There’s a thing for all things Danish at the moment. From the reports – yet again – on how Denmark has the happiest citizens on the planet, to the notion of hygge, a word without a direct English translation that is about creating a welcoming, cosy atmosphere with the good things in life – family, friends, food and importantly the glow of candlelight. So Alys Wood-Bibby’s timing could not be more impeccable with her new Scandi inspired business Blomst, the Danish word for flower.
But she’s not just hitching herself to the zeitgeist without proper credentials.
Alys’ mother spent many years in the Scandinavian country so as a child the family would often spend summers there. The 32-year-old admits, “I am a girl who lost her heart in Denmark a long time ago. There is something so romantic about the country, the kindness of the people, the beautiful landscape, the style. I have always felt like Denmark is my second home and still now take every chance I can to go back and visit.” Her love of flowers can also be traced back to her childhood.
“Growing up, I remember the smell and presence of beautiful fresh blooms in our home. Each weekend we would get fresh flowers and I loved them lighting up the kitchen. I used to collect rose petals with my best friend Natalie and make beautiful rose perfume; something we thought smelled magnificent. Only, looking back now, I’m not so sure it was quite as magnificent as we thought!” says Alys.
The Danish aesthetic for simple yet sophisticated design runs through her products; from the delicate potted succulents and dainty terrariums to the arrangements that she offers on a subscription service. It’s that service which she says is the business’s USP and one she settled on to make her new start-up stand out.
“The customer can choose the frequency of their subscription and the size of the bouquets, a bit like your weekly food shop, or your fortnightly farm drop box.” Alongside this, Alys also does individual bouquets, weddings, funerals and special events, and has a regular stall at the E17 Village Market which runs every Saturday at the Community Hub in Orford Road.
Alys gave birth to Blomst shortly after literally giving birth, to her daughter Betsy earlier this year. It’s her first foray into the marketplace and she says she spent a long time researching and talking to friends and family, as well as taking advice from a business mentor.
What she didn’t expect was how it would feel putting her work in the public domain.“It’s hard to put yourself out there creatively and not feel disheartened if you don’t get the response you thought you would. Creativity can sometimes leave you feeling exposed. You might work hard to get things perfect but, like in all aspects of life, not everyone is going to have something positive to say. But you just need to keep on going and in the end it always pays off.”
The weekly market provided Alys with a good springboard for the company so she’s incredibly relieved that after the original organiser pulled out of the scheme, her and other local businesses have picked up the pieces and, after a very brief stoppage, the market is up and running again.
As for the flower that she’d chosen to bloom all around her on a desert island she immediately says, “Anemones, because they are such a beautiful and delicate flower, but so bold. They also featured heavily in my wedding flowers, so they will always have a special place in my heart.”
This article first appeared in the Autumn 2016 edition of “The Village” magazine.