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Common Farm Flowers -

I am fascinated by people who start businesses in completely new fields, creating them out of love, optimism and a sense of possibility, people who then knuckle down through the hard realities and make them work.

So I thought I would put together an occasional series of blogs about the businesses whose vibe I really love.

First up is Georgie Newbery who, with her husband Fabrizio Boccha, founded the British cut flower business Common Farm Flowers in 2010.

Georgie grows an enormous variety of flowers on her 7 acre smallholding and sells the majority of them as mail order gift bouquets. She has become the face of the British artisan cut flower sector, popping up at flower shows and festivals, designing window displays for Peter Jones and explaining exactly why home grown flowers are different, better for the planet and so much lovelier than anything that is imported.


Georgie originally worked in the fashion world as an assistant at American Vogue and working for John Galliano, but by 2000 had become a freelance writer.

In 2004 she moved to rural Somerset buying a rundown farmhouse and starting a family.

By the time she had a six month old daughter her plan for the portfolio of writing jobs was not fitting in with the constant interruptions that go with small children and she was looking for something else to do.


Noticing that the only thing that she managed to still find time for was sowing seeds she moved her focus to that, selling sweet peas at the farm gate and gradually growing the business that is now Common Farm Flowers with its eco bouquets, wedding flowers and workshops.

She has now returned to writing with her book The Flower Farmer’s Year.

One thing that I love about Georgie and her business is how she took on a job in a sector - growing cut flowers - where existing businesses were failing. She recognised that the old business model didn’t work - that UK grown flowers could not compete in the race to the bottom with imported flowers.

Rather than complaining about cheap imports, she chose to do something about the core problem in an expansive and co-operative way . She uses social media, particularly twitter, to connect directly with her customers, she strives to educate people about the UK cut flower growers, she works with other growers to up standards, to share knowledge, to expand the market and to club together to provide a year round service.

Georgie Newbery embodies my favourite Erica Cook quote “I'm not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it".


Another quality I love, and which I suspect most career change entrepreneurs have, is her driven compulsion, her exuberance, her refusal to take the sensible path - preferring to create a business that is constantly evolving than one that fits a plan.

She sums it up “I’m not a business woman . . . . but I’ve learned a lot on the hoof . . . and it has become another interest now, how to make a business like this work . . . it helps that I come from a family where it was seen as normal to assume everything will be alright”.

It is these precise skills - optimism, curiosity, innovation, hand work - that I believe will be most valuable in the 21st century

Photos of Georgie are c. Les Wilson, other photos c. Georgie Newbery


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