Magnificent Marrow is Raynes Park’s number one local provider of fresh fruit, vegetables, flowers, plus much more, and is without doubt one of the most inspiring stories to come out of the Wimbledon community in 2020.
This popular local business was founded earlier this year by award-winning florist Emma Soulsby, alongside her partner (fellow florist) Leigh, when she was forced to close her previous company as a result of the UK lockdown.
Emma and Leigh recognised the growing demand for food deliveries during the pandemic, and sat down one night to come up with the idea for a contactless UK-wide delivery service for great quality fresh produce. Within a week, Magnificent Marrow was born!
We were fortunate enough to catch up with Emma this week, as she prepares for the busy Christmas period. She spoke to us about her reflections on a rollercoaster of a first year, and detailed all the exciting things members of the local community can expect from Magnificent Marrow over the holidays. Here’s what she shared with us:
Could you start by telling us about the experience of recently opening your new store, and what made you choose Raynes Park for your location?
To be honest, opening a shop wasn’t really in the plans when we started Magnificent Marrow, but then again launching Magnificent Marrow wasn’t even an idea at the beginning of 2020 either!
Much like the whole experience of starting the business, opening the shop happened very quickly. The opportunity came as a result of all the support and love that we received from our local customers during the summer when running our Saturday pop-up markets.
When the shop premises became available, and we realised it was just five minutes away from our HQ, it felt like the natural next step to take as there was an obvious need for it in the local area.
Those who were supporting us from the beginning are now coming to the shop, which is so lovely to see, plus we’ve been grateful to have lots of new regular customers since we opened too.
Could you share a bit more about your ties to the Wimbledon and Raynes Park community?
Leigh and I have lived together here for a year now, but I’ve been living here for almost three years total, and I absolutely love it. It has such a nice village feel to it with loads of lovely shops and restaurants. We now feel an even bigger connection to the area as we get to know more people every day.
What do you like most so far about being a small business in Raynes Park?
We’ve had so many of the local businesses message us to wish us luck, or pop into the shop to welcome us, which has just been truly wonderful and made us feel part of the close community that the Raynes Park and Wimbledon area is. The locals have been so supportive of Magnificent Marrow from the beginning, too, ordering online and visiting our pop-up market on Saturdays.
Since we’ve opened the shop, the encouragement and support that we’ve received has been immense. It really does mean so much to us after such a rollercoaster of a year, and gives us the drive and excitement to make it the best shop possible.
What was the biggest challenge about getting a small business started during the pandemic, and how did you overcome that to make it a success?
There have been so many logistical and practical challenges to get to where we are now, but I think the biggest challenge was just not allowing the fear to get to you.
It’s terrifying starting a new business anyway, but doing something we hadn’t planned to do and ploughing all our money into something that we created in a week, with no business plan or strategy, was next-level nerve-wracking.
To help us get past that and be successful, we’ve been working hard to constantly improve our offering. We do that by listening to people who are experts in their own areas, and this has meant we have aggressively expanded the business. However, everything moving so fast has meant we haven’t had time to appreciate how far we’ve come, but also haven’t had time to stop and listen to the fear. The pandemic left us with no choice but to make this work.
What’s the most valuable lesson or take-away that launching Magnificent Marrow has taught you?
Surround yourself with amazing people. We couldn’t have done this without the people who have invested their hearts into it with us, and that’s what has made it work.
Also, to do what you know. It may not be flowers that we’re now primarily selling, but we’ve taken the same approach to customer experience that we provided on the wedding side of things in past floristry roles and applied that to Magnificent Marrow.
My aim is to always make people feel special, and have a level of customer service that’s very personal. For instance, if customers are looking for something we don’t sell, I’ll find it for them.
Even how we pack our delivery boxes, we make each one look beautiful because we want them to put a smile on our customers’ faces, just like a bouquet of flowers would. We still have people from lockdown ordering with us now, and I think that’s down to that personalised customer experience.
We’re glad to hear you’ll also be setting up a temporary Christmas HQ in Raynes Park soon. Could you tell us more about that?
We’re excited to be selling Christmas trees in every shape and size this December, at really competitive prices. We also have a fabulous range of Christmas wreaths and stunning garlands, both ready to buy and made to order, available online now.
But we wanted to offer them to our local customers as well as online, so we’ve decided to open up our warehouse HQ in Raynes Park, just around the corner from our store, to create a nice festive shop for the holiday season.
How can customers take advantage of your Christmas home decoration service, in terms of lockdown and social distancing?
Our service offers something for every price range. We can do as little or as much as our customers want, from a simple tree with lights, to creating a beautiful bespoke tree in a colour theme of their choice, to designing and installing a breath-taking winter wonderland all around their home, the options are endless!
We love working with each of our customers to create something totally unique and, especially after what 2020 has thrown at us all, we’re really keen to create festive homes that bring a bit of joy. We have a great team that works with us on these installations and they’ll be wearing full PPE whilst decorating.
What are your top three tips for people looking to decorate their homes this Christmas?
- More is more! After the year we’ve had, and the fact that we’re all going to be home a lot over this festive period, I think you should just go for it when it comes to decorating your home.
- Use fresh flowers and foliage mixed in with traditional decorations to add colour, texture, and scent to your home. Look in your garden or on walks for greenery, berries, or pine cones!
- Use scale to add drama. Don’t be afraid to mix large baubles or bows with your smaller decorations to help add impact to your tree.
What should your customers look forward to most about receiving your festive food boxes?
We have everything that you’ll need for Christmas when it comes to food. We’re taking turkey orders now, and we also have gorgeous boxes, filled to the brim with delicious produce, that are perfect for all your festive meals over the holidays. They’d also make perfect gifts to send to friends and family.
We have the Christmas Dinner Box, Veggie Christmas Dinner Box, the Christmas Deco Box, as well as the Cheese Hamper for cheese lovers. Of course, you could also buy all the produce individually or make up your own tasty boxes. From the veg, the meat, and the stuffing, to the sweet treats and after-dinner cheese and chocolate, we’ve made sure that you can do all your food shopping with us this year and get it delivered straight to your door.
What are you most excited about in terms of working with the local community over the Christmas period?
We’re just excited to be immersed in the local community at this time of year, especially this year in particular when the sense of local community feels stronger than ever. All the local businesses are pulling together, locals are shopping independently as much as they can, and there’s a real feeling of camaraderie.
With that in mind, we’ll be here supporting the local community right up until Christmas Eve, ready to help you out with all those last-minute little bits, then back open on the 29th of December!
And, finally, although it’s difficult to plan too far ahead right now, what do you hope to achieve with Magnificent Marrow in 2021?
We hope to keep growing and to keep expanding our range of produce. If we do, you never know, we might even open another shop. If this year has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected!
Written By: Content Editor
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