Why I don’t give a toss!

penguin heroTo be honest I couldn’t care less who buys from what wholesaler, who belongs to which relay or association or whether a person has bits of paper or learned at the bench. 

I have never had an exclusive allegiance to any particular manufacturer or supplier – we’ve worked with, and for everybody over the last 40 years; oh yes and dumped a fair few along the way because I wasn’t comfortable with what they were doing.

I’ve also never taken much notice of what people say about other people unless there was a very good reason – i.e. it had a legal implication or was morally wrong – I tell you, some of the seedier sides of the industry have left me cold!  In short, I and the magazine have navigated our way through the politics of this industry to remain independent and as impartial as possible. 

It hasn’t always been easy; at times I have felt like I’ve been on a tightrope (which, with my body has not been a natural position!) and to be blunt staying independent hasn’t done my bank balance much good either. It would have been a lot easier simply writing nice things about people in return for ad revenue but that would have felt wrong so I have kept the balancing act going!

However one thing I do care deeply about is that good florist shops should be promoted and rewarded.  It’s why I started Master Florist back in 1999 and then – because people moaned Master Florist was an elitist name – I relaunched it as Good Florist Guide in 2008.

I’ll be honest, it hasn’t worked exactly as I would have liked.  Partly because I never had the big bucks to throw at it like some players in the sector and partly because, sadly, there has been a suspicion that I was trying to do something dodgy; like start a relay or become an association; in fact to say I have experienced commercial bullying would be an understatement as people and companies have tried to undermine the GFG concept both publicly and more deviously.

But whilst it used to hurt now I don’t give a toss what people say.   Because having seen the success of operations like Good Pub, Good Food and Good Hotel Guide, the fact is Good Florist Guide could and should work to be a powerful brand for the whole industry.  Which is why I have turned it on its head and come up with a plan I hope will work. 

You see from now on GFG will, in many ways, be controlled by the industry it aims to support.  It won’t make me money … at best it will wash its face and stop costing me – but the way I’ve restructured makes it even more transparent and should mean no-one is able to bleat or accuse me – or anyone involved – of some sort of skulduggery!

Will the new plan work?  Well obvs I hope so … I’ve just spent another slug of my savings to do it. But if it doesn’t, it won’t be for lack of trying or belief in the industry I have served all my life.  Just someone please tell me how to get off this bally tightrope … I’m getting dizzy up here!