12 February, 2021
New opportunities during Covid re-ignited florist business
ONE of Queensland’s most successful and enterprising Valentines’ Day flower businesses is The Florist FOURWAYS on Nebo Road in West Mackay.
While other businesses struggled during the COVID shutdown, FOURWAYS expanded, when its hard-working business owner, Shawna Starrett, initiated new business opportunities.
“My business went into overdrive with phone booking and on the internet, with requests for our affordable home delivered hampers called – ‘Just Because’,” Shawna smiled.
“Mackay residents really loved our ‘COVID Packs’ which included, nuts, chips, plus tissues and toilet rolls when nobody could buy them.
“Our hampers had everything including coffees, cake, flowers, chocolates wine, cheese, beer and teddy bears.
“So social media really helped me through the rough COVID times.
“For example, while all other Mackay restaurants and luxuries in life were shut, The Florist FOURWAYS was the only luxury left and my business just bloomed.
“I was scared that I would be shut-down, but I didn’t have to close and now I’m also very busy making reels or videos of flower arrangements on Instagram and on Facebook.
“I really enjoy this live internet broadcasting, where I talk straight to people on their phones.
“Then customers then feel they have a relationship with me and they follow me on Facebook from their loungerooms.
“My website – TheFlorist4ways.com.au – also shows all our flowers, flower arranging and gifts which are on-sale in my store.”
Another of Shawna’s clever initiatives is her reception/dining room, which adjoins her florist shop.
“We’ve done a lot of Christmas workshops by using this space as a classroom to teach customers flower arranging or ‘florestry’, which includes dry flowers which are very popular.
“So now The Florist FOURWAYS also provides high teas, plus baby and bridal showers for four to 50 people, which includes pastries, Patizzi, tea and coffee, cakes, mini-sweets and savories.
“Importantly, our treats are especially tasty as they are all made by local home businesses.
“Plus, we also arrange and provide flowers for up to three weddings each weekend.”
However, a large part of the every-smiling Shawna’s success, is her outward-going personality, her charm and her passion to be the best florist shop in Mackay.
“I enjoy being the face of my business and looking after my customers.
“I always remember each of my customers’ names and I make them feel welcome by remembering what coffee and cakes they had last time.”
Another reason for Shawna’s success is that she knows the flower business from the ground up.
“I grew-up on a flower farm at north Eton, where I started at 13, with the backbreaking work of weeding, planting and chipping garden beds.
“We started when Mackay Sugar decided they would start a flower project called North Eton Blooms.
“So, six cane farmers decided to glow flowers and our large family flower farm grew red and pink roses, babies breath, gerberas, anthuriums and seasonal crops.
“Mum also used to buy seconds and sell them to churches and at the markets.”