When Samantha Quereshi, 25, couldn’t afford a flower arrangement for her dad’s funeral, she was heartbroken.
Samantha’s father, Shaun passed away suddenly in August 2021 after contracting sepsis, and the responsibility to plan the funeral fell on Sam, an only child.
‘He was my everything, my whole world, my entire support network,’ says the mum of three.
‘When he passed away, I found that really difficult. All the responsibilities were on me and I just couldn’t afford it.’
While planning her dad’s funeral, Samantha soon realised she couldn’t afford the flowers that she wanted: two arrangements spelling out ‘Dad’ and ‘Grandad’ in the Liverpool Football Club colours which she was quoted £330 for in total.
‘The funeral directors had to kindly remind of the prices,’ she adds. ‘That was it for me, I felt like I’d failed him.
‘I know if my dad was there, he would tell me not to worry about it, but with how much he had done for me throughout my life, I just wanted to give him that final send off he deserved.
‘Not being able to do that broke my heart.’
In the end, Samantha opted for a bouquet of red roses from the supermarket.
‘I felt like I’d let him down,’ she says. ‘It was very difficult to process.’
Not wanting anybody else to feel the way she did, Samantha, from Meir, Staffordshire, decided to start up her own business, Forget Me Nots, where families can rent fake flowers for funerals at a far more affordable price.
‘I just wanted to help other people not feel like I felt,’ she says.
‘We’ve had a really good response.
‘It’s been really heart-warming and amazing for me because it helped me deal with what I went through by helping others not have to go through it too.
Sam set up the business from her living room in February 2022, arranging fine silk to look like flowers – and the response to the business has been ‘overwhelming’.
‘I shocked myself to be honest, I’d never put my hand to a flower in my life,’ she says.
‘I watched a few tutorials on YouTube and they ended up looking just as good as real.’
Customers can request the words and colours they want and keep them for the entire day before returning them to the funeral directors, where they are both delivered and picked up by Sam’s boyfriend, Samuel, 30.
The materials are then reused in other floral arrangements.
‘I’ve had comments from customers afterwards who have thanked me and said they looked as good as real, nobody could tell they were fake,’ she adds.
‘We use all artificial flowers so then we can reuse the flowers over and over again, taking them out of one tribute and putting them in another – nothing goes to waste.
‘There’s a lot of pressure and a lot of money that goes into giving people a good send off, and often we lose people unexpectedly and people living pay cheque to pay cheque can’t afford it.
‘I just wanted to help other people not feel like I felt, and it’s amazing that it’s been able to help.’
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