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From the Media to Magnolias

22 March 2017

A former media and marketing expert has given up Facebook adverts and focus groups for foxgloves and forget me nots by opening up a new florists in Norfolk.

Nathalie Marshall (42) from Horstead worked in newspapers, fundraising and created her own web-design and marketing business for almost 20 years. A need to move closer to family made Nathalie decide to change career.

She said, “I have a Dutch heritage and they had a strong attachment to flowers. I used to earn pocket money as a girl by helping my mum make arrangements. I guess working with flowers is in my blood.”

The change of career drew her to a one-year course at the Norfolk campus of Easton & Otley College in floristry. Nathalie continued; “I decided that I wanted to do something creative, working in the place that I love, surrounded by the people I love. Being passionate about a new career path, I went along to the college two weeks before the course started and signed up. It was bizarre and a bit scary going back into education, but I’ve always thought that life is like a book with lots of chapters. It evolves as you go along. You only get one chance so you’ve got to enjoy it.”

During the course Nathalie took an enrichment trip to Holland. This adventure - along with a talk from an independent flower grower - gave her the inspiration to open her business.

Whilst at College, she started her new venture from her property called The Forge in Horstead. “People would ask my customers where they bought their bouquets from and they would naturally say, I got these flowers at the forge – so this is what I decided to called my business (Flowers at the Forge).”

The business started to grow and now Nathalie has her workshop located at The Forge whilst having her flower shop in Randells opposite the local pub (The Recruiting Sargeant) where she sells local British flowers.

Nathalie, said, “The majority of my customers want local British flowers that look good and smell wonderful. They want to support local produce; so I am lucky in that sense. I’d say my style is wild and natural. It’s not glam and glitz or pearls and diamonds. It’s just about beautiful natural flowers.”

When asked what Nathalie's ideal client would be, she said; “I don’t have one as such. I just give people what they want and fortunately they keep coming back. In terms of a celebrity (client), I’d go for anyone who has a feel for nature. Someone like Ed Sheeran would be nice.”

Her tutor from Easton & Otley College, Amanda Hughes said, “I am so pleased for Nathalie. She was a naturally talented student and I’m sure she will make her new business a success. What is really nice is the fact that she employs current and former students to help her on a freelance and work experience basis, providing a link between industry and education.”