To mark International Women's Day 2022, which will be celebrated on March 8th, we are bringing you a series of profiles on some of the women who work at New Covent Garden Market. There are more women working each year in what is a traditionally male-dominated Market and we want to show you why and how you could be amongst that growing number. Denise Palmer of B&D Flowers looks back on an enjoyable 15 years working in the UK's leading wholesale Flower Market
What is your background?
I have a varied background but when I had my first baby at 31 I took a weekend job in a beautiful ‘Lifestyle’ shop in Barnes where they sold flowers, homewares and a few well curated clothes. The flowers were unlike any I’d experienced before, very like the new ‘Wild at Heart’ style that was taking the floristry business by storm. I learnt on he job!
What’s your job title and can you pick out some of the interesting parts of your role?
We are a two man business, Bob and I are married and work very happily together. It wouldn’t work for everyone but it does for us. I’m head of design, he’s head of finance!!
We originally sold wholesale cut flowers like the rest of the market with the addition of hand tied bouquets for re sale by shops and stalls. We realised that we were making a better margin on the bouquets and my outside work so have concentrated on that.
We are the only people offering this type of wholesale bouquets in the market.
How long have you worked at New Covent Garden Market?
Bob has worked in the market for 45 years, I’m a relative newbie at 15 years. I’ve been a self employed florist buying from the market for 27 years.
What do you love about working here?
I love working at the market and cannot imagine working anywhere else. The last two years have been extremely tough but I have always felt we are in the same wobbly boat.
I know that some may think it’s a male dominated environment but I love that most of these guys literally grew up together, many with their fathers.
What advice would you give to women who might want to come and work at NCGM?
My experiences of working in the market are all good. I would definitely encourage any woman to join the market community. These guys have a wealth of knowledge! I marvel every day at the beauty of some of the amazing flowers that arrive through our doors, I never tire of it.
What’s your favourite pastime outside work?
I’m very ‘crafty’ and love knitting and making things. I often get involved making stuff on jobs such as curtains, bunting, anything really. One of my biggest clients Aspinal of London had me making 100 mini hot air balloons last Christmas for their huge tree!
I also love my teeny tiny garden and it is stuffed full! I just can’t resist the fabulous plants either. I feel extremely lucky to have them at my fingertips, not sure Bob feels the same....although he often comes back to our stand with something amazing for me.