Despite having started her business twenty years ago, our latest Vanarama Van Hero's passion for her job remains infectious, "The satisfaction of seeing people get pleasure from a new garden, which my team and I have created, is amazing," enthuses Gaynor Edwards, Landscape Gardener and founder of Gentle Touch Homes & Gardens. Gaynor works with clients across the Bridgend, Cardiff and Porthcawl area creating everything from driveways to patios, paving to pergolas, not forgetting beautiful gardens. We all know that running your own business can be hard work, so we spoke to Gaynor about how she fans the flames to keep her eagerness for the business alive.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
I have always loved working with nature to create wonderful gardens and outdoor spaces. Although most people appreciate great landscaping they are often short on ideas, or time poor. I saw a gap in the market locally, so making one of my passions into a business was a no brainer.
What do you enjoy about working for yourself?
It's great not being answerable to anyone – except my clients of course! I always appreciate having the freedom to manage my own time and not being held back creatively by others.
What are the greatest challenges?
Managing cashflow can sometimes feel like a bit of a juggling act! Also, I always expect my staff to provide the same high standards to which I operate, so finding quality staff can sometimes take longer than I hope.
Best Business Tip?
Always try and think ahead.
Greatest Business Success?
Having my work recognised when I was accepted into the Guild of Master Craftsmen was certainly a high point. Not just for the personal recognition, but it meant the business was more attractive to potential customers. Being shortlisted for the Travis Perkins Landscape Gardener of the Year Award was also a proud moment.
Biggest mistake in Business?
Trusting people – it's sad to say, but I've learned to be careful about taking people on their word. If you are let down, by a supplier for instance, it has a knock on effect on your customer and potentially your reputation.
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS
Dream superpower? It would always be Summer
Favourite Drink? Red Wine
Favourite Sports Personality? Serena Williams
Favourite holiday destination? France
Dream Car? Porsche or Jaguar
Prime Minister for a day? I would ensure the rights of children would always come first
What would you do if you won the lottery? Pay off my debts
Between trips to clients, suppliers and finally, home, Gaynor certainly puts in the miles in her day to day work. She couldn't operate Gentle Touch Homes and Gardens without her trusted pickup truck. Gaynor chose a Mitsubishi L200 Warrior; with outstanding fuel economy and best in class features across the board, it really does her proud. With prices from £191/month, it's easy to see why it's such a popular choice with our customers. Take a look for yourself here