Blooming Artificial is an online retailer of artificial plants and flowers based in Great Yarmouth. With the first-ever Norfolk Day right around the corner, inNorfolk interviews their Marketing Manager, Alick Burnett, about their plans to set-up a pop-up garden in Norwich
Can you explain Blooming Artificial’s plans for Norfolk Day?
We’re setting up a pop-up garden outside Next on Hay Hill in Norwich. We’re looking to get as many people down there as possible.
The biggest drawback for us at the moment is that we don’t have any retail outlets or do any wholesale, so it’s difficult for people to see our products in the flesh.
The pop-up garden is a good opportunity for local people to see our products. Even if they that aren’t interested in artificial plants, people tend to be surprised when they see them.
Will visitors be surprised by anything on Norfolk Day?
The main element people are going to be surprised by is the broad range of plants and flowers that Blooming Artificial has.
People are going to be surprised by is the broad range of plants and flowers
At the moment, the common conception of artificial plants is what you see in B&M and Dunelm and those sorts of stores. They have quite a narrow range of very low-quality plants.
We’re bringing upwards of 100 different plants. It’s a really broad range, with lots of colours and some really interesting plants, including exotic ones. We’ve even got a giant plant pot that we’re going to fill with fake flowers as well.
How can people get involved on Norfolk Day?
The main thing is to come along to Hay Hill in Norwich. We are using the hashtag #bloomingpopup on social.
We also have Snapchat filter. So if people are in the area they can use that on their snaps.
Where does Blooming Artificial get its plants and flowers from?
We source from all over the world. We buy from England, Europe and the Far East.
Primarily we’re looking for quality first and price second. The price has to be at a level that is to be achievable for the majority of people.
What does Blooming Artificial look for in terms of quality?
We are looking for realism. We also avoid the common pitfalls of them looking too plasticky or them having frayed edges. Those are really basic things that show artificial plants in a negative light. Where we can, we also compare them against their natural counterpart.
We also have a range of plants which are suitable for outdoor use and they have UV stabilising chemicals in them. We may independently test them with accredited lab-based testing or they are tested by suppliers.
Typically we’ll test them for one year or two years under lab conditions, which are quite harsh. Then we’ll look for signs of discolouration or if the plastic becomes brittle. If that happens, it’s not a product that we’re interested in.
What are the benefits of artificial plants and flowers?
Where to start?!
There’s obviously a lot less maintenance than your average plant. Obviously, you don’t need to water them, dead-head them, prune them or cut them back.
Watering is the most basic level of gardening and it’s particularly relevant at the moment, what with the hosepipe bans up north and the west.
They’re also great for people who don’t have the time or don’t want to spend time doing the garden. Gardening isn’t for everybody, especially people that are time poor or would prefer to spend time with their children, partners or socialising – those sorts of things.
They’re also great for people who don’t have the time or don’t want to spend time doing the garden
Then there are other benefits. Some houseplants are poisonous to humans or pets. Artificial plants, while you shouldn’t eat them, they aren’t generally poisonous if ingested. That’s something else we look at carefully – our products are non-toxic and conform with EU Regulations.
Finally, there’s a skill element. Not everyone is capable of growing and maintaining the sort of the plants that they want. Some of the exotic plants we offer don’t tend to grow in this country. Things like exotic plants and topiary are difficult for the average person to grow, so artificial is a simple and quick solution.
Does Blooming Artificial offer advice and tips to customers?
We don’t actually do arrangement for customers, but we will be able to advise them on the arrangement. We can say which sort of plants go well together, how many they’d need and which containers.
What should readers look out for in the future?
Blooming Artificial has a big range of new stock arriving in September 2018. That will include all sorts of new flowers, flower arrangements, desktop plants and so on.
We’ve got something like 60 new products coming into the range which is quite exciting, so there’s lots to do. After that, we’ll be thinking about next year and the fun stuff we can do then.