Only eight weeks old and already Bramble & Wild, a new vintage flower emporium in Frome, Somerset has made its mark on the town. The shop, a tasteful mix of old fashioned blooms, vintage garden gifts and Cowshed products from Babington House, stands out amongst even the chicest of florists.
There is a strong emphasis on flowers that are local, organic and fair trade and packaging that is either recyclable, reusable or compostable. No cellophane wrapped freezias here.
Yet it is also undoubtedly the internet savvy of its twenty two year old owner, Grace Haskins, that has made Bramble & Wild a talking point both in the cyber world and in town. And perhaps this gives us a glimpse of how the retail world can thrive again, when driven by the twentysomething blogger generation. Follow Grace on Twitter and you discover she has a knack for cyber conversation. She might simply be chatting about the weather or flogging cut-price lilies at the end of the day but she is steadily gaining followers and networking with like-minded businesses who are beginning to throw work her way.
She says: 'There's no question that I've had a far greater reach through Facebook and Twitter. It's not just people walking past the shop but all those I talk to online as well. I've met a lot of people in the wedding industry and that's been a real help.'
In eight weeks of trading Grace has already lined up eleven weddings. Her style is both unique and contemporary - a bridal bouquet might be stark white lily of the valley tied simply with a deep gold bow or something more complex like blackberries, viburnum, rosemary, sage and old fashioned 'Tiramisu' roses.
It must help too, that local musician and fashion designer Pearl Lowe is spreading the word. In fact it was Pearl who gave Country Calling the tip off - describing herself as 'obsessed' with the new store on Catherine Hill, popping in every other day for jam jar posies (bestsellers at £6.95).
Grace was heading to university to study photography when she almost randomly fell into floristry, switching to study at Bicton Agricultural College in Devon and taking a job in a florist shop in her home town of Taunton. It was random, too, the way she walked past a vacant shop on Catherine Hill on a first time visit to Frome and the idea for Bramble & Wild was born.
She says: 'I sort of stumbled across floristry and it was one of these moments when you realise you've found the thing that you were supposed to be doing.'
It has been a hard graft. Grace has been getting up at four am each morning to meet her flower wholesaler in Bristol, running the shop all day, then returning home at night to put together quotes for weddings. She has also designed her own website and taken charge of the brand marketing for her business.
'I guess I'm a perfectionist. I knew no one would do a website exactly the way I wanted it, so I taught myself how to build it.'
Bramble & Wild offers a clever mix of beautiful bouquets and posies to suit all price ranges. Choose from small plants for three or four pounds, cut-price end of the day bouquets for a fiver or orchids for twenty pounds plus. There's an ambience to this shop that makes just browsing a pleasure and it is also the perfect place to source gifts. An unusual shop with a growing virtual presence? Feels like she might be onto something. Bramble & Wild
Portrait photo of Grace by Martin Payne at Frome Times