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Fresh fruit, flowers – naturally

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Fresh fruit, flowers – naturally

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For the last 15 years, Cecilia Elliott-Alleyne has been making beautiful gift baskets and floral arrangements out of nature’s creations. She is passionate about her work and her blossoming City business.
Working deftly on a table arrangement putting carnations, chrysanthemums, daises, and fillers together as she spoke to BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY, she said she and her full time employee Paula Wiles have been kept busy filling orders for several occasions including birthdays, funerals, anniversaries, and of course, Mother’s Day, and Valentine’s Day.
It is from her father Cecil who insisted she and her sisters get involved in the family business from the age of 13, that she developed the skills necessary to take the company Nature’s Creations forward.
“That was a rule in my home. You had to learn to do three things at 13: cook, come into the family business and learn to change a fuse. In those days the fuses were quite different. That’s what we had to do.
“His birthday was approaching and I thought that instead of buying a gift I would make him a fruit basket which I ordered from a well known florist at the time and sent it to him. A couple of hours later when I came to visit, he said to me ‘but Cecilia, all of these years I brought you up with a knowledge of fruit and vegetables, how could you send me a basket of rotten fruit?’
“So true, when I opened the fruit basket there was fruit that was bounced and clearly rotten. He said if I brought you up in business you should know better than that. So I resolved that whenever I had a gift like that I would do it myself,” the business woman recalled.
Her business “sky rocketed” after that basket as more and more family and friends and started to place orders.
Coming out of that experience with her dad, the company’s motto was born: “We will not sell a rotten fruit or a wilted flower”.
“I was happy when I was looking for a business name and it came up to be Nature’s Creations. It just came out of the blue. I said this sounds normal, it sounds natural, and the truth of the matter is that I pray about my business every day.”
After determining that she would not touch flowers because they were “too complicated” she went into it and thoroughly enjoys it.
“We then added so many other things because we were open to demand. We added baby baskets, a spa basket, a wine and cheese basket. I really pride myself on the babies’ baskets because we don’t just give you a basket we give you something useful for instance a waste paper basket, a diaper pail. For us it’s useful. We’ve become really, really proud of what we do,” Elliott-Alleyne said with a smile.
She also said that as long as she is not going to church her clients can call her with a request and she will do it. Additionally, if someone needs to get something even if she is getting ready to close shop for the day she will do it.
Where possible the florist uses local flowers some of which come from her garden and depending on the volume of orders she has to do she can make as many as three trips weekly to the flower markets.
“I have been really surprised at how this business has grown. It wasn’t my primary occupation. At first I just had it and was helping people out with it but it just took on a life of its own and we’ve been so pleased that we’ve added [places] like the Hilton hotel, the Grantley Adams International Airport . . . to name a few,” she stated.
Her husband Keith helps out and as she puts it, he will deliver the baskets “from here to Timbuktu”. Her three sons have also been involved in the business at some point as she sought to instill her business as her father did with siblings.
Elliott-Alleyne is hopeful that her plans to expand the business will bear fruit if the requisite permission is given from the Town and Country Planning Department.
“We’ve been able to build a clientele because they understand that for us quality is the thing, more than quantity. My goal is for us to continue to be known for quality, for us to be the preferred place especially for the fresh stuff, like our fruit baskets and flowers. I want people to automatically remember us,” she asserted. (Green Bananas Media)

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