What’s Your Story? is a monthly series in which we find and talk to interesting people in our local community, whether they run a business, have an interesting job or do something else that we think is worthy of wider attention.
Between Two Thorns is a plant and floristry shop in Brighton that also offers workshops, plant based commissions, and tea and coffee. Alys Dobbie, known also for her antiques expertise has created a very lush, green experience on Upper North Street. We caught up with Alys at her space to find out more about her and the business she has built.
HOW DID BETWEEN TWO THORNS BEGIN LIFE?
I was (and still am in a way) an antique dealer for 12 years, and i’ve worked in retail for 20. I re-trained to be a florist and really needed a workshop – I found this quirky building and fell in love. I’d love to sell more cut flowers but I’m petrified of wastage, so did some botany based courses and research and work experience and took advice and…house plants were born!
TELL US ABOUT DIFFERENT SERVICES YOU OFFER AND HOW YOU BALANCE THEM?
I offer quite a few different services here – I was going to say ‘I am foremost a…’ but my brain stopped forming words – so guess I’ll just give you a list of things I do
- Plant shop
- Coffee shop
They’re balanced by the nature of the shop and it’s location I think…if people come in then obviously they are my number one priority – be it looking for a plant for a particular spot in their house or coming to chat to me about wedding flowers. If the shop is empty I work on promoting my workshops and plants. If I’m at home I’m ordering various things and answering emails. It’s a 24 hour a day job so I have to stay on top of things.
Popularity. Plants are the new black – people have really changed their attitude towards house plants now and don’t just see them as a house warming gift for a mate. They see them as investments both to themselves (air purifiers/mental health aids) as well as for their houses, they are as important as curtains or books.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BEST SELLERS SINCE YOU HAVE OPENED?
The workshops! People are mad keen on improving their skill set and steering clear of the pub these days. My terrarium workshops are held about 3 times a month and are always completely sold out.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
People’s reactions to it – everyone is so positive and welcoming. The area is really great with all the locals being very supportive, the trend for buying local has always been cemented in Brighton and long may it last.
WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO IN THE SHOP?
Ah gaaad! If I’m on my own I’ll put some cheesy bangers on. If I’m doing some computer work I’ll put on anything without lyrics so I can concentrate better. LCD Soundsystem seems to be on fairly often. I’m no music buff.
There’s nowhere better to live in England.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS FOR BETWEEN TWO THORNS?
I’m already shipping my plants globally and have some weddings lined up for the year. I’d love to get to a point where I could afford someone to work more than one day a week as my social life has taken a hit – it’s totally worth it though!