Business flourishes for ‘naturally talented’ Horstead florist

Nathalie Marshall, 42, from Horstead opened her floristry business The Forge after retraining. Photo

Nathalie Marshall, 42, from Horstead opened her floristry business The Forge after retraining. Photo: Easton and Otley College - Credit: Easton and Otley College

A former media and marketing expert has given up Facebook adverts and focus groups for foxgloves and forget me nots by opening up a new florists.

Nathalie Marshall, 42, from Horstead worked in newspapers, fundraising and created her own web-design and marketing business for almost 20 years.

But a need to move closer to family made her decide to change career.

She said: 'I have a Dutch heritage and they had a strong attachment to flowers. I used to earn pocket money as a girl by helping my mum make arrangements. I guess working with flowers is in my blood.'

The idea drew her to a one-year course at the Norfolk campus of Easton and Otley College in floristry.

'I decided I wanted to do something creative, working in the place that I love, surrounded by the people I love. Being passionate about a new career path, I went along to the college two weeks before the course started and signed up.

'It was bizarre and a bit scary going back into education, but I've always thought that life is like a book with lots of chapters. It evolves as you go along. You only get one chance so you've got to enjoy it.'

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During the course Ms Marshall took a trip to Holland. And this adventure - along with a talk from an independent flower grower - gave her the inspiration to open her business.

Whilst at college, she started her new venture from her property called The Forge in Horstead.

The business started to grow and now Ms Marshall has her workshop at The Forge and flower shop in Randells, opposite The Recruiting Sargeant pub.

'The majority of my customers want local British flowers that look good and smell wonderful,' she said. 'They want to support local produce; so I am lucky in that sense. I'd say my style is wild and natural. It's not glam and glitz or pearls and diamonds. It's just about beautiful natural flowers.'

Her tutor from Easton and Otley College, Amanda Hughes said: 'I am so pleased for Nathalie. She was a naturally talented student and I'm sure she will make her new business a success. What is really nice is the fact that she employs current and former students to help her on a freelance and work experience basis, providing a link between industry and education.'

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