Petalon Founders and Family in field

Relocating your business to your dream location

Business wisdom
With Florence Kennedy & James Kennedy, founders of Petalon


When you relocate your business, there are many considerations, from overhead costs or finding new customers, to growth possibilities and the greatest of adventures. Find out why the founders of Petalon moved to Cornwall — and loved it.

Petalon Flower Bouquet

Business relocation: Petalon's heartwarming story

Florence Kennedy and James Kennedy founded the family-run ‘flower delivery by bike’ service Petalon in the majestic capital city of London... So how did they come to move their very London-centric flower business seamlessly from the big smoke to rural Cornwall? And what lengths did they have to go to in order to achieve their ultimate goal? It’s a pretty long way to peddle…

Business relocation ideas: the importance of innovation

Florence and James had to think on their feet. They changed the way they delivered their floral masterpieces by switching to a carbon-neutral courier instead, and beautifully presented them in hessian with a strong USP. Florence said, “I design two fresh bouquets each week to deliver across the country which means we are constantly changing our offering of flowers with each season, while making sure wastage stays low. That’s important to us.”

They are always innovating and thinking up new names for bouquets such as names from Bridgerton or Line of Duty. “It’s basically whatever we’re watching on TV at the time!” Having a strong brand always helps too (read the secret to building a strong brand by Sir John Heggarty for more business advice on this).

Florence and James have also thought up a new concept called Field Flowers which came when they moved. They decided to use their new rural relocation as an opportunity to expand their offering. Florence explained, “Our field flowers have been grown on our farm in Cornwall. We grow interesting varieties that you might not see so often. This is an ever changing menu of seasonal flowers, cut early in the morning and in your home the very next day.”

Should I relocate my business? What would be the benefits of moving?

Although flowers hadn’t always been her passion, Florence saw a gap in the market for same-day fresh flowers and Petalon was born. It’s thanks to her natural talents that Petalon graced the pages of Vogue, Vanity Fair, Time Out and the Evening Standard. They then moved onto weddings and Florence even wrote her own beautiful book called ‘Flowers Every Day’, which shows how to create stylish flower arrangements at home.

However, when the pandemic hit, Petalon became so busy and they lost a lot of staff as many had to go back to their homes overseas to be with their families. James told us, “We went from taking a back seat to doing everything, making the bouquets, packing them and delivering, it was non-stop with the kids in tow!”

Florence knew she had wanted out, ‘We were living in London in a rented shoot location but our lease was coming up and I’d always wanted to wake up with nature. James loves surfing so Cornwall looked like a good place.” Everyone’s benefits are different depending on what they’re looking for. It's wise to think about yours.

In order to move your business and make it work you need to know every aspect of it. We both have different natural talents, but we know how to do everything. It helps when you lose staff during the move to be on top of everything.

When relocating your business, be flexible

Florence and James’ original plan was to live in Cornwall but keep their London studio as a base but that was impossible due to the pandemic, so they moved everything, found their dream home and took the leap into their new life.

Pivoting your business to suit your needs

Their plan was to grow enough flowers to put one home grown stem in each of their bouquets, but they were selling too many bouquets so it just wasn’t possible. “It was a good problem to have!” said Florence. Although it would have been nice to grow all their own flowers, the Cornish wind and horizontal rain meant that growing flowers was challenging. “It’s two degrees colder at night in Cornwall and we managed to kill 600 plants in one night without the right research but it’s all a learning curve!”

Although they’ve started growing flowers and foliage to supplement their bouquets, they now use a local flower farmer as they need such big quantities and varieties. Think how you might have to adapt and remember, as Levi Roots said on his Conversations of Inspiration podcast episode, “I’ve rebranded failure as feedback.” It teaches you what you need to know.

Office relocation can transform your business for the better

One huge learning curve for Petalon and their big move was learning to delegate the areas they didn’t enjoy so they could focus on their true passions. Florence found it tough whenever they received negative feedback, “I took it all very personally so had to take a step back. Complaints from five years ago still upset me because I know how hard we’ve worked.”

James ensured they delegated that part of the business out and said, “We now have a dedicated customer service team who work remotely and respond quickly. All company founders should divorce themselves from customer service after having a taste of it!”

Petalon founders Florence and James
"Our advice is just do it. We moved a very London-centric business to a very rural location so if we could do that, with two toddlers in tow, anyone can!"
Florence Kennedy & James Kennedy
Petalon family walking through field

When you move, re-establish your roles in the business: play to your strengths

“It can be tricky so you need to have an area of responsibility. We can disagree and I can give my opinion but I know it’s ultimately Florence’s decision!’ However, James being a natural risk taker has helped the business no end in terms of moving out of the city faster. Florence told us, “I’m overly cautious but James is more comfortable doing something scary. Him encouraging me to take a risk has meant that we could completely change direction.” By thinking quickly and acting fast, Petalon had the busiest spring ever that year and it meant that they could pay for the infrastructure for the flower farm.

Overall their experience has been fantastic. “Our advice is just do it. We moved a very London-centric business to a very rural location so if we could do that, with two toddlers in tow, anyone can!”

Relocating your business: key takeaways…

What are the main things you should think about?

1. Should you relocate your business? Trust your gut:

Don’t overload yourself with scare-mongering information. Listen to your gut. It can be scary to make changes because there are a lot of unknowns but have confidence and know that everything will be just fine.

2. Know every aspect of your business before you decide to move:

In order to move your business and make it work you need to know every aspect of it. Florence and James both have different natural talents, but know how to do everything, which helps.

3. Don’t beat yourself up about making mistakes when you relocate:

All you can do is try your best. It’ll be an innovative process and no-one is perfect. You will definitely learn from it, no matter what happens.

Images: Assortment of family photos from Petalon founders Florence and James, Bouquet — by Petalon

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