Residents of Whiteleas welcomed the new ‘Stems Exclusive’ florist to the area as the shop officially celebrated its opening.
The new florist was set up by Rachael McKeith with the help of her partner Omar Ames, bringing bespoke flowers, funeral tributes and wedding bouquets to the community.
The idea for the new florist was born out of lockdown when Rachel, who runs events company One Stop Events, was out of work due to the pandemic.
As she was self-employed, she had to act quickly to earn an income. A customer asked if she would be able to provide sympathy flowers and rearranged supermarket flowers into her own bouquet.
She said: “I shared this on my One Stop Events group and the customers went crazy. I then quickly found a wholesaler and found an online floristry course that I could take from home. I was delivering flowers all over the North East, even a few celebrities (including Little Mix’s Jade Thirwall and Geordie Shore star Charlotte Crosby) ordered flowers.
As a skilled florist with experience in running an events business, she was then able to provide decor and flowers for wedding days as the world began to return to normal.
As lockdown restrictions have been lifted, Rachel’s partner Omar has also completed a floristry course and has now also achieved a floristry qualification. Omar will now manage this alongside his company Five Star Events which provides event rental equipment.
With the pair both experienced in events and newly acquired floristry skills, Rachel and Omar have joined forces to launch Stems Exclusive. In addition to the flowers, Rachel will also provide the balloons she has built a reputation for.
She added: The feedback has been amazing and after five long months we are finally opening our doors with the support of our local mayors. “We think it will be an incredible asset to the region and we look forward to meeting the locals.
South Tyneside Mayor Pat Hay and Mayor Jean Copp attended the shop based at 168a Whiteleas Way to cut the ribbon for its official opening.