Celebrity florist comes back to Ballymena roots

A florist well known in royal circles for his beautiful arrangements has opened his own shop in Ballymena thanks to support from the Go For It Programme.

Will Kerr (left) is Melanie Christie Boyle MBE, Chief Executive, Ballymena Business Centre and Councillor Peter Johnson, Mayor of Mid & East Antrim Borough Council

Will Kerr, who left Northern Ireland aged 21, worked in London for over 15 years and has managed Moyses Steven’s, the London based florist with a Royal Warrant to HRH The Prince of Wales.

Will’s extensive career has seen him hold floristry roles in none other than Claridge’s, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, providing floral creations for an enviable client base.

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He said: “Working in London was really amazing. I was able to learn from some of the most amazing florists and really honed by skills and my craft. I always knew that I would probably return home and when family circumstances changed it provided a great opportunity to move home and open up my own studio.

“My true passions in life were gardening and art and so they combined really well when I turned my hand to floristry. I actually grow much of my own foliage not far from my shop which is based in Ballymena town centre.

When I made the decision that I wanted to go out on my own, I really understood the market and the operational aspects of the day-to-day running of a florists studio, however, I lacked the knowledge on some of the finer details, such as financial projections, legal requirements and marketing.

“I got in touch with the Go For It Programme, they put me in touch with the Ballymena Business Centre and it all went from there.”

Will said: “The support I received from the Go For It programme was second to none. I really still can’t believe the programme is free. They really were so supportive and continue to assist me to this day. My business advisor was fantastic and was able to point me in the right direction for so many local services.

“After being away from home for so long, their up-to-date expert guidance was so valuable. I never felt like I was on my own, they were always at the end of the phone.”

The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn ideas into a commercial enterprise.

Mayor of Mid & East Antri, Councillor Peter Johnson, said: “I wish Will every continued success with Le Jardin Sauvage and encourage anyone thinking about starting their own business to go for it and get in touch.”

Melanie Christie Boyle, Chief Executive, Ballymena Business Centre, Mid & East Antrim Council, said: “We were delighted to be able to support Will with Le Jardin Sauvage in the initial stages of his business start-up.”

Anyone with a business idea they’d like to develop can contact the Go For It Programme on 0800 027 0639 or visit: www.goforitni.com

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