BNI Central London Female Go-Getter Series
The path to award-winning floral designer extraordinaire..
‘Ever gaze in wonder at the floral arrangements in a swanky London hotel or smile at an unexpected design feature at a wedding or corporate event? Ever wonder how the designer came up with the idea or how they created such magic?’
Award-winning, London-based Elizabeth (Liz) Marsh of Elizabeth Marsh Floral Design Ltd (EMFD) allows us to climb on board her journey to Floral Designer extraordinaire and working with an array of household-name quality brands.
Speaking with Liz, what becomes immediately evident is that her arrival to the world of floristry, came completely out of left field.
Some people plan their career paths with meticulous precision and blossom into their roles and professions. Others might fall into the multipotentialite category – individuals who never arrive at their final destination and instead, embark on and conquer one career or one profession after another.
And then there’s the third way.
…A left turn instead of a right and suddenly we’re travelling along a completely different path. As we meander along, to our surprise, the woods open up into a sun-drenched clearing, sprouting something that flourishes into a ‘just meant to be’.
..enter Liz Marsh, business owner, renowned creative florist and author of Petal Performance: The art of Economics of Floral Design
It’s a flowerful life
As a trained-to-be-journalist-cum-writer, without a flower in sight, Liz’s journey unfolds something like this:
….A one-day-a-week, tide-me-over- job in a florist shop, leads to some natural ladder-climbing; the forging of some valued industry relationships, and ultimately to setting up and owning her own stand-out-from-the-crowd, creative floral design company.
“It wasn’t all plain sailing’ Liz explains. ‘There was a point at which, having witnessed many florists go under, I vowed never to run my own floristry business’.
Clearly life had a different plan for Liz.
It was during one of these moments, just when she thought it was all over and was out in search of a real job, that she was offered a freelance floral design project. This particular job led to Liz creating window displays for Knightsbridge’s Harvey Nichols and to winning Le Caprice and The Ivy’s weekly contracts.
And so, in 1992, the never to be, and now flourishing Elizabeth Marsh Creative Design Company Ltd was formed.
“Flowers in themselves are worthless”?
I’m betting you’ve never heard a florist say anything like
“flowers in themselves are worthless – spend £10, £100, $1000 and they’re still dead in 4 days”.
However, you may well witness Liz Marsh articulating such as she elaborates….
“Their real worth is entirely in what they do for the brand while they are in situ”
And therein, we find the key which unlocks what becomes an EMFD creation…
“understanding the client, the brand; their tone of voice; location; purpose of the floral creation in question”
Liz and her team are single-minded with their goal of ‘manifesting an extraordinary creation which simply oozes the brand’..
‘Whether it’s a small company, a private house or a big brand – each customer has their own distinct look and feel – their brand.
Three words a client might use to explain their brand are for example, Vibrant, Contemporary, Different. From this level of brief-taking, the creative process starts”.
Each and every creation follows her EMFD 5 Point Plan which Liz kindly shares with us:
- Excellence: the word STUNNING should be able to be applied to every creation that leaves Liz’s studio
- Creativity: to make it a way of life for both EMFD team and the customer
- Relevance: arrangements are always integral to the customer’s surroundings, inc lasting, colour, shape and size
- Fun: each day should be filled with fun, hard work, learning, and inspiration
- Growth: to grow as people through our interactions in a creative environment
It comes as no surprise therefore, when I spot among Liz’s enviable client-list such icons as Montblanc, and such brands shouting ‘quality’ as The Royal Saudi Embassy, The Science Museum, Stately Homes as well as many glorious private homes.
Operating out of New Covent Garden Market in Vauxhall, Elizabeth Marsh Designs is renowned and sought after for materialising unique, on-brand designs; for their sculptures, installations and exotic transformations.
A perfect example of the latter is Liz’s metamorphosis of London’s Merchant Taylors’ Hall into a magical Enchanted Forest*.
Q: 11 years with BNI. That’s a long time. What part has BNI played in growing your business
“11 years indeed and I’m still there, so clearly it works for me. A lot of my business emanates from BNI – directly or indirectly. It would take me forever to spout them all so I’ve come up with two that I think will resonate with the readers”
- My relationship with *Merchant Taylors’ Hall started 10 years ago via BNI when their Business Development Manager joined my Chapter. This introduction led to me being included on their suppliers list, and despite my contact having moved on, year on year I’ve delivered the flowers for more events than I can count. The pièce de résistance has to have been our Enchanted Forest (see below)*
- It never ceases to surprise me – where the referrals come from. When you are in BNI it’s not just your immediate chapter that forms your network: I received a referral from a member at another chapter. An introduction to a key high networth client, resulted in a 4 year relationship worth £25k per year.
“that’s the power of BNI”
Q: What advice would you give to anyone considering joining BNI?
- Recognise the opportunities and join
- Think big – Use BNI as a platform not only to grow as a business and as an individual, but also to rise to the next level – whatever that is for you.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge?
It has to be building a team. It wasn’t something I had been trained to do and I’m proud of my efforts over the past 4 years.
- I fine-tuned what I really need from a team
- Which bits of myself to replicate and
- Discovered that culture is the most important factor
The outcome is a, cohesive team of like-minded individuals of whom I’m immensely proud too.
Q: What advice would you give to your 20 year old self?
- Believe in yourself
- Grow your network. This becomes your worth
- Make Time for yourself
Q: Who are the top two women who have inspired/influenced you – personally and/or professionally
“I’ve more than two…”
- Blondie – a highly talented independent woman who made it on her terms
- Barbara Amiel (Lady Black) – as above
- BNI’s UK Executive Director Laura Hurren – Laura isn’t afraid to aim high and do what it takes to get there
BNI London HUB |30+ groups across London
If you’re a Go-Getter – VISIT one of our 30+ Groups to find out what BNI can do for you and your business.
Men and Women Go-Getters are always welcome at our weekly breakfast and lunch meetings. CALL Amanda on 01923-777071 or email her email@example.com and she’ll find the right group for your profession/location.
Read our spotlighted Go-Getters’ stories (and their views on BNI) here:
- Catherine Baudino PhD, MNCP, FRS | Business & Personal Coach
- Saskia Johnston | Forex, Sable International
- Elizabeth Marsh | Floral Designer
- Giulia Remondino | Genius in 21 Days Memory Techniques
- Zoe Clews | Harley Street Hypnotherapist
- Dee Burrowes | MINDSET Strategist
- Beverley Corson | Business Growth Programme
- Emma Sear | Property Lawyer
- Kate Ketzel | Norland Nannies of Live-in Care
- Laura Hurren | BNI’s female-focus initiative is the brainchild of BNI UK Executive Director and Referral Marketing aficionado. Laura heads up BNI London Hub. Follow Laura on Twitter@LauraHurren_BNI | Connect with her on LinkedIn