Spotlight Interview: Adelaide Knott

Adelaide Knott: Entrepreneur

Edinburgh, Scotland

Founder & Florist, ASG Flowers
WFU Class of 2012
Major: Studio Art
Minor: Art History

Adelaide Knott was part of the WFU Women's Field Hockey team and majored in Studio Art- a unique combination for her four years at the Forest. Coming away from the START Gallery fellowship and a gallery role in Edinburgh, Adelaide realised her true passion for hands-on creation. Now two seasons into her own floristry business, Knott speaks on her path since Scales.

DeacLink: What are you up to these days?

Adelaide Knott: I’m currently a self-employed florist working out of a studio in Edinburgh. As we speak I’m in Perthshire at my parent’s house, growing flowers. It’s a real advantage to have the space and affordability here, plus if I’m out meeting clients my parents pitch in with the watering. Depending on what’s required, I’ll be in either Edinburgh or Perthshire. I move back and forth.

This is the second full season of my floristry business, and it’s a lot to balance but very rewarding. I employ freelance florists for events, and I grow my own flowers. 

DL: What’s is like working for yourself? 

AK: It can be scary! The key is ensuring the time I spend working can cover all costs, after which I can pay myself. There’s no paycheck at the end of each month, it’s touch and go. So it’s a different way and pattern of work. Creating prices and compiling quotes can also be tough, but with each new project you find your way. 

DL: To go from the START fellowship to floristry is a jump! Tell us how you arrived at this point.

AK: My year in START Gallery was crucial in laying the foundations for my understanding of running my own business. I learned so much about marketing, social media, pricing, and client relations. I realized how important it is to build a real relationship with clients, to earn their trust- you never know when a connection will come in handy. 

While at START my favorite aspects were the physical tasks- installations, painting walls, hanging the space, and so forth. Particularly, my experience with installation comes into play now with my floristry. 

After START I took a year off to travel. I did a road trip across the US, followed by time back in Scotland before finishing in South America. This time off allowed me to mentally reset and realize what I truly wanted to do next.

I went back into a gallery job after travelling, but I wasn’t getting much out of it. Unlike START, this position wasn’t hands-on. I was essentially a PA to the gallery director, and although I learned a lot about traditional Scottish painting, my heart wasn’t in it. I began applying to other galleries but ultimately decided to go a new direction.

I started doing work experience with a local florist, and after time took the plunge into a short course in Bath called Tallulah Rose Career Changing Course in Floristry. There I was able to develop business skills and launch the service I provide now. The majority of my bookings are weddings, which is great because you can have a direct impact on the special day of your client. 

DL: Was it difficult breaking into the floristry scene? How did you manage to get those first key bookings?

AK: My website and Instagram were pivotal during the launch, and are still vital to my business now. Half the battle is appearing professional and leveraging your online network to announce your presence and business. I was lucky to have a friend give their advice and help on my own website, and I can say it’s definitely important to know and use every resource at your fingertips. Still now though, it’s all trial and error, you have to go with the flow, learn from your mistakes, and not be too hard on yourself.

To survive in this industry, it’s very important to build trusting relationships with your clients. Keeping them informed about every single detail and explaining each charge on your quote will build trust between parties. If you can realize what your time is worth and convey it to the client, that confidence is powerful.

DL: How do you like being back in Edinburgh? Do you have any pointers for students looking to live and work there?

AK: Edinburgh is a great city because it has a small-town feel. The Highlands are close by, so you can get out of the city for outdoorsy activities very easily. Of course, my family is here so I was keen to be near them again. There are also plenty of rural areas offering that creative spark for those interested in crafting and workshops. My friends recently did a pottery class where you can learn to throw on a wheel. 

DL: What’s the art scene like in Edinburgh?

AK: There’s an interesting mix in the city, including a National and Portrait Museum plus a number of contemporary galleries. It’s a competitive gallery scene for sure. Creative Scotland is the primary governing body for funds for galleries and creative projects in Scotland, so students interested in working here should check their website for internship and job opportunities. They have a regularly updated bulletin.  We’ve also got an annual arts festival in August, including written and spoken word, the performing arts and visual art. The entire town-from the pubs to restaurants and hotels- is taken over by performances like comedy, acting and poetry. Alongside the performing arts there is the Edinburgh Art Festival and another really cool project is Hidden Door, this happens almost every year in in May.There are plenty of job opportunities and volunteering here in Edinburgh. 

DL: Sounds fantastic! Looking back, did you feel prepared for the ‘real world’ coming out of Wake?

AK: My undergrad experience didn’t set me up for running my own business, although it definitely did plant a seed for me to realize my creative passions. The START fellowship was the most useful for building an understanding of how businesses work, but you still can’t fully simulate the amount of responsibility that life after graduation brings, in the university environment. 

DL: What kernel of advice would you like to pass on to the readers?

AK: Be open to others’ advice, and take on as much as you can. Don’t stress over the little things, because they’re all just stepping stones in the bigger picture. Things have a way of working out. Avoid comparing yourself to others, and embrace your own creativity.