It has been such a hectic few weeks that I'm only getting around to writing this blog post now. I'm incredibly proud and humbled to have not only won the regional 'Solo Businesswoman' award in my local branch of Network Ireland, but I also got to represent Network West Cork and received highly commended. To look back and see how far my business has come, especially since March, I feel motivated to continue spreading my message and the joy my flowers bring and I thank all at Network Ireland for all their support.

[caption id="attachment_3544" align="alignleft" width="225"] Mags receiving her award from President of Network West Cork, Caroline Murphy[/caption]

I had never been so excited or motivated for the coming season! This year was going to be the culmination of hard work over the previous seven or eight years, training, and overcoming personal difficulties but when lockdown was announced, everything changed overnight, everything was wiped out. That sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as the influx of emails cancelling or postponing filled my inbox and was one of the most terrifying moments I had experienced. I’ve had challenges in my life, but nothing compared to this. My mother always told me I had the heart of a lion and never more than now did I need to call on this

[caption id="attachment_3545" align="alignright" width="300"] L to R. Anne-Marie Kingston of White Sage Decluttering, Barbara Noonan Sexton of Barbara Noonan Homeopathy, Caroline Murphy , NIWC President, Mags Riordan of Bumblebee Flower Farm and Marie Wiseman of Wiser Marketing, winners at the Network Ireland West Cork 2020 Businesswoman of the Year Awards. Photo by Dermot Sullivan[/caption]

My flowers still needed to be harvested, the natural growing cycle didn’t stop because of Covid-19. I knew my pivot had to be quick so I took to Twitter and explained I was swimming in flowers and could deliver nationwide. The outpouring of support was unbelievable and overnight my business was transformed. I turned a crop largely destined as an edible one to online bouquet deliveries. I have nearly been in tears on the phone to customers who have received bouquets from us who have shared their deeply personal reasons for why our blooms mean so much. It's an incredible feeling to evoke such a positive feeling anyway, let alone in a year such as this.

My business depended on woofers, these are people who work on my farm to gain a greater knowledge of organic farming and in my case also edible flower farming. Covid ended that but I’m very resilient and just got on with it. I have changed this model now and have volunteers come to the farm to help and then leave.

Throughout it all, giving up wasn’t an option. It just isn’t in my vocabulary. There is always a way forward, you just need to stand back and look at things from a different angle and have incredible friends to bounce ideas off.

My environmental credentials are long established but to receive a business award and get the recognition from well-established business people in the community and my branch of Network Ireland West Cork, it’s real validation. This is proof you can follow your dreams and achieve them.

So once again, the biggest of "thank you's" to my wonderful friends, family, fellow Network Ireland members and most importantly our customers. I couldn't have achieved all I have done so far this year without the help of all of you. I'm still beaming from it!

Bee kind,

Mags x

[caption id="attachment_3547" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Mags Riordan of Bumblebee Flower Farm, winner of the Solo Businesswoman Award at the Network Ireland West Cork 2020 Businesswoman of the Year Awards. with Caroline Murphy , NIWC President. Photo by Dermot Sullivan[/caption]