Opening in February, Oh Honey wasn't prepared for what was coming their way.
Previously operating at an online florist, Lustre Blooms founder Bridgette McLachlan decided to combine a passion of florals and botanicas with hospitality by opening her very own café Oh Honey earlier this year just prior to the country shutting down due to the pandemic.
Bringing her beautiful blooms to the fore, alongside delicious coffee, pastries, and sweet treats, this new shop quickly earned a reputation as a magical plant paradise. It’s a place that thrives on the notion that their customers will always leave feeling better than when they arrived!
Having launched her business right at the beginning of a historic global pandemic, we sat down with Bridgette to see how she navigated through restrictions.
First up, congrats on your venture. What inspired you to open this business?
I had created and built Lustre Blooms for the past four years to the point that we needed a larger space to operate – but prior to creating lustre blooms I worked in various hospitality settings and roles predominantly through Melbourne for four to five years and so when it came time to open a space I just knew we had to combine the two to create something really special.
What encouraged you to go for it? Did you look or go to anyone for advice?
We did a lot of research about what was going on in Geelong but also the rest of the country and overseas to see what was on trend and working for others. We spoke with numerous professionals to get their take and also ensure we had thought or and planned for everything. But at the end of the day it come down to working as a team and backing ourselves to go for it and know that we’ve created something different that makes sense to us and hopefully it made sense to others.
What were the challenges in opening a business during a pandemic?
We opened three weeks prior to the first lock down, on Feb the 25th to be precise. We had tables and chairs and at that stage were much more of a café than a retail space. We had spent months designing the space, sourcing furniture and putting together a menu we were proud of – that all quickly went out the window. We had to remove all furniture, pare everything right back to manage cost and adapt and change quickly to survive. One of the hardest part of this entire process was honestly the mental toll it takes. The anxiety, uncertainty, the isolation and the stress. We found that take each task and each day one at a time helped and ultimately trusting our gut instinct has been what’s got us through.
Did anything surprise you throughout the process?
We were swept away but how much everyone loves our new normal – our plant filled paradise in the heart of Geelong. For now the tables and chairs are only outside and our space is constantly full to the brim with nothing short of incredible plants but we, and our customers wouldn’t have it any other way.
How has the reception from locals been so far?
So many people are constantly saying they’ve just found us or are in love with the space and many joking that they want to live here haha. But just the pure joy and excitement we receive from people when they come in is the most heart-warming thing and really confirms for us that people are loving what we are offering.
What’s next for you and the business?
We are currently getting ready for Christmas and the silly season in the best possible way. We are sourcing more and more new products from local small businesses just like us every week to not only provide a stunning offering to Geelong but also support local small business as much as possible.
Lastly, we’re all about supporting local businesses and each other – if you could recommend another local business who would it be?
Summer Salt Body for all your Vegan self-care needs.
Foreverness Bridal for everything Bridal now that weddings are a go.
Local Geelong for the tastiest pizza going around.