"I was blown away," was Kirsty Glasgow's reaction to her business becoming one of the finalists in the Electra Business and Innovation Awards.

Kirsty owns Framed Alive, a company based in the backyard of her Raumati Beach property, which creates stunning colourful succulent displays in customised door frames, window frames and photograph frames.

She started the business a year ago after attending a 10 day Pop Up Business School Aotearoa course.

But she had become interested in the plants about six years ago when living in Tawa where the property had a lot of the species.

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"I didn't like them at first but over time I grew to love them — the changes, the textures, the colours, everything.

An array of succulents. Photo / David Haxton
An array of succulents. Photo / David Haxton

"When we moved up here there was nothing in the garden so I brought about 20 pots of cuttings with me from our old home.

"I'm basically addicted to them," she laughs.

In her Raumati Beach back yard she has about 150-200 different succulent varieties.

A lot of thought and effort goes into creating each display with the results becoming a hit with customers.

The displays are in various parts of New Zealand including Kāpiti, and she promotes her business strongly via her website and social media.

Her Facebook page over lockdown "went crazy" and she now has over 1000 followers, and she's about to be in an advert for tax agency Hnry.

"I'm not used to all this attention."

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Picture frame succulents with Ella the cat in the background. Photo / David Haxton
Picture frame succulents with Ella the cat in the background. Photo / David Haxton

Her husband Clive is involved too, creating all the customised woodwork.

"He's been a huge part of everything."

The business is going so well that Kirsty is thinking about employing someone to help her.

"If I do get more business I'll need extra hands.

"Just watering the plants, for example, takes about three hours."

Another reason for creating her business is that she has a chronic arthritic condition.

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"This is something I can do around my body, and I don't give up easily."

Kirsty Glasgow and a door frame succulent display. Photo / David Haxton
Kirsty Glasgow and a door frame succulent display. Photo / David Haxton

While the work is time-consuming, Kirsty also finds the time to give back to the community.

Once a week she assists an ex-client, who has a traumatic brain injury, work at the business.

And she goes along to an Idea Services community home to give residents work experience.

But working in her climate-friendly garden, nurturing and creating spectacular succulent creations, with her cat Ella by her side, is the place she loves to be.

"It's great to do something I love doing and have a passion for."

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