I’ve made this series to highlight women who are starting out. They have created something out of nothing, following those whispers and are moving forward with bringing their dreams to life.
I believe in the power of sharing our stories, supporting and lifting each other up.
There is enough for everyone to be successful, in what ever way feels right for them.
I N T R O D U C I N G
Kate from Clifton Blooms. Clifton Beach, Tasmania.
Clifton Blooms is a seasonal flower farm growing Australian native flora and specialty blooms.
1. Would you share a little about yourself and what lead you to starting your own business?
Oh gosh. Truly, where do I begin!? Let’s start with the basics, shall we? I’m 42 years old, mum to three children (16, 14 and 5), tend to 7 acres at Clifton Beach, Tasmania, and care for one cheeky sausage dog.
I grew up in South Western Sydney, moved to London when I was 22, for four fabulous years, met my now husband in week three and was engaged a year later. We’ve lived in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore and moved to Tasmania at the end of 2015.
Shortly after moving, I had grand plans to start a flower farm, but I hadn’t grown a single thing in my life. I’d also just finished my Yoga Teacher Training and felt like I “should” give that a go. I spent the next twelve months growing (and killing) a lot of vegetables as well as teaching yoga. By the end of 2016, I knew teaching wasn’t for me and I had a small plot fenced with the intention to start growing blooms.
As it tends to do, life happened, and the flower farm didn’t start. I fell pregnant with our third child (the nine-year gap should speak for itself!) and my husband required open heart surgery. 2017 was a BIG year, one of immense highs and lows.
In 2019, we moved to Singapore. During this time, I did a health coaching course and coached a little, but it wasn’t lighting me up. We returned from Singapore in the middle of the pandemic and like a lot of people, I felt quite lost and rudderless. I just had no idea what I wanted to do.
I faffed about in the vege patch, kept staring at the fenced plot while continually asking myself. Will I, or won’t I? I had a strong sense, call it an intuition that I needed to give the flowers a red-hot go. I enrolled in a Horticulture course, got a part time job at my local garden center and put some plants and seeds in the ground.
And here we are, second season is underway and while there has been challenging moments, I have experienced an incredible ease and flow to all things Clifton Blooms.
2. Favourite time of the day?
First thing in the morning when the sun is just peeking over the horizon and the birds are on the chirp. There is a wonderful energy to the start of a day, particularly in Spring and Autumn.
3. Life is full of distractions, what keeps you focused?
This is a tricky one as I fall into the IG scroll of doom more times than I care to admit! However, I do have a few simple practices that have served me well over the years, especially when it comes to productivity.
Apart from texts and calls, I have ALL notifications on my phone switched off.
Every Sunday, I spend about fifteen minutes looking at the following two weeks. I determine three things that MUST get done that week and block the time out in my calendar. I write these three things down and stick them on the fridge, I tick them off as I complete them. There is something very powerful about lists in places where you can see them!
I think it’s important to get clear on what you want from your business and more broadly from life in general. In my experience, if you aren’t clear on what you want, it’s incredibly difficult to stay focused.
4. What has surprised you?
Ooooh definitely the lack of consumer awareness around the difference between seasonal, locally grown flowers compared to imported flowers. Most people don’t realise that imported flowers account for up to 50% of all flowers sold in Australia. They also don’t realise that imported blooms undergo toxic fumigation in order to comply with Australian biosecurity regulations. The environmental impact of imported blooms is huge, think air freight and refrigerated transport.
Choosing locally grown blooms supports an entire industry from local growers, local wholesale nurseries, wholesale suppliers, compost producers etc. I think more needs to be done to promote and use locally-grown, seasonal flowers. When people know better, they do better! Personally, I’d love to see country of origin stickers on all flowers sold in Australia.
If you’d like to discover if there are local flowers near you check out @grown.not.flown and don’t be afraid to ask your florist where their flowers are grown.
There is something so special about our local peony and rose season. A peony imported from France, in the middle of an Australian winter just isn’t the same as a Peony that’s been grown up the road, in November. I’d love to see flowers enjoyed seasonally, much the same as we enjoy fruit and vege. Can you imagine eating a mango in winter? Everything is better in season.
5. One piece of advice you would like to pass on to someone starting out.
Put your blinkers on, focus on YOUR journey and then take consistent and actionable steps towards your goal – just start.
For all things Clifton Blooms;
Follow Kate on Instagram @clifton_blooms and on her website @cliftonblooms.com
The photo of Kate plus the three photos below, image credit – Marilla @homeofedith
Interview Series: Clifton Blooms
October 21, 2022