PUBLISHED: 10:01 30 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:40 30 July 2020
If ever there was a new business venture that was mean to be it has to be the new Sarah Tynan Flowers shop at 15 High Street, Portishead.
Sarah is no stranger to Portishead High Street, after working as Sarah Tynan Flowers from home for many years when her children were young, the former royal florist, who has worked in floristry around the world, moved in to 100 High Street alongside Mother Nature health food shop. When the owners of Mother Nature retired, Sarah took on the lease with her good friend and business partner Rhoda.
Sarah tragically lost her brother John in September which affected her deeply, not long after, Rhoda decided to pull away from the business partnership and Sarah looked for new beginnings.
Then came the pandemic and lockdown. Not the ideal time to be starting a new business venture. Worse still, Sarah and her family were struck by Covid-19. Her husband Phil, who had recently recovered from cancer, was hit hardest and spent six weeks in a coma in intensive care.
“They called us in on three separate occasions because they thought he wasn’t going to make it” said Sarah. “I don’t know where he gets his strength from but he eventually pulled through.”
The Tynan family’s personal challenges are far from over and so again, it is not the ideal time to be starting a new business venture, but Sarah says the way it has all come about makes her feel it’s her destiny.
Sarah has always been one to spot an opportunity. Her career began at Fowlers florist in Portishead High Street and after demonstrating a flair for floral arrangements, she studied floristry for three years at Plymouth College of Art. After college Sarah went travelling and her artistic ability earned her a job on the other side of the world where she was invited to help at the legendary spring flower show in Sydney.
Upon her return to the UK, with a reputation that now went before her, Sarah was offered a job at Claridges in London. It was through her job at Claridges that Sarah became a Court Florist with royal warrants to serve the Queen, Queen Mother and Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and St James Palace. She personally prepared the flowers for Prince Phillip to give to the Queen on her birthday each year; she was tasked with meeting the floral needs of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and has a long list of royal occasions for which she prepared the floral displays. It wasn’t only royalty Sarah prepared flowers for; she served actors, models, MPs and business tycoons, arranged floral displays for London Fashion Week, for stage and TV and she was no stranger to meeting the floral needs of celebrity weddings and funerals. To this day Sarah is still providing flowers for royal occasions and for TV, for example, she organised the flowers for Sophie the Countess of Wessex when she visited Bristol and provided flowers for the recent BBC documentary, The Salisbury Poisonings.
Family brought Sarah back to Portishead; it’s where she and her husband wanted to bring up their children. The children are now grown up and even though at home the family have a tough time ahead, the move to 15 High Street has given Sarah a new joy and focus.
She said: “I heard the lease on the former Belle and Dotty shop was available. The extra square footage and it being one of the best vantage points in the High Street for footfall made it ideal for Sarah Tynan Flowers, however with the lockdown and restrictions in place I felt it would have been foolish to consider the additional expense of moving. All this was going around in my head when I received something personal that my brother had left me. Some people may think I’m mad but I saw this as a sign that I should take the plunge. My brother was quite entrepreneurial himself and it is partly for him I will do everything I can to make this move a huge success for my business.”
Sarah has worked tirelessly over the past weeks to get the shop ready for an August 1st opening.
She is well known for her exquisite gift flowers but the additional space in the new premises will allow her to sell every day flowers, as well as her famous gift bouquets. She also has plans to sell pot plants, bedding plants and silk flowers. In addition, candles and quality gifts will line the shelves.
Sarah added: “Although Rhoda is no longer a partner she is still very much involved in the business and I know I can count on her for support if and when I need it. I am listening to what my customers want and I am trying to meet their needs wherever I can. From a bunch of daffs to full banqueting flowers, Sarah Tynan Flowers aims to serve the whole community and beyond and after months of closure I can’t wait to get going again.”
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