Reepham resident Hilary Livsey has taken over the Lavenders Blue florist in Market Place after former proprietor Sue Johnston decided to retire and sell the business.
Now renamed Angelica, the shop will continue to offer flowers and plants sourced direct from the Netherlands, as well as Rococo chocolates, hand-made candles, antique botanical engravings and other complementary products.
Born in the USA, Ms Livsey, a fashion designer, has lived in the UK since the age of eight, when her family moved to London, although she spent the 1980s in New York, where she had her own shop under the Hilary Clark label. She has lived in Reepham for the past four years, and has five children at, or about to start at, Reepham High School & College.
With her background in fashion, Ms Livsey saw the retail opportunity in Reepham and decided to go for it. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said. “Since our first day of trading as Angelica on 8 April we have had so many good wishes and there has been a steady flow of customers, with basically a seamless continuation of the Lavenders Blue business.
“There does seem to be a need for a florist in the Reepham area. Business has been good so far, and the prime location certainly helps,” she explained from the rented premises in Ivy House. (The other Lavenders Blue shop, in Red Lion Street, Aylsham, remains as a separate business and is now totally independent from Reepham.)
Besides catering for weddings and funerals, Angelica will also offer styling services for events, such as celebrations and parties, where “creating an image” is required.
“I think the future is extremely good for specialist shops,” said Ms Livsey. “We are primarily a florist that will also sell speciality chocolates, candles and other gifts, but with the ability to promote a certain ‘look’ for the occasion.
“We aim to create and sell beautiful flowers in lovely packaging, while gradually adding to our range and expanding into events. But we have no plans to change anything dramatically. It really is business as usual.”
Ms Livsey noted that, although traditional flowers are still the favourites, some customers are now looking for more exciting combinations of colours and arrangements, with hand-tied “aqua” bouquets becoming increasingly popular.
“You do need to have a creative eye to be able to combine colour and offer new things,” she noted. “A background in art and fashion certainly helps.”
Angelica’s opening hours are 9 am – 5 pm Monday to Wednesday and Friday, and 9 am – 2 pm Thursday and Saturday.
An opening party is planned for the evening of Saturday 8 June, when customers will be invited to come and have a look at what’s on offer.
Meanwhile a new website – www.angelicanorfolk.co.uk – should be online later this month.