WEATHERMAN Paul Stevens is forecasting a blossoming future in business.
The Oakes meteorologist finds his specialist skills come in useful in his other role – partnering colleague Corey Lewis running floristry shops at Waterloo and Salendine Nook.
And he says the buying habits of customers provides a reliable barometer for the economic climate.
He said: “We have seen a growing confidence in the quality flower market since April. This has spurred us to expand and open our second flower store in the newly-refurbished Salendine Shopping Centre.
“With a solid brand like Sainsbury’s next to us, this is a great site to develop an excellent local client base.”
Corey has been designing floral displays for more than six years. Having already got one Inspirations flower shop in Waterloo, he wanted to develop the brand with a second store. A third is already being planned.
Said Paul: “Flowers are an absolute luxury, so trading has been difficult for 18 months. But I believe we are through the worst and our sales have been growing again since April.
“The second store allows us to delivery an even better cost efficient service. We can buy more effectively and reduce our same day delivery costs to our customers.
We are known for our modern bouquets and arrangements designing unusual shapes and using flowers from all over the world, delivered fresh into us daily.”
He said: “We use satellite technology to map our routes better and I use weather data in the winter to ensure safe delivery to Huddersfield.
“Having a good idea of what the weather and climate has been doing around the world also gives us a tactical advantage when purchasing quality flowers.”
Not surprisingly, people ordering flowers for special occasions such as weddings often ask Paul for a weather forecast for the big day – which helps them planning outdoor events.
“They want to know if the marquee is going to get blown away!” he said.
When the third shop opens, Inspirations will have “complete coverage” across Huddersfield – enabling the business to keep its costs lower and pass on those savings to its customers.
“Flowers don’t have to be expensive to be different,” said Paul. “Our shops are linked by computer so we can move orders quickly between shops. We can deliver from anywhere in the UK and around the world via the Teleflorist Network, which is also expanding.”