Home Business Heroes: Martine Davies

Home businesses generate £284bn of the UK's GDP making them the true heroes of our economy. So, to continue Smarta and Viking's celebration of these brave entrepreneurs, we tracked down Martine Davies, the founder of Balcombe Street Window Box Company.

Name: Martine Davies

Business: Balcombe Street Window Box Company

Location: London

How did you come up with the idea for your business?

I moved into a 1900 period home. I had a huge window with a large window ledge crying out for a window box. I couldn't find anyone to make one for me so eventually I got round to going to a garden centre and making one up myself.

After placing my new window box on the ledge I looked out to see who else had one and noticed a distinct lack of floral colour on the other window ledges and decided then and there to offer a service to make them.

What were you doing before?

I was a personal assistant and not a very happy one.

How did you find suppliers of the boxes?

I went to garden centres and looked online and sourced some suppliers. I am always looking for new and interesting boxes to use.

How did you fund the business?

I had some savings. However, I make each box up once I have an order so I don't hold stock.

How did you market it?

I contacted the press and delivered a lot of leaflets. I was lucky to get some great editorial coverage.

Who have you provided window boxes for?

All kinds of people - Lords, Ladies and pop stars, including Noel Gallagher. I also supply to hotels, shops, offices and of course homes.

WindowBoxStuff

How do you store all of the boxes?

I have a little shed to keep stock, although as I make to order I don't tend to keep much spare stock.

Do you arrange the flowers?

Yes, that's the best bit. I enjoy discussing with the clients what they want and then coming up with a design.

Where's your office?

I work from home in St Johns Wood. My company started in Balcombe Street where I used to live, hence the name.

How do you make sure you never get distracted at home?

I do get distracted. I am only human, but I find that when I have work to do I naturally want to get on and do it. When you work for yourself you need to be self-motivated and if someone wants you to make something for them then that is motivation enough to want to do that.

What was it like at the start?

Hard work but exciting. I had to be focused and persistent.

What's the worst thing about working from home?

It can be a bit lonely at times and also you can get easily distracted with things at home.

What's the best?

Working for myself, not having to answer to anyone but myself or my clients. Having the satisfaction of providing something beautiful and making the streets a prettier place. It is very rewarding. Window boxes make people happy.

For more information on on the Balcombe Street Window Box Company, click here

Home Business Heroes, in association with

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