In just eight years, Jenny Do went from living off food stamps to running a successful floristry business, winning coveted awards, and travelling the world to help out struggling communities. Here, she gives her best tips for business success.
- Back yourself
You don’t need a commerce degree or a well-connected family to launch your own business. If you have a fresh idea and rock-hard determination, you can start no matter where you are. Jenny began the preparation for her business when she was living at a women’s refugee centre, barely able to read English and without knowing a soul in Australia. Determined to make a good life for herself and her daughter – then just two years old – she threw herself into creating her own business. Less than ten years on, her business is thriving and she has won a slew of prizes, including a 40 Under 40 award and gold and silver prizes at the Interflora Australia Cup 2017, where she represented WA as Florist of the Year. “Never give up,” urges Jenny. “Believe in yourself.”
- Do what you love
It might sound simple, but look to what you loved as a child for cues on what you should be doing now. Sometimes, this might involve a detour from the path you’re currently on. For example, Jenny studied languages at university – but it was her hobby floristry course, stemming from a childhood passion, that proved the inspiration for her business. “When I was a kid, I was always interested in flowers,” she says. “I would pick them from the gardens and put them in a vase in arrangements, or dry them. I love all garden work and greenery.”
- Make sacrifices and be flexible
It’s unrealistic to expect you’ll start at the top. Jenny purchased her first floristry business in 2010, and it was less than glamorous. “The tap wasn’t working, the floor was falling apart, there were spider webs everywhere!” she says. Then throw a toddler into the mix: “Sometimes my daughter was sleeping on the floor. She came everywhere with me – I would go to the market with her, and push the pram around to drop fliers into people’s letterboxes.” Don’t be discouraged by your current circumstances – work with them, and watch patiently as your business begins to grow.
- Accept help
Don’t be afraid to accept help when you’re starting out. Whether it’s advice from a mentor, the offer of a home-cooked meal from a family member, or assistance from the government, a bit of help can go a long way. Jenny credits part of her business success to the initial help she received from the women’s refugee centre. “People would come around to help you fill out forms or look after your child while you had a shower,” she says. “They came to talk about your future plans and study and career options, and helped you look for a job a place to rent. It touched my heart.”
- Focus on delivering a quality product
When your product is premium, your happy customers will do your marketing for you by spreading the word about your business. Make sure the product you have to offer is the absolute best it can be, and your business will flourish effortlessly. “I’m very focused on quality,” says Jenny. “I pick up flowers fresh from the farm and farmers markets very early every morning. I don’t keep the flowers in the cool room. You can see it in the quality – they have this vibrant colour and it lasts much longer.”
- Give back
Success is so much sweeter when you can share it with others. Jenny is committed to giving back by volunteering and donating money and resources to a range of charities both in Vietnam and Perth. Whether it’s cooking pork chops for the blind or inspiring women in rehabilitation through free workshops, helping others keeps Jenny connected with what matters.