The owners of a florist that only opened three months ago have won a prestigious award.

Willow & Ivy in Hedge End won ‘Best Florist in Hampshire and Isle of Wight’ Muddy Stiletto award by popular vote.

Friends Ella Pepper and Tash Bailey joined forces this year after two separate careers in the floristry industry.

Daily Echo: Ella Pepper, left, and Tash Bailey Ella Pepper, left, and Tash Bailey (Image: Willow & Ivy)

Neither expected to win such an accolade so soon in their business venture.

Ella, 45, said: “We don’t know who nominated us as it was done anonymously.

“We were excited to receive the email to say we were nominated and the next thing we know, everybody was voting for us to win.

“Both of us are really thrilled to have won by such a big amount, it is not something we thought about.”

She added: “Getting this nomination and achieving this win is the cherry on top of the cake for us.

“It shows how well we are doing. We have worked really hard, and it is a great partnership.”

Ella was inspired by Tash to start her own business after 30 years.

Since then, she has never looked back.

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Ella said: “Last year, I had a bad year personally and I said to Tash it would be nicer to do this together and have each other as back-up.

“I already had my workshop in Hedge End, so Tash joined me here.

“I decided I wanted to work for myself after Covid, and Tash inspired me as we were friends before doing this together.

“Doing this works around our families and commitment as we both have children.”

Despite only opening their joint business at the start of the year, the pair have built lasting relationships with customers.

Ella said: “We are quite personal florists, and we welcome a lot of regular customers, so we build up a good rapport with people.

“We have a nice circle of customers who are really supportive.”

The awards ceremony is in June, then the pair will compete to win the national title.

Tash, 36, said: “We want to say thank you to each and every person who nominated us.

“We are really grateful.”