A MAN who quit his job to set up a shop selling house plants just before the first national lockdown is celebrating his first year of success.

David Morley was due to open The Plant Workshop in Northallerton when lockdown, which saw the closure of all non-essential shops, halted his plans.

Taking the business online instead, the company's website launched on March 25, 2020, and the first order was placed at about 4pm on the same day.

Mr Morley said: "We've been so busy we haven't had a chance to think about our birthday."

Over run with orders while doing doorstep deliveries in during first lockdown, Mr Morley took on a unit in Billingham for additional space.

As lockdown eased last year, the former dietician ran workshops at the site and plans to do so again when restrictions allow.

Today, The Plant Workshop has three stores, a team of seven and delivers across the North-East.

Mr Morley said: "We had the keys for the Northallerton shop when lockdown hit but never planned to have the other stores.

"I just wanted a little plant shop in Northallerton but we didn't open it because of Covid and did doorstep delivery instead.

"This year has been a blur, it's all happened so fast. We couldn't keep up with the demand when we were doing it out the back of our house."

The company also sells candles, which are home-made by co-founder and husband Steve at the couple's home in Billingham.

Fenwick's also approached Mr Morley about having a stall in the department store, giving the business a home in Newcastle.

Mr Morley said: "We said yes without a shadow of a doubt. We were absolutely shocked, like we were just this little plant shop and never dreamed of it.

"They were impressed by how strong our branding is and are really passionate about local businesses. They have been really supportive through the pandemic."

The Plant Workshop is expanding its presence in the iconic store by growing one of its stalls and introducing another.

Mr Morley left his job as an NHS dietician for South Tees trust, where he worked at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, in March last year after deciding he wanted to do something different.

Mr Morley added: "I have a strict schedule but have never had a management role before so every day is a learning curve. You have to be adaptable, especially in and out of lockdown.

"I have the best staff that any business owner could wish for."

Despite having already rapidly grown over the past year, there is more growth in sight for The Plant Workshop, with Mr Morley hoping workshops can soon get back underway.

The firm has promised customers in Fenwick's and Northallerton a fresh layout and greater selection.

The Plant Workshop currently hand delivers across the North-East and parts of North Yorkshire.