventory! It's so important to not to over buy and in the beginning in 2006 I felt like whatever I bought I sold and I got a little to cocky and just went crazy with gift item, vases, and hard goods. Then when 2008 hit the recession almost closed my shop as I did not know how to predict the stock market and never paid attention to the news so I carried on and found myself broke. I had to lay everyone off but myself and try to scramble. Man that was a tough lesson to learn and thank God we survived! So now I watch the market and listen to financial reports and make cuts when its slow to save the company.
If you could change any aspect of your business, what would you change?
Phasing out weddings, We are currently in the process of only taking weddings from our customers. We stopped advertising with venues and are in the hopes that 2024 we will have under 5 weddings that year. Weekends are just so precious to us and our mental health.
Thinking about your business, what are you most proud of?
Myself! You see I was always the black sheep in my family especially getting pregnant at such a young age. My family never had my back or had any faith that I would make it! So I have proven to survive the 2008 recession, My divorce in 2011 and all I cared about was saving my business, My stage three cancer diagnosis in 2016 and finally purchasing the property 2017. I made it 17 years and all I can say is I am one tough cookie who has fought her way through this crazy world!