Wherever you are in the floristry industry and at whatever stage, you’ve come to exactly the right place if you’re looking for floral inspiration and guidance on how to grow your business using social media.
A very warm welcome! My name is Rona Wheeldon and I’ve made it my mission to inspire and support the floristry industry. I’m passionate about this incredible sector and everyone involved, rooting for florists, flower growers and flower wholesalers.
The Flowerona Brand
I started initially by launching my blog, Flowerona, back in December 2010. I’ll share my floral journey a little further down the screen, as unfortunately my life wasn’t always filled with flowers!
The Flowerona blog has been a springboard for so many amazing opportunities including regularly freelancing for New Covent Garden Flower Market in London. (Head over to their wonderful website, if you’d like to take a look at some of my work.) I’ve also written articles for several magazines including Homes & Gardens magazine, The Flower Arranger, The Flower Patch, Wedding Flowers & Accessories magazine and Florist Business magazine.
I absolutely adore training people in the industry on how to use social media. Nothing lights me up more than seeing people’s daily actions change after spending time with me and the resulting impact on their business growth. Floristry colleges and flower schools have appointed me to conduct customised social media training. And I’ve also spent time with business owners assessing their current social media landscape and how they can dramatically up their game.
I’m currently in the process of creating an Instagram for Florists Online Course, which I’m planning on launching in 2019. It’s turning out to be a labour of love, but I’m so enjoying putting it together. (If you’d like to be one of the first to know when it goes live, simply sign up here.) I know a thing or two about this wonderful social media platform due to running three separate accounts:
- @flowerona : An all-encompassing overview of the world of floristry with hints, tips and inspiration
- @underthefloralspell : A personally curated portfolio of breath-taking floral inspiration from around the globe
- @thefloweronaedit : A much more personal lifestyle account, especially for women of ‘a certain age’
Flowerona has been the very lucky recipient of several blog awards along the way including Best Wedding Flowers Blog for Wedding Magazine four years in succession and winner of Individual Wedding Category at the UK Blog Awards.
My Floral Journey
If you’re wondering about my floral journey, well it all started with purple anemones which my dad used to grow for my mum amongst the vegetable patch on our small farm in a tiny hamlet in deepest Devon. I think my dad thought that he was Tom Good from The Good Life’ on TV. We had Dexter cows called Susan and Jane (which we went on to eat, as my dad was a self-employed butcher!), a chick called Cucumber which had an unfortunate demise after wrestling with the heavy car door of an airforce blue Triumph Herald Estate, a Jacob sheep called Debbie (who survived as she was quite a character and went on to be used by a local farmer as a ‘Judas’ sheep, when he was moving his flock), and very originally named, an amorous Muscovy drake called Drakey, an unfriendly goose called Wingie (so named because of his broken wing), a feral cat called Pussy and a Wessex Saddleback pig called Piggy.
I loved going for walks in the country lanes, admiring Red Campion, Stitchwort, Primroses and Bluebells. I remember picking roses from our garden and trying repeatedly to make rose ‘perfume’, but always ending up making an interesting pungent brown concoction. Very fond memories for me fragrance wise was as a child going to church on Mothering Sunday. As soon as you entered the building, you were greeted by the sweet scent of spring flowers, which had been made up into little posies for the children to present to our mums.
Having moved from Devon to London after university, I found myself drawn to clothes featuring flowers, whether the actual pattern or embroidery. I also recall, whenever I was abroad, always wanting to take photos of florists’s shops. But it never once occurred to me to become a florist.
Jumping forward several years, after having worked in the corporate world within Training and Customer Service, becoming very ill on honeymoon was the trigger that changed my career. Overnight, I began to feel constantly dizzy. It was so debilitating and anxiety-inducing. None of the health professionals I consulted were able to shed any light on how I could get better. I saw at least seven doctors, had numerous tests and an MRI. I tried virtually every complementary therapy going from EFT to Reiki. It was two years down the line of feeling completely out of sorts that a young osteopath diagnosed me. It was BPPV and Labyrinthitis…inner ear issues which wreck havoc with your sense of balance.
First floristry steps…
This whole scenario led to me reassess my working life and what really made me happy. And the answer was flowers! I signed up for a floristry evening class at Southwark College in London and started work experience in a local florist. I loved it so much that the following year, I went part-time in my corporate job, worked one day a week in the florist shop and one day a week, I went to college to study a National Certificate in Floristry. Fate was very kind and I was fortunately made redundant and started to work full-time as a florist. I considered setting up my own floristry business, but the timing wasn’t great. It was 2008 and there was a global financial crisis.
Through the help of a very supportive husband and a business coach, who also happened to be an astrologist (!), my ‘aha’ moment came one Friday afternoon in August 2010. I knew how to blog and use social media, and I loved flowers. So, why didn’t I create a blog about flowers? When I was studying floristry, I struggled to find information about the industry. So I knew that there was an appetite. And that’s how Flowerona was born…
My second passion…
I realised at an early stage of starting my blog that beautiful imagery was very important. So, with a new basic digital SLR camera and kit lens, I took several photography courses, the first one being at a local college where I was taught by a former police surveillance photographer! And after flowers, it’s now my second passion.
Having studied floristry and worked in the industry, I’ve gained an in-depth understanding of how things tick ‘behind the scenes’. And I’m more than aware of how incredibly hard-working this creative community is, with crazily early starts, potentially chilly working conditions, the immense physicality of the job, not to mention the havoc it can play with your family and social life. I know that you’re definitely not ‘playing with flowers’.
I hope you enjoy all that Flowerona offers and always remember that I’ve got your back…