Highland florist thrives after tapping into a younger market through Instagram

Corin MacLeod created a business plan to be an event and wedding florist based in the Scottish Highlands, but like many people the pandemic forced her to rethink.

North Floral Designs, based in Dornoch, was instead re-marketed on Instagram to offer doorstep deliveries and gift bouquets to customers during the pandemic.

Ms MacLeod, 22, said that after launching North right before the lockdown was announced in March last year, she initially thought there was no point in continuing the business.

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However, after a month she decided to see if there would be any interest in gift bouquets – something she hadn’t intended on offering originally.

Ms MacLeod said: “I made myself an Instagram page and explained my plan. I thought I might get a couple of orders a week, but within a day I was completely sold out. It was crazy.

"Since then it’s just been absolutely mad, I honestly think social media is the reason.

“On Instagram you see all these amazing florists down in the cities that encourage you to buy beautiful flowers for yourself or to treat your friends, but there was nothing like that up here for people who wouldn’t be inclined to go down the more traditional route.”

Ms MacLeod has noticed that from time to time older people are surprised to discover she is the owner of North.

North Floral Designs is a florist based in Dornoch in the Highlands.North Floral Designs is a florist based in Dornoch in the Highlands.
North Floral Designs is a florist based in Dornoch in the Highlands.

She said: “Sometimes when people arrive at the cabin to collect flowers and I come out they’re a bit like ‘Oh, that’s not what we were expecting’. Often people assume a florist is going to be a slightly older, more traditional person, rather than someone like me.

"But at the same time I think that’s why I have a younger client base. I am young myself and I try to approach things in a modern way, which is working in my favour because people of a similar age to me are like ‘she’ll get it, she’ll know what I want’.

"I’ve been getting a lot of brides as well looking for that classic ‘Pinterest’ wedding.”

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Starting her own business was not something Ms MacLeod had anticipated doing.

Corin MacLeod, owner of North Floral DesignsCorin MacLeod, owner of North Floral Designs
Corin MacLeod, owner of North Floral Designs

She describes herself as a “home-bird”, saying that she knew she definitely didn’t want to go to university when she left school.

Ms MacLeod said: “I did a few odd jobs, mainly in hospitality, and then I saw an advert for a trainee florist in Alness so figured I would give it a go, and I ended up loving it.”

She worked for a few years before taking some classes at the Flower School in Glasgow, which gave her the confidence to launch North Floral Designs.

Asked if she has any concerns that she might lose trade as lockdown lifts, Ms MacLeod said that it was daunting, but she wasn’t worried.

A flower bouquet made by North Floral Designs.A flower bouquet made by North Floral Designs.
A flower bouquet made by North Floral Designs.

She said: "In a way I’ll be going back to my original business plan.

“I’ve had a few brides reschedule three times now, so actually getting to do those weddings will be so lovely.

"This last year has been nothing like I had imagined, but it’s been a blessing in disguise.

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"I got so much experience and now people know and like North. I feel like I’ve established myself in a way I never would have otherwise.”

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