After 14 years as a regional manager in fashion retail, a tongue-in-cheek comment prompted Maureen Jarvis to give it all up, for flowers.

“I had a conversation with a friend who had his own business,” said Maureen. “He suggested that I put my long hours, hard work and commitment into something for myself and asked if there was anything I’d ever longed to do. I immediately replied that I’d always wanted to be a florist.”

Following two years of research Maureen resigned her position in April 2012 so she could devote her time to learning the art of floristry and then, with support from Business Gateway, start her own business, Harmony Florist (

“The Business Gateway website is an amazing tool and I would recommend anyone thinking of going into business to take a look,” explained Maureen. “I used it to format my business plan and to help me consider every aspect and avenue of starting a business. It provided lots of hints and tips and highlighted useful, and free, workshops to attend.”

Liz Pirrie, Business Gateway Adviser, added: “When Maureen opened the shop I visited her to explain the benefits of having a Business Adviser. I recommended she attend the Women into Business workshop which is an ideal networking opportunity, and the Marketing workshop which explains what you need to know about market and customer research.”

To find out how Business Gateway can help you, visit or call your local office on 01224 289 725.

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