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42 new jobs created by Double H nurseries' online Love Orchids business

THE launch of a new online houseplant business was credited with saving a New Milton nursery from financial ruin and creating more than 40 new jobs.

Double H Nurseries – which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year – is the UK’s largest orchid grower, but faced the abyss when Covid-19 struck and demand plummeted overnight.

It left its bosses with a seven-hectare site of giant glasshouses full of orchids and no one able to buy them.

Double H MD Andy Burton (left) and company chairman Neil Stevenson
Double H MD Andy Burton (left) and company chairman Neil Stevenson

Desperate to save the firm, they realised plants delivered to the doorstep could be the uplifting product people needed, so hastily set up its first temporary online shop.

Within five weeks, it had sold direct to customers tens of thousands of orchids, the most popular type of houseplant in the UK.

That secured the jobs of its existing workforce and spared 50,000 orchids from the compost heap.

A year on, its online houseplant business, Love Orchids, is now a permanent feature and boasts revenue that bloomed from zero to over £500,000.

Forty-two new jobs have been created across the business and there is increased demand from trade customers for other types of British-grown outdoor and ornamental plants.

Andy Burton, Double H managing director, said: “We’d long been pioneering orchids in the UK but when the pandemic happened, everything changed.

“Faced with composting plants, we wondered whether there was a way to get those flowers straight into people’s homes, and that’s how Love Orchids was born.”

He took over the reins of Double H late last year from his uncle, as reported in the A&T, and is the third generation of his family to run the business.

“Our existing wholesale business is now back on track and employing most of these extra staff and it’s all thanks to the launch of our Love Orchids online shop in the early days of lockdown,” he said.

“We’ve been able to put a smile on people’s faces during a tough time, and those of our new and existing staff!”

With a new-look Love Orchids website, rebrand and product range just launched, the firm now has plans to grow its business even further, promoting orchids as a long-lasting alternative to cut flowers.

Love Orchids offers orchids, accessories and gifts, with free home delivery, as well as hints and tips on growing the blooms.

Visit www.loveorchids.co.uk

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