While the market is closed once again due to the national lockdown, we’re running an occasional series profiling the wonderful traders who make and sell your favourite Levy Market products. Just who are these individuals who have an idea for a business they want to create and the passion to give it a go? And how do they get from that stage to being at an award-winning community market, where you, the customer, get to make a purchase from them?

This time, we catch up with Amelia from Florence in Flowers. A semi-regular fixture at the market in the past year, Florence in Flowers have found an appreciative customer base in Levenshulme for their fresh and dry bouquets, wreaths and other arrangements – precisely what you need when locked in your home for months on end. You can order via their website, including some top-notch Valentine’s Day arrangements. While the market is closed for the next few weeks, their bouquets can also be found alongside the impeccable cakes, bakes and sweet treats at Long Boi’s Bakehouse on Forest Range.

Amelia, you’re a florist – how does someone get into this line of work?
I used to be a full time visual merchandiser and always loved the part of the job where I got to work with flowers for events. Then I moved to Canada in 2017 and there was a job opening for a florist. I was lucky enough to get it. It was challenging and a lot of hard work but I loved it so much. I knew it was right for me!

So is being a florist now your full time job?
I also have a part time job in a pub, but I obviously haven’t been able to do that in a long time, so at the moment it is!

Some traders have found the pandemic has come close to destroying their businesses. A few others have found it helped theirs flourish. How has it been for you?
I only started my business in February 2020! I had a great start but the pandemic hit pretty soon after. I put my business on hold for the first lockdown and figured out how to make it work for me after we came out of it. This past year has been about adapting for everyone. I feel very lucky that people have supported my small business and I’ve been able to continue to work.

What is it like trading at markets like the one in Levenshulme?
I found trading at Levy a great way to understand what people wanted from my business. It’s the perfect place to get feedback – it’s market research for your brand. The challenges are really just weather dependant – some days might be very quiet but that’s all part of market life.

Has coming to the market changed the way you think about the area?
I didn’t know Levy very well before I started trading there but it’s lovely to see it has a great community. There are so many small businesses and everyone is very supportive. I love seeing familiar faces and being part of the market.

Do you have a favourite flower or an arrangement you love most?
I love to create flowers inspired by English meadows, natural shapes and lots of different colours and heights. The more natural the better. My favourite flower is a Butterfly Ranunculus. They’re not very common and have beautiful ping stems which branch out into more stem – they have up to five flowers on one stem and last about three weeks. I love the shape of them, they’re so elegant and come in beautiful colour.

Valentine’s Day is coming up – do you have any tips for people wanting to give flowers to their loved ones this year?
If you’re looking for a lovely bouquet then for Valentine’s I have two different colour options, one which is deep red, orange and blush and another option which is blush and white. But I recommend people buying flowers for themselves! And not just at Valentine’s but all year round. They’re often thought of as a gift, but having flowers in your home, with their smells, colours and connection to nature has been proven to improve mental health.

You can follow Florence in Flowers on Facebook and Instagram. You can order their arrangements via their site. You can also pop into Long Boi’s Bakehouse to pick up their arrangements Thursday – Saturday, 10-4pm.

AND REMEMBER. We have an ongoing database of all the regular traders you’d usually find at Levy Market but who are instead currently delivering their products direct to customers’ homes. This is a trying time for many small businesses so rest assured that by making a purchase you’d be doing your bit to support someone’s livelihood.