News / Community / Business / 31st March 2021
NEW BIZ: A delight for the senses
An eye for detail and a passion for creating beautiful things has led Aurely Harris down the path to launching her own business, “Wild Willows Florist and Soapery”. Located in the old laundromat in Coonabarabran, Aurely has transformed the space into a magical scented haven featuring her hand-crafted soap range and fresh flowers. The Coonabarabran Times caught up with Aurely to find out more about her new venture...
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I came to Australia as a backpacker. Having finished my degree in psychology at the University of Birmingham England, I set off looking for new and exciting experiences. I’ve always travelled, having lived in many countries in Europe with my family. I now call Coonabarabran home with my husband and three energetic, wilful, completely gorgeous kids.
Where did the idea to open your own florist and soapery originate?
I started making soap a few years ago. I was so excited the day I managed to make my first loaf of soap! It took me the best part of a day! From there I started to make more interesting soaps and realised that I could sell what I was making. It’s a great creative outlet for me...and people are becoming increasingly conscious about where their products come from and, more importantly, what’s in them.
I studied floristry in 2018. Yep, it’s something you can study. I find the concept of giving flowers interesting - it’s an age old tradition that hasn't waned. Celebrations, mourning, declarations of love are so often expressed through the giving of flowers.
Finding a passion for creating beautiful soaps and beautiful flowers made me think about doing those things professionally and perhaps even earning a living from them.
When did you officially open the shop?
Tuesday, 23 February, having artfully dodged Valentine’s Day! Quite honestly, I felt sick. It was such a leap, going from a predictable income to opening the doors where my financial future relied entirely on my ability to run a business.
Tell me about the products?
Soap, soap and more soap. If you want people to buy soap it needs to be some good looking soap! We have everyday soap in a massive array of flavours. Novelty soap which is more colourful and intricate in its appearance. We even now have a range of cupcake soaps. They look good enough to eat!
What feedback have you had from customers?
100 per cent positive. The community has blown me away in their support. The ‘shop local‘ initiative is really hitting home and it’s great to see.
Were you anxious opening a business amid COVID-19?
Not really. As people were finding themselves unable to visit loved ones, they were turning more to florists to send flowers, hampers of food, wine and gifts on their behalf. While being COVID safe of course. When we opened there was already a rollout of vaccinations, soIfeltitsafetogoon ahead and chase that new adventure.
Any future plans for the business?
Lots of plans and I will start with workshops. Women and men out here in the country are filled with creativity. I would like to facilitate that creative flair by offering a comfortable space, all the materials, tools and a little helping hand if needed to create their own masterpieces in both floristry and soap making.
Why do you think it is important to “shop local” first?
As COVID proved to us all, supporting local is important, as you never know when the government will tell you to stay put! If we don’t support the people in this very town then we won’t have their services when we need them.
Furthermore, if we don’t support our local business and help them thrive, then where is our drawcard for visitors? There will be no reason for people to stop and stay and our children might not find enough opportunities to stay either.