Woman creates weird and wonderful silk funeral flowers and sells them on TikTok
When a loved one dies, florist Anna Jenkins makes sure that you can have something special to remember them by. No matter how unconventional.
At just 22, armed with a textiles degree, Anna started her own business – Silky Bouquets – creating bespoke silk flower tributes for customers. Clients come to her for weddings, baby showers, and all kinds of events – but it is funerals that bring her most of her profits.
Customers ask Anna to design specific things they remember their loved ones by, to put on their graves.
She has used her floristry skills to create Elvis Presley tributes, Del Boy, Buzz Lightyear, Malteser boxes, swear words to put down the side of the coffin, Peter Rabbit, even specific Chanel lipsticks used by the customer’s loved one.
‘The most interesting tribute I have worked on is the recreation of an old fashioned Romany wagon based on a photo supplied by the family,’ Anna tells Metro.co.uk.
‘The pressure to make sure the design looked just right is challenging, but also so rewarding when it is so greatly received by them. We have also created a full wedding setup within 48 hours due to Covid, which was certainly interesting.’
Anna’s business is based in a small shop and her team in a workshop style dealing with requests from local customers and online orders.
‘We love the camaraderie,’ says Anna. ‘We have as a close-knit group with a few family members and team members who are like family. We work hard and also really enjoy what we do. Since Covid, we’ve used the kickstart scheme to take on and then keep a further four team members too.
‘Our mantra is to create the best, long-lasting funeral tributes with a personal touch every time.’
However, interacting with grieving customers during what is often the most difficult time of their lives, is not always easy for Anna and her team.
‘It is something as a team we have really tried to perfect,’ says Anna.
‘When emotions are so high, it can be difficult to chat about fine details, but we have to ensure we get the order right, we also have to remain realistic at what is physically possible, there are often challenging conversations about the timescale to get bespoke orders to arrive.
‘As we most often aren’t local to our customers, we have to talk with empathy and understanding and thoroughly explain our timescales as well as the finalising of the tributes themselves.
‘Customers can be confused and unsure about addresses etc. so we always remain as flexible as possible to meet their needs too should details change.’
The job is unconventional, But Anna loves how rewarding her work is, and relishes the daily challenges that she encounters.
‘I absolutely love the reward of seeing a busy, happy team working hard on beautiful tributes and receiving warm reviews from customers once they receive them,’ she says.
‘The day-to-day can be mega stressful and it has been a hard struggle particularly over the last two years, but every now and again I stop and take stock of how our team has grown and the quality of the tributes we are sending out and it’s all worthwhile.
‘We hope to branch out into more home décor and lasting gifts over the coming months as well, which is an exciting addition to the business.’
Anna was able to grow her business by taking out small business loan from finance provider iwoca, and now TikTok is helping her take things to the next level.
‘We started by selling solely on eBay. We then opened two shops on the high street, and then launched on Facebook, then Instagram, then Pinterest, and now TikTok,’ she says. ‘At one point, eBay was 90% of our revenue, but now it’s 60%, as these other channels are growing.’
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