Flourish Paperworks may no longer be based at the Tavistock Enterprise Hub, but its time there proved to be an important chapter in its growth.
Jenny Adjene, Founder and Director at Flourish Paperworks, is celebrating ten years of her stationery, gifts, greetings card and printing business in Tavistock this year, having originally started the business from her home under the name of Hip Hip Hooray.
Today, it has an impressive shop in the town centre but the turning point for the business was around two years ago, while based at the Tavistock Enterprise Hub – which is one of 24 coworking spaces in the Devon Work Hubs network.
Jenny recalls: “We first moved to The Hub because it worked out more cost effective. We actually moved into one of the smallest rooms The Hub had but after about a year we went to their biggest room when that became available and that gave us the capacity to buy in more stock and take on a larger team.
Just having the flexibility to do that and not to have to think too much about the long term, because it’s month by month, it was a no-brainer at the time.”
However, just as the business started to grow, the lockdowns from the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to weddings and parties – having a direct impact on Jenny’s business, which at that stage was purely selling invitations for weddings and parties.
Jenny decided the time was right to set the business on its current path and help her achieve a long-held ambition of helping others by adopting social purpose in her business.
In becoming a social enterprise, Flourish Paperworks isn’t just producing illustrated papers goods and stationery; it’s also providing vital job opportunities for women.
“When Covid-19 hit, it was during that point when everything quietened down that I had a lot of time to think,” says Jenny.
“I had a bit of a lightbulb moment that we could turn the business into a social enterprise to create life-changing employment opportunities for women overcoming hardship, who could do with a fresh start or second chance.
The Enterprise Hub was amazing for us during that chapter and it enabled us to move here. Our intention now is to grow our social enterprise employment programme. It’s very much our mission and our plan.
We’ve offered lots of employment and work experience opportunities with incredible outcomes for women. We’re helping women on our programme to reach their potential, live a fulfilling life and contribute to their community, and we look forward to doing a lot more of that.”
The employment programme at Flourish Paperworks, which is entirely funded through the sales of its stationery, offers women paid employment where they prepare and pack stationery orders, develop customer service skills and experience the value of being in a supportive team.
Women on the programme can also work towards a qualification and can access life skills mentoring for a year. On completion of the programme and equipped with skills, experience and self-worth, they are then supported into long term employment or further education.
Rhiannon Spurgeon, Tavistock Enterprise Hub manager, says: “When Jenny took on the social enterprise element it was great to be able to see some of the women she is supporting and being able to watch them grow. There’s a teeny-tiny bit that The Hub played in that by being able to be flexible and be supportive. I’m hugely proud of that.
We’re here to support small businesses and we do everything we can to flex around their needs.
Whether you want to rent a desk by the day, or you want to rent an office by the month, it allows you to try working outside the home but without the huge commitment.
We offer flexibility and support at The Hub. You can make business connections, new client relationships, collaborations and sometimes having someone to bounce an idea off can be enough to help take your business in a new direction. The possibilities are endless.”
"A fabulously stylish space which smacks of contemporary creative muses, coupled with all the comforts an office should have - coffee, tea, fridge, WiFi and a working printer. Its a warm, light space in a delightful part of the village with plenty of space in the car parks and very easy to travel to."