LEARNING CURVE | Florist’s personal touch sees business bloom

UNIQUE FLAIR: Marelize Saunders, owner of Maley's Florist and Gifts, at the Westway Centre in Newton Park
UNIQUE FLAIR: Marelize Saunders, owner of Maley's Florist and Gifts, at the Westway Centre in Newton Park

With clients all over the world, Maley’s Florist and Gifts strives to provide fast, friendly, efficient service and offer fresh, top-quality flowers daily.

Maley’s Florist and Gifts owner Marelize Saunders, 42, believes “being able to put my own personal touch into everything my business creates for someones special person” makes her business “unique”. 

Please share some background on yourself and how the business was started?      

I am from Mpumalanga, and I got married and relocated to Port Elizabeth in 2006.

Maleys Flowers was established in 1964 and I am the fourth owner of the business — I bought it in 2015.

What is your core service?

Our core business is making flower arrangements for any occasion and gift sets, with same day delivery.   

What are some of the biggest inhibitors your business faced before getting off the ground?

Inexperience and lack of knowledge in my trade.

Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs or new business owners?

Always make sure you follow your gut-feeling on something that seems too good to be true.

Dont do quotations without considering all costs involved, you’re starting a business venture so you cant afford stupid losses.

What are some of your biggest challenges in day-to-day business operations and your particular industry?

Availability of flowers or products at an affordable cost and being able to sell our products to our consumers at an affordable price for them.

What is the best advice anyone gave you on success?

If you fail TRY TRY TRY again but, learn from your mistakes.

Failure builds character and a stronger will to succeed.

How do you measure or define success in your business?

Going the extra mile for my clients.

What are some of the best practices that have made your business successful?

Investing in the right equipment and product care in store.

What kind of advertising do you do?

Mostly Facebook and Google business, I have a website with a trusted international pay gate and I have seen good service leading to word-of-mouth advertising for our business.

What is your company’s vision?

Our vision is to sell a great product with excellent service and have every customer feel like that was money well spent.

What is your target market?

My target market is all genders and ages throughout the year, especially Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day, and so on.

What have some of your highlights been in running your business?

Every time we get a good review on our product and services rendered.

Seeing the comments on our Google reviews is very rewarding.

How important is social media and an online presence for your business?

Social media and an online presence has been vital to my business as we have clients all over the world who have family or friends or loved ones living in our friendly city, and would like to reach out and send flowers or a gift to them.

How many people do you employ?

I have one permanent florist.

Do you have any plans for expanding the business, and how would you go about this?

Not in the near future.

How did you acquire funding for the business?

I took a loan from my Dad.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt from your business journey so far?

Cash is king and criminals come in all forms and sizes.

What have been the greatest challenges and advantages of running your business in a city like PE?

One of our challenges is the competition from retail supermarkets, and price increases seasonally.

An advantage is being able to put my own personal touch into everything my business creates for someones special person, and that way making it a unique, one-of-a-kind item.

What do you believe are the three key traits of a successful entrepreneur?

Be present, be motivated and be driven.

What do you believe are the key traits of a successful employer?

Respect for me goes a long way and being polite doesnt cost anything, so to require these traits from your employees and demand their loyalty and responsibility in their position in the company, I need to show kindness and understanding to their personal challenges but be firm in my requirements from them.