MoneyTalk With 24-Yr Old Entrepreneur Sapphire
Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself.
HEY GIRLS! So what you already know is that I’m Sapphire, I’m twenty four and I run two businesses. My journey is a bit of a random one... I never had any special love for flowers and I definitely never had any urges to work for myself. I originally started my A-levels with the aim of becoming a doctor (I told you it was random!), I got kicked out and thus that plan failed. I didn’t give up however I just hopped onto the next subject that caught my eye: fashion and retail. I studied fashion for two years in London before deciding that it wasn’t really for me and I wasn’t prepared for the bitchyness and competitiveness needed to get to the top of the industry. I had a short stint in media and did a work experience placement at ITV and briefly considered recruitment because i’d heard you could make big bucks. None of them stuck and I was running out of ideas. I worked in Primark and was in charge of folding t-shirts and knickers, as well as supervising the customer service department - this essentially meant I spent 10 hours a day arguing with customers other whether or not they could return their underwear (they could not) and their items without a proof of purchase (again, they could not). It was definitely NOT what dreams were made of. Cut a long story short(er) and I ended up sweeping floors in a local florist. I was quite good at it (making flowers not sweeping) and got myself a trainee job. After becoming a qualified florist I couldn’t agree a new contract with my boss that I was happy with and quit. I ran off to Thailand to experience a life with no responsibilities and luke warm beer.
What inspired you to launch The Flower Arranger?
As noted above I was in Thailand spending my days in waterfalls and napping in Hammocks, drinking Thai beer. My money was starting to run out and my bills at home needed paying. I had no job and was slowly starting to panic about what I was going to do. The thought of having to work for someone else again filled me with dread, no way did I want to do that.. I’d tasted freedom and wasn’t prepared to settle for anything less.
It was actually my mum that suggested starting my own florist - she gave me a lot of other ideas too but I just kept saying ‘no, no way, boring, na, don’t want to do that, nope’. When we reached starting a business we were both tired of trying to find an answer. I got excited and for the first time considered how fun it could be to be my own boss.
So I did it. I contacted a web designer and she built my site whilst I was in Thailand (still in hammock, stil drinking beer, just with an additional notepad). Found a studio and the rest is basically history. That was two and half years ago and I haven’t questioned my decision once, best decision I (well my mum) ever made.
500 women are already supporting your new super cool project called The Coven - what is it please?
The Coven is an online membership platform dedicate to helping micro businesses grow and become something magical. With the support of a FB community, monthly live videos with experts in their field and some mentoring from me we help women to achieve success*. *Whatever that means to each of you.
What’s your relationship like with money and personal finance?
I am a big believer in manifestation and willing things to happen. Not in airy fairy way but in a ‘if I really believe this is going to happen in the future then I am going to grab every possible opportunity that floats by to help me get there’.
I use this approach to money and what I earn. I really believe that my hard work is going to bring me bigger sums of money each year that I continue on this journey. Part of me instinctively wants to apologise for saying that because of the fear of sounding egotistical, we as women, have a habit of doing that BUT WE GOTTA STOP IT! You as the hardworking, passionate mega-babe that you are DESERVE to earn the money that you want in your life.
In regards to my personal finance - it is in no way as neat and organised as my business accounts. I am ashamed to say I am an impulse buyer, I splurge. Mainly on books and backpacking expeditions rather than clothes… I spend hundreds of pounds (i’m scared to actually add up the full amount) on books every month because I love reading and learning, it helps me unwind. I have also be known more than once to just say ‘fuck it’ and book some flights to where ever takes my fancy.
I must note that as hapdash as I am with my personal finance I don’t ever miss or fail to pay a bill. I’m impulsive but also sensible - ain't no landlord missing rent from me, no way jose.
How has it changed since you started building your own business?
Being in charge of all things accounting for two businesses has meant i’ve had to do a lot of learning with regards to finance and budgeting. I’m definitely very sensible when it comes to business spending and try very hard to carry this thought pattern across to my personal spending… one day i’ll get there!
What does financial independence mean to you?
To me, financial independence is being able to pay my bills (whatever they may be: food, rent, car, petrol etc.) and have money left to do the things that make me happy. It’s not having to rely on another being to pay for things for me, it’s standing there completely alone and being OK.
What’s the one thing you indulge in?
Books, holidays, food, freedom. I think when you run a business you need to learn to relax, I struggle with this alot, especially since launching my second business. I often have to remind myself WHY I wanted to run a business in the first place - to be happy and have more freedom in my everyday life. That makes me feel a little less guilty about all the books!
What is the best financial decision you have ever made?
Wow! That is a tricky question. I’ve not made many MASSIVE financial decisions in my time however borrowing money to start The Flower Arranger was definitely a great decision - it gave me the room and money to start the business properly, grow strong roots and expand pretty fast. Which meant I was able to work on TFA full time after just a year (ish) of building it up.
Have you ever experienced a financial epiphany? A sort of wake-up call, where you suddenly think - “I must start doing things differently”?
I think when I started running out of money in Thailand and had no fall back - I didn’t necessarily have a big epiphany but I just remember thinking I don’t want to live my life being stuck for cash and at a point again where I have no income on its way to me.
What is Vestpod for you?
A great source of information and support! You rock girls.
Own up. Have you made any major financial faux-pas?
Yes!!!! Not so long ago had my personal overdraft taken off me - I’d forgot (Because I’m stupid and too lazy to check my personal online banking regularly) that my Uber account was linked to a personal account that I don’t use all that often. I’d be sat in an unagreed overdraft for quite a while racking up some fees without even realising! They took my overdraft off me because they felt I couldn’t be trusted - I don’t mind because I rarely use it but it did make me think I need stop being lazy and just get a better routine going to check my accounts - nobody wants bad credit!
Favourite book & podcast?
Haha, you are asking the wrong person for a favourite book. Out of the thousand or so I own it is hard to make a decision. I recently ready Sarah Knight’s ‘The life changing magic of not giving a fuck’ - loved it!
I’ve also literally just finished reading my first book by Joe Hill - he’s Stephen King’s son, if you don’t know who Stephen King is then YOU GOTTA GO READ MORE. It was a great read, he definitely inherited his parents gift for writing a story.
Where can we find you?
Instagram - @thecovengirlgang
Website (coming soon) - www.thecovengirlgang.com
Thanks a lot!