Into the Spotlight, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, is a weekly feature which highlights some great independent businesses. Here, we introduce Anne-Marie Knight, who runs Spring Wood Flowers in Kirkburton.
A florist with a passion for wedding flowers and homegrown blooms has won her first award.
Anne-Marie Knight, 48, of Spring Wood Flowers in Kirkburton, won Best Florist for Yorkshire and the North East in the Wedding Industry Awards 2022.
As a regional winner she now goes forward to the national final which takes place at Under The Globe Theatre in London on February 23.
Mum-of-two Anne-Marie, who runs her business from a workshop at home, said: “It’s my first award and I’m really proud of it.
“What’s special about these awards is that once you’ve been nominated your clients have to support you and vote for you and then it goes before a judging panel of industry experts.
“I had to miss the regional awards in Newcastle but I’m excited to go down to London, though I’m not expecting to win. I’m sure the competition will be intense.”
Anne-Marie, who has a very natural garden-gathered style of floristry, offers flowers for all occasions but weddings are her passion.
“I love weddings and the excitement, the planning and the inspiration,” she said. “I love to see the faces of the brides when I deliver the flowers. Sometimes they cry and when they do that I’m a mess too!”
Sustainability is also important to Anne-Marie who added: “My style is quite natural and I love using British flowers and have a supplier in Cleckheaton. That makes it local and sustainable, which is great.”
Anne-Marie had always loved flowers and grew her own, just as a hobby and for her own enjoyment.
However, after a 22-year career in the Civil Service, Anne-Marie was offered voluntary redundancy and she decided to take it and follow her passion for flowers.
That was in 2016 and Anne-Marie went to ‘flower school’ and studied for a City & Guilds with the intention of starting her own business.
She also started working part-time working with people with disabilities, a job she found really fulfilling. She now works at lunchtimes at Castle Hill School in Newsome and combines that role with her floristry business.
Anne-Marie said her business grew slowly through social media and word-of-mouth but it was during the pandemic that it really accelerated.
“I did originally think I would just do weddings but then Covid came along and changed everything,” said Anne-Marie.
“I had a website but I changed it into an e-commerce website where people could buy online and at the start of the pandemic I did lots of gift flowers as people were sending good wishes flowers because they couldn’t see friends and loved ones and also, sadly, I did some funeral flowers too.
“During Covid restrictions, my wedding income fell to zero and I had a pretty tough couple of years on that front. It was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for my couples too!
“Some weddings had to be moved two or three times but there was only one that I couldn’t do when they moved the date and I found a friend who could help them.
“My diary is filling up fast for 2022 and I only do one wedding per day. It’s going to be extremely busy.”
Anne-Marie has previously run Christmas wreath-making workshops and she’s now teamed up with a friend, Liz Wood, to launch Bramble & Rose Flower School which will hold workshops at local community centres. Sessions are already planned in Upperthong and Denby Dale.
To find out more go to www.springwoodflowers.co.uk or search Facebook or Instagram.