FLORIST Sam Watts doesn't need reminding how lucky she is to be in her trade right now.
"I guess I am delivering happiness to people's doors which is amazing, because you see their faces and it makes you feel better when everything is so negative," says the mother-of-two and owner of The Little Garden floristry.
Ms Watts, pictured, opened her shop in Belmont Citi Centre, following her passion for all things floral after a stilted start in the industry.
After high school she landed a job at Belflora florist in Broadmeadow where she worked for two years while studying floristry at TAFE.
She then decided to enter childcare, working as an educator for seven years, before deciding to return to floristry after having her first son in 2016.
Business had been tracking well, and she had opened an online ordering system six months ago, when the coronavirus began to take hold.
She made the decision to close her store in the early stage of the government's public health orders, choosing to put her family's health first.
"I have two little boys and we have an established website - I was already doing a lot of phone orders," she says.
With her partner still employed in the mines, Ms Watts is feeling lucky to be able to work from home.
There are signs that, despite the challenges, her online trade will pick up.
"My online [product] was just getting out there and people were getting used to that, rather than coming into store. The orders were coming in in dribs and drabs but it's really taken off now which has been great," she says.
"I haven't checked figures yet yet but we are tracking well."
She believes that Easter and Mother's Day will help boost sales.
For Easter, she has teamed up with local businesses to offer hot cross buns (Whole Food Collective) and chocolates (Common Circus) with her bouquets.
She says the pandemic has inspired many people to order flowers for those they cannot see.
"Especially people not being able to see grandparents, that is hard and it's nice to give them a bunch and you see their face light up because they know they are still being thought of," she says.
Ms Watt has is still sourcing her flowers from the Sydney markets, which is now restricting sales to trades only, and not allowing members of the public to attend.
However, she has taken up the kindness of Wallsend florist Peter Herd, who has offered to collect her orders for her three time a week.
With some supply being unpredictable, she has opted to simplify her offering as much as possible, offering seasonal fresh blooms and dried arrangements.
For now, she hopes to ride out the crisis as she awaits to hear back whether she can have a reduction in her rent.
"It's hard to make a plan, we are taking each week as it comes," she says.
"I am just grateful to be doing this because you see what is happening else where," she says. "We are very lucky."
Together, not Alone is a partnership between Out of the Square, the Newcastle Herald and the Greater Bank. Its aim is to inspire some positivity in these difficult times and will feature a series of stories that explore kindness, innovation, creativity, celebration and mindfulness among businesses and the community.
Contact Penelope Green: firstname.lastname@example.org
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