This month, be bring you a truly unique success story. We asked Sylvia Pearson to tell us more about her unusual hobby of turning unwanted bottles into gorgeous blooms. You can read about how Eco Blooms www.ecoblooms.net was set for success right from the beginning and how popular flowers from reused plastic are both with brides and journalists. Plus, Sylvia gives us a few tips of making our businesses eco-friendly.
Why have you decided to launch Eco Blooms?
I was walking the dog back in February 2018, thinking about the David Attenborough’s Blue Planet series I’d watch about plastic pollution and remembered shrinking crisp packets in the oven as a kid to make keyrings and wondered what could be made with plastic bottles. When I got home, I drank the rest of the lemonade and made a rose from the bottle. I put a picture of it on Facebook and the response was overwhelming. I spent another week working on how to colour the plastic and get a steady supply of plastic and haven’t looked back.
How do you source your materials?
The plastic is donated from neighbours and small businesses who would like to be part of the solution to the pollution situation the world is facing right now. I’m so lucky people are supporting me this way…not just the customers…..but the people who give me their plastic bottles, straws, lids and cardboard boxes (to parcel out my orders, keeping costs low for the customers).
Which type of flower do you enjoy making most?
I think my favourite flower is the rose. It was my first flower and although its design has changed over the two years, I still love its shape and versatility. I love that I can change the colour and size to suit people’s budgets and wants.
Can you match different wedding themes and colour palettes?
Yes, people send me pictures of themes or colour combinations and even real flower bouquets they’ve seen on Pinterest and I figure out how to create or re-create their ideas. It’s an honour to be asked to make something that is a part of such an important day in people’s lives, I do everything I can to bring their ideas to reality. It’s the best part of ecoblooms. As a handmade business, I can really personalise each flower.
Would you have any tips for business owners who want to be more eco-friendly?
Start with something small first. Maybe think about the packaging (if you need that), using cardboard instead of plastic, even paper tape. Think about sustainability and any waste you have from products made. There are so many different businesses that require a variety of elements so it’s hard to be more specific but I think it’s in the details and if you can eco the beginning (eg raw materials) and the end (eg waste) of your business then the middle bit that is you and your brand will be eco by default.
Tell us more about your impressive award and media coverage.
I’m so grateful that my work is of interest to people. I absolutely love my craft, I get to make pretty things all day every day. Lucky just doesn’t cover it. My first media coverage was an Editor Loves feature in Your Yorkshire Wedding magazine. Someone on their team had seen me on Twitter. Then I took part in an eco-wedding shoot, which was featured in Blog Up North. I had a mention in Brides Up North thanks to a bright, bold, tropical bouquet I’d made. I was interviewed by Wedding Espresso and during lockdown I’ve won the Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday award, the Jacqueline Gold Women in Business Award, the Twitter Royal Connection Queen of Trash to Treasure award and had another feature in Your Yorkshire Wedding. But I think my favourite acknowledgement was from David Attenborough. I sent him one of my flowers as a thank you for his humanitarian work and inspiration and he sent me a handwritten letter back wishing me luck saying he was “glad to see that something lovely can come from the otherwise dreadful material”.
You can view more handmade flowers on Sylvia’s website Eco Blooms www.ecoblooms.net