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Florrie's Next Chapter

Hey there!

It feels like ages since I last shared anything on the Florrie blog, so I figured it's about time for a little catch-up and a peek into the future of Florrie.

In case you're new here, let me quickly introduce myself: I'm Su Florence, the singular dynamo behind Florrie. Based in Fife, I'm an artisan bookbinder with a passion for creating modern and contemporary yet practical and hard-wearing stationery.

a white womans hand holds a leather bound  journal that is slight open. it is set to a gray background
Florrie handmade book

Now, a fun fact about me: I didn't always bind books. Nope, I actually spent a solid decade studying to become a medicinal chemist, earning myself a shiny MChem and PhD along the way. After a brief stint in big pharma, I left to start a social enterprise. However, life threw me some curveballs - rough pregnancies, chaotic house moves, and even a cancer scare. Needless to say, my plans for a social enterprise got shelved.

Florrie came into existence almost by accident. It all started with a lino printing workshop shortly after my son was born, which somehow led me to sign up for my first craft fair. Suddenly, needing stock to fill a table, I found myself dusting off my old bookbinding tools from my PhD days and diving headfirst into creating beautiful books. And just like that, Florrie was born.

a market tablet is set up with handmade books on the surface. the books have belly bands reading florrie on them.
Florrie first market stall

Fast forward a few years, and Florrie has grown into something I'm truly proud of. My commitment to sustainability and crafting durable, practical items has become woven into everything I create. Everything is slowly and carefully made with Florrie and I wouldn't have it any other way. Along the way, I've connected with a wonderful community of fellow makers in Fife and beyond who inspire and support me. I've also found a balance between running Florrie and doing other things I enjoy. For example, last year I was involved in building a library at my kids' school, a project that is particularly close to my heart (see library project IG here).

Then came Winter 2023 - I was all geared up for my best craft fair lineup yet. I had boxes upon boxes of meticulously crafted stock ready to go. This was going to be it! But, plot twist, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Cancelling those fairs was tough, but the support I received from the organizers and the wider community was nothing short of amazing.

Now, I’m six months into treatment with another 4 (at least) to go. Cancer, it turns out, is a marathon, not a sprint. On the surface of things, it may not seem like the best time to be coming back to Florrie with a head full of ideas. However, after months of hospital visits and endless medications, I'm done with having ‘The Cancer’ dictate, and I’m ready to make plans and changes - starting with Florrie.

Distance from Florrie during my treatment has given me a chance to reflect and reimagine its future. And here's the big news: after a decade of dreaming about social enterprises, I'm finally making it happen! Florrie will have a social enterprise "arm" (working title in progress!), featuring a new product that combines my passions for reading, sustainability, handmade goods, tea, and biscuits. And the best part? 20% of profits from this product will go towards supporting literacy programs in primary schools, as I've personally seen the profound impact that books in schools can have on children.

Of course, handmade books will still be at the heart of Florrie, and you can bet I'll be back at markets as soon as my immune system allows.

Thank you for your support over the last 6 months. I really appreciate it.

Su x

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