Susie Reid Thomas launched Twilight Trees in 2014. Following a successful career in PR, Susie saw an opportunity to bring these unique illuminated trees to the UK market. With humble beginnings renting her leafy LED products for local parties, Susie branched out and began to adorn prestigious venues across the country with her stunning Twilight Trees. The trees have since become popular on a global scale with Twilight Trees travelling to Los Angeles, Mauritius, Jamaica and Switzerland to embellish properties and events alike.
Where did the idea for Twilight Trees start?
It didn’t come as a business idea initially. It was something I found and fell in love with and it just spiralled from there.
Do you think the way people are hosting events/entertaining today has changed?
I think a party isn’t just a party anymore. It’s not just about music and food, guests want an experience and hosts want to create an event to remember.
What is the craziest request you have had from a client?
We had a request to put a tree on a sloping roof once. We also receive a surprising number of requests for upside down trees.
What does a typical day look like?
Every day is different and I love it. Twilight Trees HQ is based in our home, despite the fact that the team and our stock have grown significantly. It does make my commute fairly short though! I often find myself waking up early and hitting the computer before breakfast and school run rush. If my mind is a crazy jumble of ideas, I often put my running kit on and hit the South Downs to clear my head. The team come in at 9am, that’s when the ‘office’ officially opens and we start working on our enquiries, quotes, logistics, marketing and all the other elements that make up our business. I am often outside in our storage facility packing up trees or developing new product lines. I also love going out for events – we’ve been to some incredible places and seen some top-secret parties. It’s not all glamour though; there’s a lot of late nights and far too much high visibility for my liking, but it’s all part of the job and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Who are your customers?
They could be an event company, a bride-to-be, a retail space wanting something to draw more customers in or simply someone wanting a little sparkle for a party.
What is the worst business advice you have ever received?
It wasn’t business advice but if I had listened to everyone’s initial opinions when they thought I was absolutely bonkers to set up a company selling light up trees, Twilight Trees certainly wouldn’t be here.
Are you more emotional or rational?
Emotional. That’s why it’s important to have a team that brings different skills and mind-sets to the table – they balance you out.
Who is your closest competitor?
We are lucky enough to have our own niche. There are many companies that we could consider competitors but we don’t have anyone doing exactly what we do. Florists for example could be seen as competition, but we actually find that we work brilliantly with florists. We are similarly minded and compliment each other beautifully.
How do you stay inspired?
Inspiration is everywhere, all you have to do is keep your eyes open, your ear to the ground and follow your instinct.
If you were guaranteed the answer to one question, what would it be?
I’d love to look into a crystal ball to see the future of Twilight Trees and where it’s going to go. We are in a really exciting position at the moment and there are numerous paths we can take. I’d like to peek a little further down the path.
What do you never leave home without?
The question is what do I ever leave home with? When it comes to the trees, we are organised to the tee – not a leaf is left behind. This does however seem to have a knock on effect on my personal effects. I’m invariably without a phone, house keys, a child or two…
What’s your first thought when you wake up?
If I wake up in the middle of the night my thoughts, and dreams for that matter, are always about trees. Logistics, future planning, and website ideas: it’s all encompassing. When I wake up in the morning, however, my one thought is tea! One cannot tree without tea.
What is your top tip for a future entrepreneur?
Surround yourself with good people, work hard, push the boundaries, take advice but not everyone’s advice, listen to people and make your own decisions. Really though, don’t listen to everyone because had I listened to everyone, this business certainly wouldn’t have kicked off.