THE COVID COLLECTION – post 1
MOTHERS DAY 2020 – finds us as an industry, in a very different place than we were last year, and any year previous to be honest.
This was mine last year, A delightfully floral, albeit a chilly southern highlands day, wandering the heritage gardens of Milton Park – Bowral with a floral vase workshop & high tea lunch with Moet. Aaargh the memories of a floral gathering.
10th May marks around the 6/7 week into this new world, and now the haze seems to be lifting a little where we can see the effect the changes are making on us collectively as growers, suppliers, and florists.
So like you, I’m experiencing this for the first time too, the only difference being is that I may be able to offer help in some small way, to you my friendly and hopeful florist, in finding opportunities and understanding consumer behavior to make this one, different yes but as profitable as possible.
So before we go to the list of opportunities that I see maybe available to you, and please keep in mind I don’t know your situation or business model, but I’m hoping there’s a little gem of an idea or two here that you can see will work for you.
But let’s chat about the changes first.
THE CHANGES I SEE:
CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR – gifting flowers are back! Over the years, with so many options to gift, share experiences and the online market of products avail there has been a definite lull in flowers purchased as a message of love to friends and families. BUT who have thought? With the return and appreciation of things considered ‘old fashioned’, craft, buying local produce etc so has the return of gifted nature. It only seems natural to me that a person now contained in an apartment or small home with no access to nature would absolutely appreciate a little living, fragrant, happy blooming face to care for a week or so.
Yipppeeee this fills me with so much joy! Let’s collectively have the general public so addicted to flowers by the end of all of this that like Europe, flowers and design are not considered a luxury item in the home but a must-have weekly.
INDUSTRY BEHAVIOUR – ok so we’ve discussed the consumer but what’s happening with us as florists and designers.
Retail Shopfronts – although most are staying open the capacity to generate walk-in sales has all but diminished, UNLESS you have a website that could accommodate online sales and a busy social media platform, which let’s face it without the busy of the day to day running of the shop you may now have the time to work on. Thankfully You would no doubt have a delivery system in place that could handle an increase in deliveries. Staff care and being able to social distance may have been quite an issue though.
Home studio – I’m assuming the overall day to day running of your business hasn’t changed too much other than the initial early crash and access to product, you will have been able to stay relatively isolated in your work environment.
Wedding and event florists – yes I feel your pain, although wedding and events are not my sole focus now they have been in the past and the clients I have had to postpone have been so upset by the process and our bottom line for the next 6 months at this stage is scary. What I do see starting to happen is these florists usually have quite a good following on the socials and are advertising to offer contactless delivery by direct sales as a weekly service, good for you!
WHERE TO NOW?
Here we are leading up to the busiest weekend of sales for the year, but you know what? There’s a positive buzz in the air!
Thanks to some wonderful publicity for a feel-good moment with florists, growers jumping on board concepts such as regifting unsold flowers to front line health workers, free flowers to people in need. Easter this year by all accounts was THE busiest period of any Easter previously.
People are missing each other, and they are saying I LOVE YOU with flowers!
So, my thoughts on ideas, opportunities, collaborations and more are below.
- Contactless delivery is now your go-to
- Easy and efficient ways to pay online need to be offered
- Online purchases give you the ability to now save their information for future and build your client base. Don’t let this disappear into the ether.
- Wedding and event florists may already have quite a strong fan base, use this and your signature style to offer something different.
- Be sure to create designs that transport well and are delivered and left easily without damage.
- Consider offering plants as well as cut flowers. They have had a huge revival in recent times, long-lasting, seen as value for money & allow you to have a product less perishable to sell after M day.
- Dried flower designs are also back on trend, fabulous, you now have the opportunity to go through all of your stored dried products, create designs & have a cleanout. Please consider the influx of died & chemically created and bleached products though. Although again on trend I’m not sure people would really appreciate a design saturated in chemicals in their home.
- Now could not be a better time to collab with another business
- Cafes/restaurants that are offering mother’s day lunches/dinners as a pick-up or delivery receive flowers too, these don’t have to be huge or a large expense. It’s the volume that will be the key and with no customer-driven specifics, you are free to make whatever your little floral heart desires making sure your costs are exactly as they should be.
- Beautiful gift items. Such as local Candlemaker, candle making kit, access to a virtual class.
- home-baked treats, support a home cook getting their own business off the ground,
- Beauticians who are now suddenly unable to give treatments include their products, vouchers for the future – flowers, for now, pamper later.
- Book store voucher for online sales or an author you love, approach them with signed copies of the book.
- So many other gift line type companies
- Fresh fruit and veggie /flower box including recipes.
- As always chocolates but maybe these are homemade by an artisanal chocolate maker
- Be sure to collab with someone who you genuinely like, who’s products fit in with your own business, in line with your brand. This can be such a win-win for both of you when you combine your client base together.
- Garden center, plants & flowers together? seems everyone is in their garden growing their own veggies [again that brings a little cheer from me]
VIRTUAL GIFT WORKSHOPS:
- Can’t attend a workshop, film a virtual one.
- Do you have a local grower that needs your support right now? Do they have an influx of a certain variety of flower they would love to be able to sell more easily? you may advertise a standard size handheld bouquet, sell the flowers -unarranged, pair of cutters, vase [buy sales stock] with an image of the finished design. Film a short video naming the flowers, how to care for them, create the design in a virtual workshop for the recipient to watch online, and create their own.
- I have been suggesting this to my clients for a while now and recently saw this form of regular automated purchases has been dubbed the hot trend of 2020, well after this I can see why. Regular and pre-ordered is absolutely the friend of the florist when we handle a perishable item and any time you can encourage pre-order- automated weekly, fortnightly, monthly orders you should, it’s such a gift. Maybe you have a special mum return deal within a month after her mum’s day arrangements as a celebrate winter design. Refill her vase you sold her, ask her preferred colors or design style, where she puts her arrangements usually, ask if you can surprise her with seasonal produce, she will feel like she has her very own designer on hand, how special!
- Ongoing gift vouchers for your clients who would like to buy 12 or 24 times a year, special occasions and dates and few just because I love you deliveries, such a special relationship to make for you and for them.
My top tips:
- Make sure your pricing and costing formula is correct, would hate to see you have this opportunity to pick up so much work and new clients only to break even in the end due to overbuying, underquoting. You know what? Your flowers are for someone’s mum! Who they either haven’t seen for a while, won’t see for a while and realise they miss like crazy. They will be happy to spend the $$ on showing her just how much.
- Be savvy in your design offerings. Create what you know you can make a lot of efficiently.
- A limited number of design options on offer
- Use locally grown and readily available flowers, blooms with a story that you can share. grown with love for you. Helping a farmer type vibe, it’s true.
- Consider this being a perfect opportunity to really show off your business, brand, style, quality, care, and customer experience. Go through the client process from the time they have seen you online, your options, decision made, purchase and gift card/gift, etc, payment process, after purchase contact. Online companies do this so well, with lovely wrapping, presentation, thank you cards, and after-sales emails and contact because you know what? All of that special care and feel-good feeling work.
- You have the chance here to become mum’s new favorite florist.
- Containers and delivery processes, be sure to make this seamless, safe, and care of the flowers. Use vases or waterproof vessels where you can and ditch the foam! Mum then ends up with a gorgeous vase or pot that will seem so empty once the flowers are finished and be more inclined to fill it up next month
- Eco and earth-friendly design, consider this if you don’t already, celebrating with nature should also mean respecting nature and designing with purpose and awareness.
I am here cheering you on!
You have the potential to really turn your business around, re-invent yourself, re-represent yourself to so many new clients right now. And if you don’t’ someone else will. We are a creative industry and some of us are grabbing this moment after the initial shell shock of it all to look for the positives and seize the moment of change.
We may never have this time again, well I hope we don’t, but we have time and stillness and that’s been a rare thing for florists as we hustle, work hard and feel the pressure of the daily grind.
Create the business of your dreams it absolutely is possible, and I hope this mother’s day is the beginning of that for you.
As always, I’m totally here as a Flower Bud-dy for you.
Be Always Blooming