Friday Interview: Elizabeth Marsh

Elizabeth Marsh is an entrepreneur specialising in the floral industry. She trained with the great Kenneth Turner and then moved to Azagury Fleurs where she helped the manager to turn the business around within 6 months. She went on to manage the business herself before venturing out on her own. She finally started her own company: Elizabeth Marsh Floral Design in 1992 and was one of the last independent artists to design and install the window displays for Harvey Nichols, working alongside Mary Portas. She now works with Five star hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and high end corporate clients.

Elizabeth, why did you choose to go into the floral industry?
Actually I fell into it!  Having planned a career in journalism, I changed my mind and working in a flower shop was one of several day jobs I took on to pay the bills.  However, I fell in love with the lifestyle and the creativity of my profession and became a full-time florist in 1989

What did you bring from your different experiences with Azagury Fleurs and Kenneth Turner into your own business?
The main thing I am really aware of is the importance of profitability and how easy it is to think you are making money because of the high turnover, whilst the bottom line might not always be so rosy; secondly the importance of cash flow to keep a company solvent

Do you think that being a female entrepreneur has made any difference in setting up your business when more entrepreneurs today are male?
It would seem that the business world is weighted towards men but in fact I am a firm believer in creating my own reality.  I do think men think bigger than women for the most part – but certainly not always

In your opinion, what are the mains skills that an entrepreneur should have to start a company?
Very high energy levels – it is emotionally, mentally and physically challenging as you are constantly learning new skills to develop your business model and the ability to pitch are probably the two most useful assets at the start

How do you juggle the creative and business aspects of your company?
I have made certain difficult choices around my role within the company but on the whole I apply the 80/20 rule


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