Lisa Dickinson of City Centre florist Venus tells us how she harnessed the opportunity for digital growth and bucked the downturn.
Lisa Dickinson of City Centre florist Venus tells us how she harnessed the opportunity for digital growth and bucked the down turn.
The woman behind one of the top independent designer florists in Manchester credits the internet with helping her business to ride out the recession – and thinks that every other small business in Manchester should know how to market themselves online.
Lisa Dickinson took over Venus, on Oxford Street in Manchester city centre, in 2007. Now thriving, the business was struggling at the time and Lisa believes that a digital edge is vital for anyone looking to flourish in a crowded marketplace.
“It’s tough for any small retailer and there aren’t a lot of independent shops left in the city centre. I have seen competitors close, but we’re weathering the storm of the recession and the internet has helped us massively.”
Lisa’s previous career was in social care, but she had always wanted to work for herself. After retraining in floristry, she bought a shop in Worsley, before getting the chance to buy Venus. “I had always admired it as the gold standard for floristry in Manchester and suddenly, I was holding the keys”, she remembers. “I was as green as grass, but learned quickly, because I had to.”
Lisa was keen to use the internet to grow the business, but without any specialist knowledge, she admits that she made some missteps in the digital jungle at first.
“I had some bad experiences and I can see why some small business owners are put off. The biggest digital agencies charge a lot of money, which you can’t afford. Then there are the smaller agencies, who constantly call you up, touting for business and saying that they can get you onto page one of Google.