The becoming of a blooming florist

 Can you really make a new career out of a passion for flowers, a decent location and a good Instagram following? Flowerpop in Inchicore says it’s possible.

Heather Condren in her floral studio. Photo: Leon Thompson 

Heather Condren married her husband on Good Friday, the 14th of April 2017. A couple of months prior, her friends had organised an unexpectedly life-changing hen party for her – one of those moments when a chance to reflect leads you in new directions. 

Born and raised in Tallaght, Condren always had a passion to express her creativity through flowers but wasn’t quite sure how to pursue it as her full-time job.

Weeks away from getting married, feeling stressed and over-worked, Heather quit her job.

“I was working as a social care worker and I was doing 24-hour shifts,” said Heather.

“I knew when we got married we would want to start trying for kids soon enough, and I didn’t want to be doing 24-hour shifts when I had a baby obviously – so I quit my job,” she said.

With a newfound and extremely supportive following acquired on Instagram in 2018 from her active involvement during the ‘Repeal the 8th’ campaign, she found strangers supporting her personal life.

This social media following essentially became her golden ticket to the life she has now, working in Flowerpop, her award-winning floral studio sat on Emmet Road in Inchicore, Dublin 8, which has been up and running since October 2021.

“I had over 5,000 followers so when I started doing flowers, people were so supportive so I kind of instantly had a customer base I was really lucky. I had been building a customer base before the business got going and all my marketing is done on Instagram,” she says.

“I’m no Kylie Jenner but you know…”    

Image of shop-front on Emmet Road. Photo: Leon Thompson.

Condren explains the long road that took her there. She has never been the type of person to settle down: her hardworking attitude gives her a long and impressive resumé.

A teaching qualification to go alongside her degree in English meant she was teaching English as a foreign language alongside a “couple of other things”. Condren landed an internship with a start-up food company called Sadie’s Kitchen after finding an interest in pursuing a career in PR.

“It was supposed to be a three-month internship but she offered me a job within a month. I worked there for three years and at the same time I won a scholarship to train as a florist. So, I was working in PR and marketing, and training to be a florist and I was pregnant – I was busy!

“Just the freedom to be and to impart your values onto the company where you can say I only want to support Irish where possible.” 

– Heather Condren

“I was dipping my toe in and out of doing flowers and it was always in the back of my head to pursue it full-time but it’s scary to step out and do that kind of thing particularly when you have the responsibility of a kid.

“So I decided not to pursue it full-time – and then circumstances changed with COVID-19 and I just said it’s now or never,” she added.  

D8 Development’s Lauren Tuite leased the small Inchicore unit to Condren last autumn. Today it has become a beautiful shop.

“Her [Tuite’s] business model is to get start-up companies into disused space. The universe was screaming for me to come to Inchicore and open a flower shop,” says Condren.

Photo: Leon Thompson. 

Flowerpop has now distinguished itself as a force to be reckoned with as it continues to strive to be as unique and sustainable as possible. “Most flowers that you see are wrapped in plastic with water. We don’t do that – we deliver our flowers with raw stems,” she says.

Condren prides herself on injecting her values into the business. “It’s important for me to have a smaller range and be able to say that’s actually made in Dublin 8 or on Cork Street and this glass and that candle maker are handblown in Rialto. We’re new – I’m only learning – and working for yourself is lovely.

“Just the freedom to be and to impart your values onto the company where you can say I only want to support Irish where possible.” 

Condren fixing flowers in her store. Photo: Leon Thompson. 

She says she is trying to find the perfect work-life balance, when she doesn’t get to spend as much time with her child as she would like to.

“It’s really hard at the moment, it’s definitely been easier since taking on some new staff. My little boy is in crèche five days a week and then I work most Saturday’s in the shop so I only see him on a Sunday really.

“The guilt of that is huge. I have another baby on the way and I don’t know how I’m going to manage that like I won’t have any sort of maternity leave I’ll be back in work within six weeks I’d say.”

Through all these emotions Condren continues to keep her eye on the prize.

“I just have to remember I’m doing it for my kids ultimately. I have to put in the hours now and I will have more work/life balance hopefully as the business grows and I can take on somebody else to step back a bit more. At the minute it’s just intense but that’s the way it has to be.”  

You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

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