Jo swaps the boardroom for florist dream

15/10/13- Battle House of Flowers.  Director Jo O'Connor
15/10/13- Battle House of Flowers. Director Jo O'Connor

A BUSINESSWOMAN who spent years working at the helm of some of the UK’s biggest retail chains, has quit the boardroom to pursue her dream of owning a florist.

Over a career spanning almost 30 years, high-flying Jo O’Connor spent time on the boards of Laura Ashley, Superdrug, Miss Selfridge and World Duty Free, before becoming CEO of the Tie Rack Group.

But back in May, Jo left that life behind when she bought established florist, Battle House of Flowers.

Jo said: “I worked for other people for a long time and decided it was time for a change.

“I have always loved flowers and have done a couple of training courses.

“So about a year ago I started to look for a business I could buy and run myself.”

Since taking over, Jo completely refurbished the shop over the autumn, relaunched the website and introduced a national courier service.

She says the store has taken online orders from across the UK every day since the site launched on September 20.

And Jo has plans to grow the business even further.

She said: “Battle House of Flowers has a real reputation for quality flowers and it’s a great thing to build on.

“I have quite an ambition to grow the business.”

All the existing staff were kept on, with some new qualified florists joining the team.

Jo says the reaction from local people has been ‘tremendous’.

She said: “People have been very welcoming and very friendly. I intend to be here a long time.”

Jo added: “It’s hard work and quite different, but it’s what I have always wanted to do, to run my own business.”