Flower power overcomes challenges of Covid

WITH over 30 years experience in the flower industry, it is no surprise that local talent Clare Forde and her team at ‘Clare Flower’ in Irvinestown, have led the way when it comes to bespoke bridal designs and creating spectacular flowers arrangements for all occasions.
Since opening her shop door 17 years ago, her passion and commitment to doing a job that she “loves” has not gone unnoticed, after scooping up a number of prestigious awards including ‘Best Wedding Florist’ by the renowned ‘Getting Married In Northern Ireland’ magazine for 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2018, to name but a few.
While her creative skills have taken Clare to beautiful locations and wedding venues across the north, the impact of lockdown changed her business almost overnight.
“We weren’t allowed to open the shop during the pandemic but thankfully we were still able to offer a delivery service, and I kept that rolling by myself as the rest of the girls were off,” she said.
“At the beginning I was only doing a wee bit as it was just myself but customers were delighted. For them it was important, especially given the circumstances when people couldn’t attend funerals, sending flowers to a family who had lost someone was the only way that people could express their sympathies.
“So much was taken away from families during their grief due to Covid rules, but flowers in someway resembled some normality and was a great comfort to many.
“Even for families or loved ones who were living away during lockdown or shielding, it was a great service to have if a birthday or special occasion came around and flowers could be delivered to that person.”
Over the years, the business quickly gained popularity within the wedding sector, which meant that Clare and her team faced another major setback off the back of Covid, with the cancellation of all weddings.
“Usually around this time of year we do two-three weddings per week. We should of had up to 10 weddings in June and July is usually hectic but numbers are now half that.
“It’s a huge part of our business that has changed drastically, but you have to just think on your feet and try different things.”

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