The idea for Don’t Buy Her Flowers came after I had Buster, my first baby, when I was feeling utterly overwhelmed and received lots of beautiful bouquets that I didn’t have the energy to care for.

We launched as gifts for new mums because I knew that they needed some TLC. In giving someone something that was all about them, that encouraged them to have a hot cup of tea, or soothe their chapped hands, or eat a decent meal they haven’t had to prepare, the person sending it was saying ‘I see you. I know this is tough. You will be ok’.

When you’re feeling sore, overwhelmed, and worried you’re getting it all wrong, but think you’re supposed to say ‘everything is fine! We’re great! Look at our lovely baby!’, kindness can mean so much. That realisation that if someone knows you need looking after, they must know how it feels, and maybe this is how they felt. They understand and you’re not alone.

I definitely underestimated how powerful saying ‘I’m thinking of you’ can be. It then very quickly unfolded that there are many occasions when people need some TLC. Immediately after launch we had people getting in touch to say they wanted to send a package for a sister that was unwell, or a friend who’d started a new job, or their midwife who had stayed past the end of her shift to be there for their baby’s arrival in to the world. We also heard from friends and family who felt useless and wanted to ‘do’ something when someone they loved was struggling.

Our packages have become a physical manifestation of a human gesture. As close as a person can get to putting a reassuring hand on someone’s back or offering them a much needed hug.

Nowhere is this more apparent than when we see what people choose to write on the message tags that go in a package. From ‘Colic is a bitch. It will pass. I love you’ (one of my personal favourites from the early days) to messages when someone had died and you can feel the sadness one friend has for another. Others are rallying cries of ‘You will get through this’ and ‘I’m so proud of you’.

Four years in, the team regularly send each other the more emotional message tags and it’s the best reminder of why I started the business. I know we’re not saving lives. But I also know the difference kindness can make to a person’s day. When the world feels like it’s moving so fast, and we all want to do better, feel better, look better, achieve more, stopping and having a friend say ‘I think you’re great’ is pretty awesome. That human connection, being a part of the love and care that passes through HQ every day, is why I love my job.

So, what’s next? Well we’ve grown and continue to grow – moving out of the house two years ago was monumental. We’ve quickly grown as a business and a team to fill that space. It also made me feel like the lady in the kids’ book A Squash and a Squeeze – we had our house back! When I go back to HQ in Nailsworth, up the road from where I grew up, I have to pinch myself. I’ll be honest, I had no idea what I was starting four years ago and that we would end up with a warehouse and a team, but it feels great.

There are ways in which the business has evolved that were never in the plan. We developed The Man Package in response to a heart breaking email from someone that felt useless when their brother in law was in hospital and suggested we should do a care package for men because ‘they need TLC too’. It’s been awesome to work with businesses on corporate gifts, for those companies that genuinely want to show they’ve really thought about their employees and clients. Our collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer continues and, as cancer is something that fundamentally changed Doug and I’s life, I’m hugely proud to work with them as well as feel we can in some way ‘help’ people struggling to know how to look after a friend that is going through a shitty time.

Most of all, I’d like to say thank you, to my friends and family for always being so supportive, the team (who are actually all friends and family!) and our brilliant customers. After my three delicious kids, Don’t Buy Her Flowers is my biggest achievement and I’m excited to keep growing with a brilliant team alongside me.

Steph x

To mark our fourth anniversary, we are launching a completely bespoke Create a Gift Package. We regularly help customers who want to swap items or add extras in, and now you can do it at your leisure. There are 65 products to put together in any combination, to make it just right for the recipient, whatever the occasion. View the package here.

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