2023 has been a year of change with new collections, new homes, and new adventures. Read on to discover some of the highlights of this transformative year.
An energetic start to the year
2023 quickly proved that it would be just as fast-moving and fun for The Suffolk Nest as 2022 as we kick-started the month with a quick trip to our European suppliers. It was a whistlestop tour and we were there and back in a day (home in time for the girls’ bedtime), but a fantastic opportunity to source new blooms for the year-ahead. The rest of the month was equally busy as we prepped for our Spring launch, shooting a stunning selection of stems including our stunning white viburnum and white lilac.
Our Spring Collection launched in February, alongside a range celebrating Easter. We also managed to squeeze in some more supplier trips in the UK and Europe, and we were excited to be invited to design and create faux flower planters for a large office complex in Suffolk. This month also saw the successful launch of our first wreath kit of the year.
New collections and new places
Hot on the heels of our Spring Collection, in April, we made our first warehouse move of the year. Chris spent weeks preparing for the move, sourcing equipment, racking, flooring, and forklifts as well as working out all the logistics of transferring our existing racks and commercial fridges. It was a serious undertaking – and one that we went through all over again in December!
Happily, our new warehouse is fantastic – we couldn’t have asked for better. We’d been planning to make a move since July and were let down by a previous location in 2022, but finding this new space proves that everything really does happen for a reason. We now have so much more room to hold stock, ensuring we can continue to grow and keep delivering a range of fantastic products to you, our incredible loyal customers.
This Spring, we also made our first visit to our suppliers outside of Europe. It was great to finally meet them face-to-face, make new connections, and collaborate on some very exciting future ideas.
I also branched out into two new fields this year: publishing and product design. In March, my book, House of Flowers, was published. It was a real labour of love, and you can read more about the writing process here. I’m so proud of the finished product. The book went on to be an Amazon bestseller, but even more importantly, it’s something I can pass down to my girls.
As well as writing the book, I started working on designs for a new line of vases, exclusive to The Suffolk Nest, in late 2022. The Lavenham, The Suffolk, and the Footed Bowl all launched in the summer, closely followed by The Hemingstone, The Bildeston, and a selection of Christmas-themed ceramics. Seeing these pieces come to life has been so rewarding and I can’t wait to expand the collection in the coming months and years.
Finally, May was the month we launched our summer wreath kit and Summer Collection. This was the first range we’ve produced that features UV protected trees designed to be displayed outdoors.
A time of transition
Autumn is always a good time to take stack and this year was no exception. At the end of August, we made the decision to end our weekly Instagram live floristry tutorials, Flowers for the Weekend, after 100 episodes, freeing up time for us to pursue new ways to inspire and connect with our customers.
This bittersweet ending heralded the start of a very busy September. Our daughter Orla started reception and we’re happy to share that she loves school and is absolutely thriving. Our youngest, Florence, also loves learning and has just started pre-school. I know most parents feel this way, but our little girls bring us so much happiness and it’s incredibly rewarding to see them grow and develop each week. The old adage is true; the days are long, but the years are short.
September was also the month when we launched our autumn wreath kit and our Christmas garlands and wreaths. We then went on our first location shoot away from home as we journeyed to the Cotswolds to shoot our Christmas collection in the dream festive setting.
October was another month of change as we rebranded The Suffolk Nest. It was important for us to showcase our ethos of minimalist simplicity and adopt a fresh, modern look. We were also shaking things up at home as we started preparing our own move. People viewing our house must have wondered at our love of Christmas decorations when they saw that our tree was already up well before Halloween (in our defence, it was for a photoshoot!)
We were also very pleased to start Stem Solutions in October. This new series is all about finding answers to the trickiest flower conundrums. Think of me as your Agony Aunt for all things floral. No matter whether you have an unusual vase, a strict budget, or an awkward space to fill, I’m here to help.
We’ve hit some amazing milestones this year that Chris and I could never have imagined when we first started The Suffolk Nest. We’re proud to share that we’ve gained over 3,500 5* reviews and we’re very thankful for everyone who has taken the time to leave feedback. We read every single one.
We were also able to give thousands of pounds worth of competition giveaways this year and make donations to several charities close to our hearts.
2023 has also been a year of awards: we’re grateful to have been recognised as the eCommerce Development Agency 2023 for Suffolk, Home Décor Retailer of the Year, Faux Floristry Studio of the Year – East Anglia, and the Floristry Service of the Year, while I was named as the Creator/Influencer Businesswoman of the Year.
Endings and beginnings
It’s fair to say that 2023 is ending as it started, as hectic and exciting as ever. The last week of November was easily one of the busiest weeks of our lives as we moved house, threw a birthday party for Orla, launched our wreath kits, and dealt with the organised chaos of Black Friday! I’m pleased to say that we’re very settled already and excited to share more; after all, it was our first home renovation that led to the launch of The Suffolk Nest.
As the year comes to an end, December still promises new projects as we’ve been tasked with designing garlands for the shop fronts of Mint Velvet’s UK stores.
Looking ahead, we can’t wait to see what 2024 has in store. Your support allows us to grow and means we can reinvest into bigger and better things. We’re committed to providing a better service, better systems, better products, and better stock levels! We have so many plans for The Suffolk Nest, and, despite our packed schedule, we feel (and hope) that we’re still only getting started. Thank you all for being part of our story so far.
Wishing you all a wonderful, happy and healthy New Year! x