Meir mum who launched fake funeral flowers business shares story on ITV show

A Stoke-on-Trent mum-of-four who started renting out 'budget-friendly' fake flowers for funerals following the death of her beloved dad will be talking about her flourishing business on an ITV show tonight (May 2).

Samantha Quereshi, 27, was left devastated when her father Shaun, 52, passed away suddenly in August 2021 after contracting sepsis. Being his only child, Sam was left to take on the burden of organising his funeral and was stunned by the cost of floral arrangements.

The experience made her determined to not let others have to go through the same thing so 'Forget Me Nots' - renting fake flowers to grieving families at a far more affordable price - was born in 2022. She runs the business from her home in Meir, with boyfriend Samuel O'Neill, 32, on delivery duties, but is aiming to open a shop in Longton before the end of the year.

We covered Samantha's story shortly after the business launched and she then went on to appear in the national media. This has led to ITV featuring in her in the latest episode of its current affairs show Tonight, which airs on ITV 1 at 8.30pm.

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"It's focussing on funerals and how the price is at an all-time high," she explained. "I was passionate about this after losing my dad. It's not really spoken about.

"Funerals are a bit of a taboo topic. When it comes to funerals people don't know the price - it's only when they're in that situation that they realise.

"It's a heart-breaking position to be in. You just want to give your loved-one the send-off they deserve not be worrying about your finances.

"People put themselves in debt to pay for flowers that won't last for very long. Not only are we budget-friendly, we're environmentally-friendly too because everything gets reused."

Recalling how the business took off, Samantha added: "I did a post on Facebook and it got lots of shares. I was surprised it had never been done before - it seems like an obvious thing. It just took off then."

Following our story, Samantha featured in national newspaper publications and on the BBC before an appearance on hit Channel 4 daytime show Steph's Packed Lunch. The business has gone from strength to strength and Samantha is hoping to finally secure a permanent base.

"I'm looking to get a shop in Longton in the next six months," she explained. "I've recently had a baby so I've been doing it from home but that's definitely the aim.

"The business is to help people more than anything - that's why I started it. Two years ago to get fresh flowers for 'Grandad' I was quoted £240 - it's probably even more now.

"Ours is £50 - it's such a big difference. It's all about saving people money. We've had amazing support from the community and like any business we'd be nothing without our customers."

Helping others is the central focus of Samantha's business and with Forget Me Nots continuing to be a big success she wants to do even more to help her community. "I wanted to give back more," she admitted.

"So now 10 per cent of our profits will go to a different charity every month. The first is the oncology ward at the Royal Stoke."

You can watch the latest episode of Tonight on ITV 1 at 8.30pm on Thursday, May 2

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