What it takes to build Lazy Flora

Claire Lazy Flora

Hello there, Lazy Flora gang!

It’s Claire here, Founder of Lazy Flora.

It’s been a while since I wrote a non-plant-themed blog for Lazy Flora and, as we’re approaching two years of Lazy Flora trading, I wanted to take some time to share with you some of the behind-the-scenes of the thinking and philosophy that goes into this business.

What’s provoked this? Well it’s a time of great change for Lazy Flora: we’re growing from a small and close-knit team to a much bigger, more professional outfit (but just as friendly!). We’re introducing new products (OMG terrariums!!<-- that’s a world exclusive btw), and trying out different marketing techniques. You’ll soon start to notice some pretty cool changes to our website and more personalised product options.

In short, there’s a lot to be excited about.

But I feel like I’d be lying if I told you this had all been easy. And I wanted to share some of that with you, so that you know we’re … well, human.

Yes, even a beautiful and inspirational business like this one can feel like a burden at times – as any responsibility can.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here are some thoughts on what it has taken for me to get Lazy Flora to this point.

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Business can be fun, kind and beautiful When I was growing up, my perception of business was that it was very serious, very numbers-based, and that you had to be a cold-hearted and ruthless mathematician in order to be successful, driving every negotiation with inflexibility and pursuing the best deal at all costs, not letting anyone stand in your way.

I believed that someone like me who didn’t have these qualities would always lack the ability to be successful in business. As a result, I avoided anything that seemed like ‘business’ until my early twenties, when my first real boss showed me that it was possible to lead with kindness, and also be successful in business.

I’m proud to say that my experience of Lazy Flora has carried forward my belief that you can be successful in business and be a good person. The beauty of our products and the joy they bring to us, and to our customers, pervades everything we do, and every interaction we have. The fun atmosphere between our team members sets the tone for all our interactions, and the way we approach interactions with customers too. Work is lighthearted and fun, respect and kindness is at the heart of everything we do.

Patience Things will always take longer than you want them to. Sometimes it’s excruciating, sometimes you will feel like you’ve failed because things are taking longer than you want them to.

Vision board

Fear You have to really, really dig deep. You have to be prepared to face every challenge and weather every storm, and at times that can feel pretty awful.

Whatever you are most afraid of doing, you should probably be running towards with your arms wide open. Fear is a fantastic indicator of what you need to be doing to expand your horizons. The more you follow those instincts, the greater your comfort zone becomes, and the most you are capable of doing.  

People will believe in you if you believe in yourself Before I started Lazy Flora, I didn't consider myself a leader. I thought I wasn’t loud enough or forceful enough, or opinionated enough. But I needed to become a leader in order to grow this into a business take works, and that can scale.

Of course there are many styles of leadership, and not all involve leading from the front, and I’ve developed my own style. I've become even more convinced that is possible to lead with kindness, flexibility and generosity, by listening hard to what people say, and by empowering them to do their best work. When you do this, you don’t need to command people; they seek you out for guidance, listen harder when you speak, and are motivated by shared beliefs.

I have been so lucky with the incredible team that I have built so far at Lazy Flora. It is so special to me that so many people believe in me, and that they are prepared to dedicate themselves to the same goal as me. I am truly thrilled to know that something I have created pays their salaries and is improving their lives in a tangible way.

Business as a force for good Business can be a real force for good in the world. But it doesn’t happen by accident. You have to make it a priority, and you have to pursue it single-mindedly. Switching to plastic-free packaging has been a difficult: it's cost us time, money and effort, when we have little of any of those things! But it matters enough to us that we've done it anyway. We've raised money for WWF's The Amazon is burning campaign, but it didn't happen overnight and didn't happen by accident.

Customer interactions When launching Lazy Flora, the people I was most afraid of were my customers. Yes, I know that sounds crazy. But I was terrified of people being unhappy with our service and of opening myself and Lazy Flora up to criticism. To me, online interactions in the past had been very transactional and formulaic. What I wasn’t expecting was the very personal communications we’ve had with Lazy Flora customers. We have a genuine relationship with our customers that goes beyond merely transactional – they have told me about things happening in their lives; struggles they are having, loss of a pet, arrival of a new baby, holidays they’re excited about. In a world where social media is getting an increasingly bad reputation for bullying and negative interactions, it’s been a pleasant surprise to discover that in the vast majority of cases, people are … well, good people.

Support is everything You can achieve anything when you surround yourself with the right people: people who believe in you, people who want to see you succeed, people who inspire you.

Your only limit is you

You are capable of anything you set your mind to There have been some big challenges over the past two years. There have been a few tears, plenty of self-doubt, and the odd pit of despair.

But there has also been more joy, passion, drive, ambition, excitement, and curiosity than I thought possible. And these will always win out.

Every step forward is a step further than I thought I could go, and shows me how much further I can go. The best is yet to come.

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So there’s a little insight into the inner workings of my brain, and some of what keeps Lazy Flora ticking – at least on my part. Of course, there’s a whole team of amazing people who play essential roles in keeping Lazy Flora moving onwards and upwards.

So to Naomi, Matt, Ally, Laura, Faye, Robert, Kerry, Clare, Lisa, Malek, Margaret. You are legends, with your unique talents, you have each helped make Lazy Flora into something brilliant and beautiful and I’m endlessly grateful. I could not hope for a better team.

And to all our customers: without you we would be nowhere. Thank you for believing in a small independent business that you probably hadn’t heard of before, and sharing the Lazy Flora love. We are always here for you and are excited to show you what we can do next.

Claire.

xxx

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