WHEN you think of flowers, beautiful, sweet smelling, bright and colourful flowers, don’t you just want to smile?
Well today’s FITC is a flower who sells flowers in a cozy little shop called The Flower Hut along West Hall Street behind Y de Lima on the William Peter Boulevard.
Merlinda Inglis Popo of Bocage left her regular 9-5 job a little under one year ago to set up shop with her husband and has so far been spreading the joy and warm happiness that only flowers can induce.
The 35 year old’s jovial and quirky personality has landed her in the ideal field of work because surely a sour puss will not make a good florist.
It is also a plus that she loves meeting new people and making friends along the way.
Popo said she has no regrets with her decision and judging from the feedback from her clients, she feels right at home making people happy.
The VOICE: What is the life of a florist like?
Merlinda: Being a florist, my job is to firstly make people happy. My staff and I put a great deal of effort into making sure that we sell fresh flowers to satisfy our customers and in general, we take pride in our little shop. We cater for weddings, funerals and special occasions like birthdays and Valentine’s Day. I work based on people’s emotions, how they feel and what they are going through at the time. So basically, if you are in the mood to simply make someone feel loved and appreciated then we have brightly coloured flowers that will just lift your spirits. If you are grieving, the colours chosen are generally darker like the purples but I could also cater to your needs if you want flowers to make you temporarily take your mind off the pain and remind you of better times. We also sell gifts like picture frames and wall art as well as cards etc so there really is something for anyone and any occasion.
The VOICE: The thought of flowers usually makes people smile and sends them to somewhat of a good place mentally and emotionally but for you, how do they make you feel?
Merlinda: Oh I feel the joy and happiness too. It actually makes me love what I do even more…you know that feeling you get when you’re doing what you love, then it doesn’t even feel like a job? Well yes, that’s how I feel. Right now, this world is growing more and more scary and dark; the flower has always been a symbol of peace, warmth, innocence and light. I feel so good knowing that I’m helping to spread that feeling. And to be honest, the world could do with some more flowers.
The VOICE: Why did you decide to take such a risk though and leave your regular job to be a florist?
Merlinda: Who wants to be regular? I love flowers…I have a passion for them and the way that I make people feel using those flowers is very rewarding to me.
The VOICE: How long have you been working with flowers?
Merlinda: I’ve been doing this for years. I was always one to help my mom and other relatives and friends out when it came to flowers and arrangements for functions and gatherings. Those same relatives and my husband were instrumental in me starting this business. They really encouraged me to go for it and I took their advice and never looked back
The VOICE: What is your clientele like especially with their requests?
Merlinda: I get all kinds of clients in here. They mainly focus on the flowers but their needs vary. The requests are fairly straightforward but there are a few who want something with a difference and we work with them until they get exactly what they are asking for.
The VOICE: Is this a line of work that you would recommend for people looking to start up their own business?
Merlinda: You really have to love what you do because it is not easy. Also, you have to be very careful health wise because so many people have allergies to different flowers and their pollen and are completely unaware so you must really check up on that factor before going into such a business. Imagination and creativity are also essential. You need to have the eye for arrangements and that goes hand in hand with passion so if you don’t have that much emotional investment in it, this is not the job for you because your customers will see exactly how you feel by your arrangements, trust me. But honestly, if you have all these qualities and you are seriously considering it, I would say in life, you have to take chances and unless you take the leap, you will never know what’s in store for you. sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but at least you took a chance.
The VOICE: Is this a costly affair?
Merlinda: Oh yes! Flowers are extremely expensive as well as the products needed to keep them looking healthy and fresh.
The VOICE: What do you love most about this job?
Merlinda: I really love that at the end of the day when we give the customers their arrangements, the smiles and sometimes even tears that follow, I say to myself; “Wow, I just made someone’s day!” Also, it doesn’t hurt that I’m my own boss (laughs)