Original article from Kent Live
Three generations of incredible women have pooled together to launch new store The Cactus Kiss in Dover.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought months of lockdown which has made the lives of business owners extremely challenging.
But one shop owner, Wendy Reed, 50, has triumphed during these difficult times, bringing her once "tiny" store, into the heart of Dover.
Enlisting the aid of her daughter, Georgia Miles, 26, and mum Jean Matthews, 76, the three powerhouses are ready to conquer the high street as restrictions ease.
Signing up to the KentLive newsletter means you'll get the latest news direct to your inbox twice a day.
It couldn't be simpler and it takes seconds – simply press here, enter your email address and follow the instructions. You can also enter your email address in the box below the picture on most desktop and mobile platforms.
You can also sign up to our website and comment on our stories by pressing here and signing in.
The Cactus Kiss started out as a “small, tiny market stall” inside the Dover Co-innovation Centre, first opening in January 2020.
The community project aimed to help businesses get onto the high street.
But when funds were withdrawn Wendy gained confidence to relocate the store off her own back.
'Nerve racking' opening
She told KentLive: "With the pandemic, the Co-innovation Centre closed, my daughter taught herself how to build a website and then we went online.
"We did everything from online and home throughout the pandemic.
"A lot of people have been getting into house plants and growing them at home, it's become a bit of a craze really, throughout the pandemic.
"Which again, just gave us more confidence to be like right we need a shop now. With the help of Instagram and Facebook, we’re hopefully going to do well.
"Opening a shop in any climate, even when the economy is booming is nerve racking. It is a little nerve racking opening it after a year of lockdown, but we’re quite optimistic in the fact and the hope, that this will be our last lockdown, and we’ll be able to remain open now."
The Cactus Kiss, on Bench Street, share a space with another business from the Co-innovation Centre called Sew Useful, which sells handmade bags, cushions and clothing alterations.
Prick and mix
"We have a huge variety from cactus succulents to huge palms, to ficus, and even zebra printed plants," Wendy added.
"Inside the shop we’ve got a Pick & Mix cactus vending machine, it’s not a functioning vending machine, but it looks like a vending machine.
"Here you can have a selection of large to small cacti and we’ve actually got a 150cm cactus in at the moment, which is obviously huge.
"They come from all over the world, there are some really weird and wonderful things available now because of the space."
The house plants are said to have many health benefits for their owners, Wendy explained.
"Having house plants in your house, they produce more oxygen, so you sleep better, you've got a clearer mind."
Where it all began
Three incredible generations of women have pulled together their knowledge and resources to get the shop up and running.
Wendy said: "I've been a florist for years and years. The last florist I was in started to stock house plants, and I noticed that the trend was becoming more and more popular.
"So I decided to go it alone and start at the Co-innovation Centre, because there was not a lot of risk there.
"As we've progressed we've discovered that actually there's a lot more plant lovers out there than we ever thought. It's kind of a global obsession now."
Georgia added: "My nan and my mum were florists by trade for years. I call her Nana Botanical, Mumma Botanical, and I'm Baby Botanical.
"I never thought that we'd work so closely."
While Wendy is the owner of the store, Georgia helps with the social media and website side of things. And grandma Jean brings her healing hands.
Jean has "lots of knowledge" according to Georgia, who announced how Nana Botanical actually received a floristry medal from the one and only Alan Titchmarsh.
It was Jean who went on to teach her daughter Wendy the trade secrets of floristry.
Georgia added: "My nan is the plant hospital really. So if we have any casualties that have died, she'll bring them back to life with her green houses at home, and she'll give us all the knowledge too."
The Cactus Kiss is holding its grand opening this Saturday (April 17, between 9am- 4pm.
The store will welcome customers with balloons and cupcakes.