THE COVID COLLECTION – post 2
MOTHERS DAY 2020 – WOW IT WAS HUGE!!!
Record-breaking for florists & local growers alike, in my opinion, such a win for us as an industry & as a community that have ‘gone back’ to sending love through nature & blooms.
So I’m feeling the need to share my Post M’day tips & musings on where to now when we face this upcoming lull in our calendars with an uncertain wedding season ahead. But first, let’s talk POST MOTHERS DAY WEEK – sorry to tell you but there’s still a couple of jobs that probably should be on your to-do list while things are still fresh in your mind.
EMBRACING THE CHANGE:
With the recent shift in all industries regards to COVID so many of you chose to embrace the change, gather yourselves from the impact of the fall out for the weddings and events & pivot your business into daily deliveries, occasion flowers….well done! this shift may have been full of positives for you, an injection of income that you may have thought wasn’t yours a few months ago. so given this year has been so different from previous M’Days I thought I would share a few things that may help you make the most out of this year’s new fluid love of flowers & the void that seems like the few months ahead.
NURTURE & REWARD:
This is hard for some of us to embrace but something I really believe is so important for your mental health, physical health & overall longevity in the business. I have a name for that buzzed up but also empty cup feeling after a busy trading period, event, or workshop/retreat – CREATIVE JETLAG Yep it’s a thing for me & for so many other creatives I talk to.
Artists, photographers, designers.
When you have poured your creative juices into something that’s frantic has deadlines & logistics but still requires your creative energy to flow till the end ‘it’ has to crash once the buzz is over. So for me, I now block out 2-3 days after any large creative event, ease the pressure on myself, do my mundane magic tasks of washing, mopping floors, cleaning vases, you know those ‘fun’ but super easy on the mind jobs to do & resist booking in client sessions, meetings or creating proposals. I know I won’t be at my nest, I won’t be functioning as a mum, wife & friend very well either if I don’t take the time to fill my cup back up with nature walks & little self-care, whatever that is for you BOOK IT IN! …… then you will have the energy & clarity to get on with the list below, cause it’s a big one!
WHILE IT’S ALL FRESH IN YOUR MIND!
Now that you’ve rewarded yourself, taken a few days to process it all, this right here is my ‘highly recommend you do’ list while it’s all fresh in your mind. Breaking down the whole event was so so helpful for me moving forward. This checklist allowed me to be really clear overall & was a gift next time a big standing was coming up.
WHAT WORKED – WHAT DIDN’T – WHAT WOULD YOU DO NEXT TIME
I recommend you use a notebook specifically for this task if you like to write [ me, I find things are clearer to me when I have a pen to paper] or create a spreadsheet/document with the topics below & come back to these 3 questions above -what worked, what didn’t & what would you do next time.
- STAFFING who worked out really well, who didn’t etc
- DELIVERIES rates, locations, distancing processes etc
- GROWERS & SUPPLY who could supply you, were their flowers of quality, did you order enough and early enough, who would you use again?
- YOUR PROCESSES this part would have been quite new for some of you, was this too labor-intensive, how did your online shop go?
- YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE was this easy for them, to pay, to organize, data collection etc
- PRICING FORMULA [super important!] if this wasn’t as nice in the end as you thought it was going to be you want to know, don’t bury your creative head on this as what’s the point if you don’t have the data to learn from your mistakes for next time.
- ORDERING QUANTITIES. need more of this, less of that, these lasted really well etc
- DESIGN OFFERINGS/ MENU/ RECIPES were you happy with your designs offered? did they take too long to create? would you do more seasonal? florists choice so the pressure is off creating customized designs?
More if they come to mind. There will be mistakes made, every year is different but especially this one and for so many of you this was a whole new experience taking daily orders & delivery multiples in one weekend, no imports [happy dancing over here] but this also had its challenges for the florists who are used to purchasing these & from suppliers who couldn’t guarantee product.
O.k you still with me?
You will most likely have these, no big day happens completely to plan for all involved. Some will be genuine, some will be from a serial complainer, either way, YOU WANT TO HEAR THESE!
‘no, please no’ I hear you say but let me share something with you. The genuine person that complaining is begging for you to keep them as a customer.
Your worst client out there is the one that doesn’t take the time to complain but tells their 10 friends, with the story getting exaggerated with every telling, that your flowers/service are rubbish. The quiet assassin!
So here are my tips on complaints.
- LISTEN: you might have a real problem that needs sorting out, delivery processes, quality of the product, something that if someone didn’t tell you, you would have no idea. A complaint comes at you with energy, anger & will diffuse if they feel like they have been heard.
- SPEAK TO THEM: over the phone or in-person but avoid the email back & forth or text, get on the front foot & be ready to listen. I used to tell my girls that I would personally deal with all complaints, this goes a long way to the customer feeling validated that the boss is sorting it out.
- KNOW YOUR TERMS & CONDITIONS: & stick to them otherwise why do you have them? refer your client gently back to these. If you feel they have genuine issues & you’ve made a mistake make it right for them.
- IF YOU’VE MADE A MISTAKE – OWN IT! : I have had customers that have really ‘had their say’ & because we owned the problem, handled it well they became my biggest supporter.
Is this part of your customer experience? If not, why not?
Some might say why would you open up the potential for the complaints again by contacting someone to ask if they were happy with their flowers? But just think about it…. you have 2 clients here, the customer & the recipient & you’ve supplied them with a perishable but beautiful product. They will die, their beauty is fleeting, so if you didn’t get a chance to send those helpful ‘care for’ tips to show your recipients just how much you care about your product then now is a perfect time.
whether you are an event specialist that’s jumped on the mothers day trade or a daily supply florist, chances are you just got a bunch of new clients, you’ve opened yourself up to a whole lot of birthdays, anniversaries, future weddings, funerals, babies etc. show them how fabulous you are -after you have their $$.
I’m assuming you have emails for both of your clients, the buyer & the receiver.
- send a bulk email to your senders – thanking them for sharing their love for their mum’s, sisters, wives, aunties with flowers.
- no one fully expects it to be completely personalized but if you use programs like mail chimp you will be able to insert names specific to your client.
- You may hundreds of orders & this might take a little time but statistics show that it costs a lot less time & money to keep the customers you have than find new ones.
- email the recipient, this one is easy. Tell them how happy you were to send them love through blooms, you hope you love them & then send those all-important care tips, cut your stem ends & change the water every 2 days is the main one, shows you care about your product, shows you care about the vase life & that they can get the most enjoyment as possible from their blooms.
- this also gives you an opportunity to share your newsletter, blog, website, subscription service, VIP program, your eco ethos, the growers you used, where they were grown etc.
- So So many things that could now create loyalty, let them see that buying from ALDI is just not the same experience, making YOU their favorite florist, the one they need on speed dial for every future event.
Because you know what, flowers are the new special gift, keep the vibe going!
WHERE TO NOW?
How are you feeling moving into this next 6 months?
With the newfound love of flowers, we have enjoyed this extra & unexpected income injected into our businesses with a busy Easter & Mothers day. But traditionally the next few months are usually quiet, relying on the autumn & winter brides, that enjoy the cooler weather glorious winter blooms & less expensive venue costs of spring to boost us until Christmas. So without them are we moving into another type of void?
Well you know I’ll have some optimistic [and realistic] thoughts on the matter so here they are 🙂
- be ready for the second wave of postponements, just my gut feeling here but I can’t imagine the restrictions will be lifted to the point of 100 + guests at a wedding any time soon. Outdoor & smaller numbers maybe.
- be ready for a calendar re-shuffle again, which also means booking dates into 2021 that you may have been hoping were going to be avail.
- be ready to adjust prices, no bride should be expecting prices that were quoted to stay the same for a wedding in 6 or 12 months time, be upfront about this & let them know gently. no one likes a $$ increase surprise. This will mean that you will also spend time going through the proposal process again. I know I will be for my May /now October gal.
- maybe get in contact with your venues, do they have an outdoor option? could you help them with ideas of how to create a gorgeous outdoor ceremony & cocktail area [much easier to deal with than a sit-down affair outside] Be their go-to supplier that is assisting rather than just waiting for the calls. We are all hurting right now especially them.
- consider the option for offering your bride to keep the date & have a smaller more intimate ceremony, think stunning arbor in a more spectacular setting, luxurious cocktail-style drinks & canapes. The flowers, photographer & celebrant are the must have’s for these & usually the flower budget can now be increased on quality statements pieces which also allow you to create with fewer staff overheads & opportunities to extend your creativity with the professional images for your portfolio, lots of plusses here if want there to be.
Whether you’re an event florist or daily chances are you just expanded your customer base through last weekend’s sales, maybe now is the time to find ways to not let them go!
- start a newsletter, create a community
- Create your own photoshoot – engage like-minded suppliers that fit with your brand, venues that need the extra publicity, photographers, dressmakers etc share in the costs but you direct it. What do you wish you were doing more of? loads to share on this subject.
- maybe start virtual workshops for home styling
- small group workshops of dried flower designs
- flower bombing
- feel good once a week giveaway – these have been hugely popular during this time
- anything that keeps your client base engaged with your product & YOU
UPSKILLING & LEARNING or maybe unlearning:
Is now the time?
No matter what I think we will have a lull now. So is this the time for you to consider the following?
- upgrading your website now that you can see how easy it is to refine your customer’s ordering experience & tailor-making it perfectly for you?
- exploring foam-free techniques & unlearning your old foamy ways?
- learn a new floristry skill or technique?
- upskill your staff, start excepting the work you really want to be doing with confidence?
- enrolling in a social media course, technology course, or program that will streamline your admin processes?
- take on some business coaching or mentoring program
- now that you can see how un-sustainable we have become, buying so many imported goods from flowers to sundries & everything in between is becoming more sustainable an option for you?
- what does a sustainable business even mean? & what does it mean for you?
You know, basically deciding to invest in yourself, your business!
WHEN WE ARE OUR SMALL BUSINESS WHY WOULDN’T FEEL LIKE IT’S WORTH INVESTING IN OURSELVES – now could just be the time.
One thing is for sure the earth is breathing for the first time. Who would have ever imagined that there would be a time where the whole world basically stops to allow a change to actually happen even if just for a minute.
People are becoming aware of their own impact, watching every industry, probably especially ours as a nature-loving one, & what we are doing to create a positive difference in the future. Let me tell you especially brides! If you’re worried about making yourself ‘too niche’ by becoming an eco-focused event florist that’s seriously not the case. All of my inquiries now are either with a zero-waste, sustainable question or are so happy when I tell them my earth focused ethos they’re more than happy to be a part of that.
Anyway, I won’t rant on my favorite topic.:)
If your ‘before the big C’ business wasn’t your dream business then NOW IS THE TIME to sort that out.
& if you made it this far I hope you found some gems that will inspire you & allow you to feel a little calmer & more hopeful about where we go to now.
Be Always Blooming