Floral Order Gatherers and Wire Services

Floral Order Gatherers and Wire Services – 3 Things Florists Need to Know

First things, first, WTF are floral order gathers and wire services?!?

You've probably heard of common brands like FTD, Teleflora, Petals, or 1800-Roses. There are hundreds of brands popping up, whose sole purpose is to offer floral order gatherers and wire services.

Essentially, their job is to bridge the gap between the customer and the florist. But as a Flower Boss, it's super valuable to dig in, go behind the scenes and really understand what's involved when it comes to floral order gatherers and wire services, as a business owner.

History of Floral Order Gatherers and Wire Services

One of the most common floral order gatherers is Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD), founded in 1910. The company actually started as a partnership between 13 flower shops across the United States, looking to expand their offering and solve a very real problem for customers; that is, to be able to send flowers to a loved one in a different location.

Back in the day, that whole thing was done via telegraph. (WTF even is that?!?!)

And, over the last 100 years, technology has obviously evolved a lot but each of these relay services or wire networks is still solving a very similar problem.

In its most basic form, floral order gatherers and wire services are bridging the gap between the customer and the local florist business, gathering orders (mostly online) and distributing them to florists around the world.

What Florists Need to Know

When we bought the flower shop back in 2015, there was an affiliation already in place with Petals (part of the Teleflora family). The shop's website was run through the Petals platform and, early on in my flowering career, we did a huge amount of orders through the Petals network.

Total transparency: I thought we had to be part of a relay service or wire network. I assumed it was part of the plan and was a must for legitimate florists around the world.

But, as we started to get $$$ deposited into our accounts and we spent more and more time trying to decipher the monthly order value and revenue statements, the more questions we had.

We started to dig deeper because we really wanted to understand what the deal was with floral order gatherers and wire services. What's actually happening here and how much money are we making (or not making) from this opportunity??

Here's the thing I wish someone had told me about floral order gatherers and wire services: every flower business owner gets to decide for themselves if they want to participate in a relay network or partner with an order gatherer.

There really is no 'right' or 'wrong' answer here and it's up to each individual to decide what's best for them.

To help you make an informed decision, here are a few things I've learned through my journey...

What Problems Do Floral Order Gatherers and Relay Services Solve for Florists

In essence, the premise of the relay network is the same as it's always been: connect the customer with a local flower shop. It's the 'how' that's evolved over the past 100+ years.

Back in 1910, when FTD was founded, it was a group of local florists working together to support each other. And to solve a very real problem for its customers. Before the days of the internet, how was a customer supposed to connect with an out of town florist – the idea would be just too overwhelming to consider.

But, Aas technology has evolved, as more and more customers are shopping online, the way floral order gatherers and relay services are showing up is evolving too.

Essentially, at this moment in time, they are filling the role of marketing + sales for the local flower shop.

The relay service is the one investing in Google Ads, setting up a basic website with an online catalogue and being that "front of house" solution that customers are looking for.

The relay service then 'wires' the orders to a local florist and the local florist is required to fulfil the customer order and do the delivery.

In exchange for doing that front end marketing, the relay service will take about 30% of the sale as their commission.

Looking for a step by step solution to getting your Google Ads + Online Calogue sorted? Come join Flower Boss Bootcamp and get access to our step by step trainings, replicate website and everything you need to level up your digital marketing game. Click here to learn more.

Let's Go Deeper: Is Joining a Relay Service Right for Your Flower Business?

With every week that goes by, it feels like there are more and more different relay services and wire networks popping up. And yes, there are lots of horror stories of bad customer experiences and disappointed clients.

With more and more customers ordering flowers online, having a strong online presence is an integral piece of the puzzle. And with the layers of detail required to get Google Ads + a functioning online catalogue sorted, for many local flower shops, being part of a relay network can feel like an easy win for the local floral designer.

But, when it comes to answering the question "Is joining a relay service right for your flower business?" it's worth taking a construction look at the pros and cons of their offering.

And that's precisely what I'm doing in this week's podcast episode. We're diving into all things FTS, Petals, Teleflora and going into the nitty-gritty of floral relay services and wire networks.

Inside This Week's Podcast Episode You'll Learn:

What are relay services and wire networks and what role do they play for flower shops?

How do you know if a relay service or order gatherer is right for your flower business?

Why might being part of a relay service be good for business (or not)?

3 things every floral designer needs to know before signing on with a relay service.

Listen to the full episode here

Full Episode Transcript

 

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How to Run a Successful Flower Shop

How to Run a Successful Flower Shop – My #1 Secret for Making it Work

I've been spending some time looking back at the early days of my flowering career. As much as it makes me want to cringe and I'm embarrassed by a lot of what I was doing, I've found it really helpful to reflect on all the mistakes I've made and see just how far I've come – particularly when it comes to learning how to run a successful flower shop.

I am on a mission to share as many of my epic failures and lessons learned as possible, with the goal to help you move forward and progress faster. It's like we all get to learn from the mistakes I made and then you'll be 10 steps ahead. Isn't that fun?

When it comes to learning how to run a successful flower shop, the list of mistakes we made is long. There are so many things I wish I had known and so many 'a ha' moments to share.

Even now, in 2022, florists are operating on a lot of misinformation about how to make a flower shop work and I want to help simplify this process. I want to fill the void of information and make it easier for you to get real results (and make more money).

At the end of the day, there is a lot to think about when it comes to how to run a successful flower shop. There are all the logistics around operations, insurance and retail leases. Then all the technology, POS and systems. Plus staffing and shop fit-outs.

And that's all BEFORE you even have a customer calling or coming into the shop to even get into the flowering and fulfilment.

I've put together this blog post to help cut through the overwhelm and help you get focused on what matters most. Because your time is precious. Your energy is limited and I don't want you to waste money on sh*t that doesn't work.

My #1 Secret for Making it Work: How to Run a Successful Flower Shop

I wish someone had told me, way back when I became my own boss, that I get to decide what success looks like to me.

I spend five years chasing someone else's definition of success and it was awful. It's like mindlessly climbing Mount Everest and then getting to the top, only to wonder "WTF is this? This isn't what I wanted?"

So let me save you from all that toil and trouble and lay it out for you as simply as possible: when you make the decision to start a business, you are signing up for being the person in charge. The head honcho. The person who holds that sign says 'The buck stops here.'

Most of the time, it's a scary place to be. It's new and unfamiliar and we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get it perfect.

But being a business owner and flower boss is also one of the most empowering experiences a human can have. (I share more of this on Instagram, so be sure to follow along.)

I believe being a business owner really teaches us, as human beings, how to truly LIVE into the fullness of the human experience. To feel all the feelings and work through so many of our fear-based, scarcity-driven limiting beliefs.

So, if you're at a loss on what to do in your business and what direction to go, one of the most helpful exercises you can do for yourself and your business is to get clear on what success means to you. And be super literal and specific in your definition.

If you look up the definition of 'successful' on the interwebs, you get this: accomplishing a desired aim or result.

So, with that definition in mind, what is YOUR desired aim or result? Remember, you get to decide for yourself what you want success to mean and you don't need to pay attention to what anyone else is telling you "you should do".

Maybe you're like so many many of the florists inside my Flower Boss Bootcamp who want to have a beautiful shop front with a collection of giftware, home decor and a cute little flowering space.

Or maybe you're navigating a totally different path and only want to do 4 weddings a year, all with big fat 6-figure budgets.

Or maybe you're somewhere in between.

At the end of the day, you get to decide. You are the CEO, the woman in charge and this is your business. You get to define the outcome for yourself. (And no, you don't need to 'work your way up' or 'start small'.)

Being In Charge is Awkward

Yep. There you go. I said it.

Being a leader, being a CEO, being a Flower Boss doesn't come naturally to most of us.

We're very comfortable having someone else tell us what to do. When we're kids, our parents are in charge. Then we go to school and have teachers, principals, professors leading the way. And then we get our first job and, as an employee, we are still following someone else's lead.

Then, we make the decision to start a business and we bring all of that 'not in charge experience into our own work and inevitably 'outsource' the "being in charge" authority to others.

This is particularly true when we're wondering how to run a successful flower shop. We really like to tell ourselves there is a "right" way and a "wrong" way.

So, on our hunt for answers (and when we lack confidence), we might give our customers or clients the power to tell us what to create. Or we might have team members and staff who push us around. (I've experienced both.)

Here's the thing though: it's not your fault. You are not broken. You are a human being running a business and for most of us, no one sat us down and told us how intense this experience feels. No one has told us that when you own the business you get to decide what is done, how things are done and where the business is going.

It's OK that it feels new and awkward. It's OK to feel overwhelmed and confused. There is a lot to sort through.

You can do this. You can do hard things, right?

Go Deeper: My Flower Boss Success Formula

At the end of the day, your success is 100% up to you. No one else is going to come along and do the work for you.

You don't need to wait for permission. You don't need more qualifications and you definitely don't need more Instagram followers.

But you do need to decide you want this and you will make it happen. And then get to work.

Friend, it's time to double down on YOU. To recognise how capable and smart you are. This flower dream of yours was planted in your heart for a reason. I feel it in my bones.

It's time to step up and share your love of flowers with the world.

And no, you don't need to figure it all out on your own. In this week's podcast episode, I'm sharing My Flower Boss Success Formula.

Yes. Quite literally, I'm giving you the formula for showing up with more confidence, more clarity and giving you the inside scoop on how to embrace the discomfort of being the boss of your business.

What you'll learn from this episode:

The real reason we play small, stay small and talk ourselves out of massive action

The #1 secret to being intentional, mastering your mindset and showing up with more confidence

My 4-part framework for feeling successful (even if you're new and just getting started)

The value of hitting 'reset' on your business and coming back to basics

Listen to the full episode here

 

Full Episode Transcript

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Instagram Tips for Florists

15 Instagram Tips for Florists and Flower Farmers

Feeling totally confused by Instagram and all things social media? Not sure what to post or where to go for guidance and help?

You're in the right place. Here are 15 Instagram tips for florists and flower farmers.

Instagram Works

Yes, you read that right. Instagram is an amazing platform to help you reach new customers and grow your client list. But it's so easy to get off track and spend time on things that just don't matter when it comes to all things Instagram.

At the end of the day, the most important lesson to learn is that we floral designers get to approach Instagram very differently from other industries. In fact, we get to break all the rules. Literally.

When it comes to Instagram tips for florists and flower farmers, we don't need to worry about the algorithm or chasing engagement.

Why? Because your followers ≠ your customers.

I know it flies in the face of everything everyone else is spouting out about Instagram but when it comes to selling flowers, finding customers for your flower business, having more followers isn't a recipe for success.

At the end of the day, the reason marketing in our industry gets to be so different is because our service is limited to a specific footprint and our customers are buying flowers to fill a specific need.

This means we have to follow a smarter marketing plan. We need to drop all of our assumptions and 'supposed to' storylines and get in the minds of our customers. It's time to start thinking like your customer and approach Instagram marketing from a more strategic, informed point of view.

My 15 Instagram Tips for Florists

  1. Map Out Your Hashtags – this is THE secret to getting found and getting on your customer's radar when they need you. Avoid general and generic hashtags like #whitewedding or #floristsofinstagram and focus on the hashtags your clients are actually using in their search.
  2. Curate your feed – yes, having a pretty, fancy feed attracts prettier, fancier clients. Your customers use your feed as a placeholder for your ability to design. So, level up your feed, elevate your vibe and you'll see a higher quality level of customers coming your way.
  3. Use Stock Photos – Yep. Jump on Google and do a quick search for "Free flower photos" just to see what comes up. Or use Canva.com, my most favourite resource for this (yes, paying for the premium version is worth every penny!).
  4. Use a Mix of Graphics + Photos – a feed filled with a wall of flowers is overwhelming for your customers. It all just starts to look the same. Break it up and create a new rhythm that works for you. Those design principles you use in your floristry, put them to work in your Instagram feed too!
  5. Level Up Your Captions – the easiest answer to 'what should I write about?' is to simply answer the very last question a customer asked you. Yep. It can be that straightforward.
  6. Repeat Stuff. A Lot – Yes you can repeat photos and captions. Ain't no rule against that, is there?
  7. Make Your Bio Clear – confusion always leads to no sale. Very specifically, make sure your location and delivery area are clear in your bio. If your customers aren't clear on your location or where you operate, they're immediately going to move on to the next supplier.
  8. Post Consistently – and define 'consistently' in a way that works for you and your business. At a minimum, post at least once a week. (And no, you don't need to post more than once per day. Remember, we don't need to try to beat the algorithm. We're playing a smarter game.)
  9. Use Instagram Stories to Show You're 'Open for Business' – the beauty with Instagram is you can bring your customers into your studio or shop without them even having to set foot inside. It's magical. Use Stories to do this.
  10. Set Up Your Highlights – Highlights are where you can save your Stories. A lot of new clients and potential customers will flip through your Highlights to get a taste of what your business is up to. It's like a 'best of' summary that you can customise based on your customer's needs.
  11. Skip Reels – I know. I know. Tik Tok and Reels are all the rage these days. But you gots a lot on your plate. Give yourself permission to not have to do all the things. Remember, we don't care about engagement and you're not worried about exposure, yeah? (re-read Tip #1)
  12. Plan Ahead – I use Planoly to map out my feed and make it look pretty. There is a desktop and phone version so you can sit down for one hour and plan out a whole week's worth of content with much less fuss. It makes the whole "curate your feed" job way funner.
  13. Talk About Budgets + Process – I know it's boring and not as charming as a cute set of emojis or your favourite poem. But putting in the effort to proactively educate your customers and answer their 2 biggest, most burning questions builds trust. Trust grows sales. In the end, you breaking the secrecy and being the florist who talks about money will make you more money. Yeah!
  14. Link in Bio – Set up a new, stand-alone page on your website that includes 5-6 buttons and nothing much else. Those buttons will point to the next logical step in your client's purchase process. This makes it easy in your captions because you can simply say 'Visit the link in our bio @..... to [insert next step]". (Hot tip, repeat your IG handle in your post to make it super duper easy for your customers to go to your bio.)
  15. Set up Instagram Shopping – the easier you make it for your customers to order flowers, book in a workshop or plan out their a la carte wedding blooms, the more money you'll make. It's so fun!

Want more tips to help you conquer the Instagram game?

As a floral designer, it's easy to fall into the crowd and worry about getting followers or chasing engagement. It's a hard habit to break, trust me!

But the truth is, when it comes to getting found by your dream customers on Instagram, learning to play a smarter game is the key to success. For my business, we landed so many high-value customers by getting really smart with our hashtag and content strategy.

I love sharing the insights we learned in our flower business, particularly when it comes to Instagram, because it's so opposite to what I used to assume. No more chasing followers or worrying about engagement. It's time to get your hashtag strategy sorted!

And in a recent podcast, I'm walking you through the exact strategy I use, breaking it down for you, step by step.

Enjoy the Podcast?

Floral Design Recipe

How Much Do I Order From the Wholesalers? Learning How to Create a Floral Design Recipe

For the first three years of my flower business, I didn't know a floral design recipe was a thing.

I didn't know that my favourite florists all have formulas and create recipes for their work.

This wasn't something I heard another florist talk about and I definitely did not learn this concept in my formal qualifications.

I had even gone to a handful of fancy flower workshops and even there, no one talked about it.

Oi. I look back now and realise just how much frustration I could have saved myself if I had known a 'recipe' was a thing. It's my go-to system for figuring out how much to buy from the wholesalers.

In my opinion, a floral design recipe changes the game.

It's like going to the grocery store with a specific list of what to buy, rather than going in and thinking you'll just buy whatever looks good (hmmm...maybe that's how those Peanut MnMs keep ending up in my bag.)

What is a Floral Design Recipe Exactly?

In its simplest form, a floral design recipe is a list of ingredients and a set of instructions for making something.

Just like how you'd get a recipe to make nanna's chocolate chip cookies or dad's apple pie, we can do the same thing with flower arrangements.

In fact, you can create a recipe for anything and everything. Literally. Buttonholes, wrist corsages and flower crowns. $100 bouquets, $250 arrangements, and $500 gift baskets. Floral archways, ceremony features and bar decor.

HOT TIP: one of the best pieces of advice I received from my accountant was to actually start to outline a basic set of recipes for my team. This makes it so easy for someone else to come in and make a bouquet (to your design aesthetic and expectations). In the end, a basic set of floral design recipes ensures your staff and freelancers aren't just chucking together a buncha product, overstuffing the design and eating into your precious profitability.

How to Create A Floral Design Recipe

You can create a recipe off of something you've created in the past. But if you're anything like me and want to learn how to level up your design skills and love looking at other designers' work, here's what I do to create my recipes.

I actually learned this approach by thinking about what art students do, learning from the masters.

You know how when you go to a gallery or museum you might see a few art students there, sketching from the masters or practising a specific technique? Well, we can do exactly the same thing.

The best bit is, you don't even need to leave the comfort of your own home.

I first learned how to create a floral design recipe by looking at some of my most favourite designers. If you see a photo of something you want to create, all you need to do is work through a super simple three-step process:

  1. Identify the ingredients
  2. Count the stems
  3. Do the math

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the mechanics and tools needed to create the work, so don't forget to include that in your list of ingredients required.

This 3-step system is the exact approach I used to help level up my pricing and my design aesthetic. (Need a reminder about pricing? Use this florist pricing worksheet.)

Going through this approach made me see that when I quote $180 for a bridal bouquet, but dream of making $350 bouquets...I gotta change the prices I'm throwing around for my clients.

I encourage you to work through this three-step approach with lots of different design inspiration – whatever kind of work you want to be making, use this three-step approach to create a simple set of floral design recipes. (Also, here's a YouTube video I've put together that shows you how to create a floral design recipe from one of my designs.)

This process of deconstructing someone else's design makes it easy to map out your prices and effortlessly quote on a new installation or bar feature.

Using floral design recipes also gives you the reassurance you have the budget to buy the ingredients you want to work with. It makes answering that question, "How much should I buy from the wholesaler?" way easier to answer.

Yes, creating recipes can feel tedious, but it's always worth the effort.

How Much Do I Order From the Wholesalers?

Yes, I do suggest, for every design you're creating, create a quick recipe. (If you're using a reference photo, you'll want to adjust the ingredients to suit the season and colour palette.)

Once you've mapped out your ingredients and stem counts, you can then work through the full list of what to order for your wholesalers.

HOT TIP: double-check your bunch counts and stem counts to maximise your product usage. Ordering that extra bundle of roses for just one more stem eats into your profitability so fast.

The first few times you create your recipes it's going to take you a long time. And you're not going to get it perfect. That's OK.

One of the best habits I created for myself was to make notes after every event. I made notes around what I would do differently next time and give myself specific guidance on what to change if I was to do it all over again.

So, with your last wholesale order, if you over-bought on Queen Anne's Lace or Gerlton Wax, make a note of how many bunches you'd order next time.

If you wished you had one more bundle of Quicksand Roses for that ceremony feature, plan for it. Update your recipe and subsequently increase your next quotes to allow for it.

Every time you go through this process, you'll learn something and can build up a whole library of knowledge and expertise. In the end, it only takes a handful of 'lessons learned' and personal reflections to make a world of difference.

For me, I found using floral design recipes is one of the best shortcuts to help you stay on budget with your wholesaler orders while also being able to create work you love.

You'll see a dramatic improvement in your wholesale orders, efficiency in production and the quality of your designs.

Let's Go Deeper: Building Relationships with Your Wholesalers + Growers

Navigating the ins and outs of relationships with wholesalers and growers is obviously an important part of the business. The quality of the product we receive, the ins and outs of ordering and building quality relationships can literally make or break your floral designs.
And yes, it's a super intimidating part of the process. On a previous podcast episode, I did a deep into all things Relationships, Wholesalers + Growers, passing along some of my favourite tips + tricks to help you build better relationships, faster.

What you'll learn from this episode

✓ How to think about your relationships with growers + wholesalers
✓ Why these relationships are so important to your business
✓ Common mistakes most florists make when it comes to wholesaler relationships
✓ Five tips to help build better relationships

Listen to the full episode here

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Full episode transcript

How to Promote Floral Business on Instagram

How to Promote Floral Business on Instagram – 3 Time-Saving Tips for Florists

Wondering how to promote floral business on Instagram? I'm here to help.

I used to be so intimidated and overwhelmed by all things Instagram. I used to look at the famous florists and think 'Wow, their work looks so effortless. They show up and make it look so easy.'

Meanwhile, I was struggling with finding halfway decent photos, knowing what to write in the caption and constantly second-guessing what I needed to do.

I spent so much time stuck, so much time wondering how to promote floral business on Instagram.

But then I started to look at things differently. I shifted my frame of reference.

Very specifically, I stopped focusing on what I thought I was supposed to do in comparison to my florist idols. I stopped worrying about what my competition was doing, I stopped dwelling in my own insecurities and self-doubt.

Change Your Perspective

When it comes to how to promote floral business on Instagram it's super important to remember that we're using Instagram as a way to attract customers. At the end of the day, Instagram is simply another way to market your flower business.

And when it comes to marketing, job #1 is to focus on your customers. It's time to get your self-doubt, your uncertainty and your fears out of the way. Hit pause for a few minutes and put yourself in your customer's shoes.

When you shift your perspective, stop focusing on yourself and start obsessing over your customers, it brings so much clarity.

It gives you guidance on what really matters when it comes to how to promote floral business on Instagram. No longer do you need to have the sexiest captions or worry about having the world best photos.

Instead, you can pour your heart into helping your clients, being helpful and making it easy for your customers to find the answers they're looking for.

You can play a totally different game.

Step Away From The Crowd

If you've ever spent any time deconstructing how most florists show up on Instagram, you'll see feeds filled with flower photos, pithy captions filled with a handful of emojis and, mostly, a lot of self-centred, look-at-how-good-a-designer-I-am posts.

This is how I thought we were all supposed to show up on Instagram.

But I realised that approach wasn't helping me get clients. It wasn't helping me streamline my systems and it definitely wasn't helping me show up consistently on Instagram.

All in all, that approach was just too hard.

So I came up with a totally different path. I decided to step away from the crowd, break with tradition and make my own rules for posting to Instagram.

Turns out, Instagram can be easy. When you shift your perspective and step away from the crowd, you can use your creativity to develop a better process – one that is (1) helpful to your customers (2) saves you time and (3) is actually fun (seriously!).

3 Time-Saving Tips: How to Promote Floral Business on Instagram

It's time to follow a new path, my friends! It's time to learn a better way to approach Instagram.

Here are my three favourite time-saving tips to help:

  1. Batch Your Posts + Plan Ahead – set aside 60 minutes in your schedule to sit down and plan your posts. I use Planoly to schedule and map out my feed. Decide ahead of time how often you want to post to your feed and then get to work making it happen. And remember, consistency is more important than frequency. Start with 1-2 times a week and go from there. It's better to post 1-2 per week x 52 weeks a year rather than 100 days in a row and then give up for 36 weeks.
  2. Use Stock Photos and Graphic Headlines as Images – Canva.com is one of the greatest shortcuts available to us and makes it so much easier to create a pretty feed and cohesive vibe on your feed. And, instead of posting a wall of your designs, switch it up. Be intentional with curating your feed and creating a sophisticated, cohesive vibe using a mix of stock photos and graphic headlines. (You also schedule your content using Canva.com, so if having it all in one place is helpful, this might be worth checking out.)
  3. Answer Your Customer's Questions – this is one of my favourite time-saving shortcuts when it comes to Instagram. Instead of wondering what to write or filling up that valuable real estate with a pithy, charming caption, use your Instagram captions to educate and inform your clients. It can be as simple as taking the very last question a customer asked and writing out the question + answer in the caption. Literally. (Yes, it really can be that simple my friends!)

Instagram is an incredible marketing tool to attract new customers and better clients to your flower business.

But one of the most important things to remember is we flower business owners get to play a totally different game. We can create a new set of rules because we don't need to worry about engagement or followers or cracking the algorithm.

If you're ever stuck wondering how to promote floral business on Instagram, come back to these three time-saving tips. They really do work!

Oh, and, if you want more Instagram tips for florists, check out this recent post on how to use Instagram Reels in Your Flower Business.

How to Price Flowers for Valentine's Day

How to Price Flowers for Valentine's Day

Not sure how to price flowers for Valentine's Day? You're in the right place.

On our very first Valentine's Day, running our flower shop, all I had to go on was a list of last year's rose order from one of the regular wholesalers. I'm so grateful I at least had that much info, because it gave me a point of something to go on.

From there, I had to just figure it all out.

All. Of. It.

I had no idea what people liked to order or when they ordered or even how much they wanted to spend.

I felt so lost.

I mean I could sit here and paint y'all a picture of it all being sunshine and rainbows, but let's be honest. It was messy. Super duper scrappy, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, hopefully-never-to-be-repeated-again, sort of messy.

If I could wind back the clock, go back and have a little pep-talk with old me, I'd tell her to be intentional with how to price flowers for Valentine's Day.

In fact, here's exactly what I would do:

TIP 1: Price to the Equation

I was convinced there was no way I could charge that much. In Australia, our wholesale rose prices double around Valentine's Day. That really challenged me and all my limiting beliefs about money and pricing.

I was filled with so much doubt, so much hesitation when it came to raising my prices. I felt bad for charging those kinds of prices.

But then I started to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes. What happens at the growing side of things and what the rose farms needed to navigate and just how intense the pressure is for them.

At these peak trading periods, wholesalers and growers work around the clock, trying to tame Mother Nature and do everything in their power to deliver quality flowers on this one magical day of the year.

So much is out of their control and yet customers still demand they deliver. Of course, these days, navigating international logistics is at a whole new level of 'hard'.

Once I started to understand all the effort that went on behind the scenes, I really began to appreciate what this industry is being asked to do, how much pressure is on every single person all along the supply chain.

Me telling myself, "I couldn't charge that much", assuming my clients didn't want to pay a premium wasn't just hurting my business. It was hurting our staff. Our growers. The wholesalers. Every single person along the way.

It was also hurting our customers.

Once I started to realise it wasn't my job to judge whether or not I should price to the equation, I started to see how much more, what a better experience we could offer our clients.

Being able to offer best-in-class customer service, being able to hire another delivery person, and being able to navigate last-minute requests meant we were able to exceed our customer's expectations.

That was only possible after I finally sorted out my pricing.

It's time to let go of the judgement and the hesitation my friends.

It's time to decide the industry-standard approach to pricing works. It applies to florists of all shapes and sizes and is a proven model for making a profit.

In fact, it's one of the best gifts we've been given. It works. We don't need to spend hours upon hours doing all this fancy math.

And yes, it still applies on Valentine's Day too.

(If you need a refresher on pricing, check out this blog post: Florist Pricing Worksheets)

TIP 2: Your Customers Want to Spend Money

For me, one of the best lessons to learn about how to price bouquets for Valentine's Day was seeing how much humans love to spend money.

When I was younger, I always thought of Valentine's Day as a "Hallmark Holiday," something made up by a smart group of marketing people to make people buy more stuff (...actually, I still think that's true).

On a personal level, Valentine's Day isn't really my thing. Professionally though, if it makes customers happy, if it brings a smile to their face and gives them an ounce of joy, I'm here for it.

If it gets flowers in more customers' hands, sign me up! More humans need to experience the joy of flowers.

When it comes to spending money on Valentine's Day, I saw customer after customer after customer, hand over their cash, throw their credit cards at us and not ever hesitate when we would quote them $300 or $400.

Yes, there are new customers who are shocked at the prices but there's an equal number of customers who are excited to indulge, to spend over their budget and share their love.

If you struggle with confidence when it comes to pricing, decide to make Valentine's Day the time you challenge yourself, let go of your limiting beliefs around money and let go of the judgement you have on someone else's appetite or ability to pay a premium for beautiful blooms.

If your customers want to spend money, make it easy for them to spend money.

TIP 3: How to Price Flowers for Valentine's Day

When it comes to setting up your online catalogue and mapping out your offer for Valentine's Day, here is a basic framework to follow:

  1. Design 1: Bouquet of reds with a touch of pink or purple. Standard Size $147, Premium $195, Deluxe $254
  2. Design 2: Bouquet of pinks and burgundy tones. Standard Size $147, Premium $195, Deluxe $254
  3. Design 3: Vase arrangement of reds with a touch of pink or purple. Standard Size $187, Premium $243, Deluxe $316
  4. Design 4: Vase arrangement of pink and burgundy tones. Standard Size $187, Premium $243, Deluxe $316
  5. Design 5: Deluxe vase arrangement with small chocolates + bottle of prosecco $424

Now, if you're the type of designer who wants to use premium ingredients and has customers who spend more money, be ambitious with your pricing. Double what I've outlined above.

When it comes to how to price flowers for Valentine's Day, use this framework as your guide and go big.

One final note: yes wholesale prices are on the rise. It's not your job to carry the burden of supply chain issues. It's your job to level up your marketing and branding to align with the value you offer your clients.

Looking for more tips and free stuff? Be sure to check out our YouTube Channel. Click here to jump in.

How to Buy a Flower Business

How to Buy a Flower Business: 3 Things to Know.

So, you're thinking about buying a flower business. But you're not really sure how to buy a flower business or what the benefits of buying a flower business are? I've gotcha covered.

I want to share three things I wish I knew before we bought our flower shop.

What are you actually buying, when you buy a flower business?

Like for reals, what do you actually "get'? Well, most apparent, you get the supplies and materials from that business – things like the sink, a cool room, buckets, and all the flowering things (technically referred to as the assets of the business). Maybe there's a delivery van, some uniforms, a social media following, a phone number and a website.

The specifics vary from flower business to flower business but the shop fit-out and physical assets are just the beginning of what you're buying. So much of what you're actually buying isn't visible to the human eye.

The real value of a flower business sits in its systems, processes, and relationships. This is referred to as Goodwill. And it often has a juicy value associated with it, possibly something like $40,000, $80,000 or $200,000.

In essence, the whole point of Goodwill is that you should, no matter your level of expertise or experience, be able to open the door (literally or figuratively) and be able to turn over the same volume the previous owner turned over – all without the previous owner being there.

Goodwill moves with the business and isn't something that stays with the previous owner. So, if you buy a flower shop and the handover date is on a Friday. You, the new owner, should be able to generate the same revenue and profit as the previous owner in a similar trading window.

Yes, this whole Goodwill thing is pretty nebulous and it's super easy for people who are selling a business to pay lip service and say "Yeah, yeah yeah. It's all there."

This is where I want to step in and share three things I wish I had known before I jumped into buying a flower business.

I Wish I Had Known Better: How to Buy a Flower Business

When we bought the flower shop, I wish I had known way more about what to ask the previous owner.

In the end, we took on the shop with a handful of text messages and one email. Thank goodness for the handful of staff we inherited, who knew enough to keep us on track for the first while, while we figured out how the shiz this whole flowering + business situation was supposed to go.

When it comes to thinking about how to buy a flower business, here's three things I wish I had known before I jumped into the deep end.

#1 Documented Operations + Systems

The more systems and processes that have been documented, the better. And no, you don't want an old dot-matrix printer document. You want the most recent, up to date systems (including COVID operations plan).

The goal is for you to have access to a complete 'How To Guide' to running the business exactly as the previous owner ran things. Yes, you're going to make changes and improvements but this is your place to start and a safety net when things get hectic.

#2 Marketing + Sales Processes

At the end of the day, one of the most important things you're buying is the systems that come with consistent orders and enquiries. If these are based on a best guess or relationships with the seller, that's a giant red flag.

The biggest benefit to buying an existing flower business is that you don't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to marketing + sales. This includes social media plans, website guides, advertising programs and sales scripts.

If this isn't clearly mapped out, proceed with caution. (If you're looking for quick tips and more marketing ideas, be sure to follow me on Instagram @littlebirdbloom. I'm showing up every week, passing along super helpful tips and teaching florists how to build better businesses.)

#3 Wholesale + Customer Relationships.

One of the most unexpected wins from buying the flower business was the established relationships with wholesalers. This saved my bacon on more than one occasion and makes your job 8000 times easier.

At the end of the day, your flower business success is directly linked to your wholesaler relationships and having these squared away is invaluable. Better yet, have the previous owner do a formal introduction and handover to set you up for a seamless transition.

The same goes for high-value clients and regular customers. Prepare a script for you and the previous owner, align your stories and celebrate the transition so you can continue to build great relationships with these customers.

Enlist Help to Navigate the Process

I am so grateful I threw myself in the deep end and bought the shop...but I also know there are heaps of questions that come up through the process.

Do lots of research. You won't regret it. (Still, to this day, I jump online and look to see what shops are for sale. It's so fun to see what's listed and explore the possibilities.)

When it comes to all the ins and outs, the who, what where, why and how to buy a flower business, definitely enlist the help of a financial planner or accountant. You'll probably also need a lawyer to help you review the contracts and logistics.

And, be sure to know your financial risks and the ins and outs of your obligations.

Go in with eyes wide open and do your best to not get sucked into the pretty shop layouts, cool decor and fancy design stuff. At the end of the day, it's all the unsexy things that are going to help you build a profitable, thriving flower business.

Know too, particularly in today's world, you don't need a physical retail space to be successful.

More and more designers are building successful, hugely profitable flower businesses without a physical retail shop space. (PS – if you need help getting shiz sorted out online, check out this blog post: 4 Google Adwords Tips for Florists)

If owning a physical retail shop is your dream, go for it. If not, that's awesome too. You do you, boo.

Is owning a flower shop profitable?

Is Owning a Flower Shop Profitable?

So...you're wondering, Is owning a flower shop profitable?

The short answer: floristry is like every other business under the sun. It's really easy to NOT make money.

Just like in the food world, setting up a restaurant looks so glamorous and sexy. And then you realise you gotta do all the things, think about all the unsexy business things and learn how to get customers to come into your restaurant and pay you money.

The same goes for car dealerships. Coffee shops. Movie theatres. Fashion boutiques. Jewellery shops.

Like every other business on the planet, running a flower business requires a balance between creativity, design, and business know-how.

Of course, you probably know that already. That's why you're here, reading this sexy blog post, right? And you wanna get the inside scoop. You wanna learn how to go from Backyard Betty to Profitable Polly, yeah? Read on my friend!

Is owning a flower shop profitable?

Let's get to the heart of the matter. Is owning a flower shop profitable, Kathleen?

Yes.

And no.

(If you're wondering WTF kind of answer is that, let me explain...)

Running a flower business can be a highly profitable endeavour. Once you wrap your head around pricing, see the value in managing your costs, learn marketing, and conquer sales, you'll start to see a lot of money in your bank account.

But many florists I know have a dream of owning a beautiful flower shop and focus on the physical shop space as the heart of their operations. They rely on the shop space to drive marketing and sales for their flower business.

That's where things can go wrong.

I am like so many florists. I had the dream of running a beautiful flower business and thought that required having a physical shop space. That's why we bought the flower shop (quite literally because I wanted to be the one who owned the beautiful, super cute flower shop, which is what we transformed it into).

But a few years into running the shop, I realised the shop itself isn't what made our business profitable.

Fun fact: rent in our area is super-duper-duper expensive (like more expensive than in many big cities...no joke.)

Consumer behaviour has shifted so much in just a few years that I started to believe our shop was actually a community service, a not-for-profit endeavour. A gift to the all old ladies of our small town.

In fact, over five years pre-COVID, our walk-in traffic saw a steady decline, whereas online ordering steadily increased.

The real reason our flower business was so profitable is that we really understood how customers operate.

While other florists were fussing over window displays and focused on merchandising, we took a different path. We made the investment to set up a website and focused on online marketing.

That's why, when you ask me, "Is owning a flower shop profitable?", my answer is yes and no. It all comes down to context and understanding what question you're asking.

Is running a flower business profitable? Heck yes.

Is managing a flower shop and physical retail space a recipe for success? Nope.

Is owning a flower shop profitable? Yes. And no.

Don't get me wrong, our business was super profitable. But the shop itself became much more of an operational consideration rather than a driver of marketing and new orders.

It's why I will tell you, a retail space and shop front is much more about operations and logistics than it is about marketing, sales and making money.

Changing Consumer Behaviour

In today's world, more customers are ordering flowers online than ever before. Moreover, more customers are intentionally choosing to buy flowers online rather than visit a traditional brick and mortar space (check out this article from medium.com).

The past 24-months have seen an even more dramatic shift in consumer behaviour, with more customers buying flowers online than ever before.

So, if you decide to invest in a shop space, having a strong online presence and a profitable website is ridiculously important. I dare say mandatory. Because that's where your volume is going to come from to help you sustain the costs of the shop space.

Know Your Numbers

At the end of the day, you get to make the decisions that are best for you and your flower business. Go in with eyes wide open and get comfortable crunching some numbers.

Most important, map out a revenue plan and do your homework. Put some thought into your marketing priorities and figure out how many orders you need to consistently bring in to balance the cost of the rent.

And don't forget to account for staffing and other operational costs.

Many commercial leases will have mandatory trading hours. That means someone will need to be in the shop, ready to serve customers at whatever hours are set out in your lease. Insurance, electricity, internet, and water might also all be above and beyond the rental space.

Do your homework. Know your numbers and make a plan. A few hours of number crunching and talking to an accountant can save you weeks or months of heartache and frustration.

Oh, and, if you're trying to navigate the ins and outs of setting up your flower business website? Check out this blog post: Florist Website Mistakes – How to avoid the Big 5

Setting a sales target in your flower business

Setting Sales Targets in Your Flower Business

As 2021 comes to a close, I know so many of us are turning to 2022. Setting goals. Making resolutions. Dreaming of creating bigger, better flower businesses.

Setting sales targets in your flower business is part of this – and I know many of you are gonna roll your eyes and tell me numbers aren't your thing.

And here's the thing, most financial planners, biz wiz people are gonna overcomplicate this and make business planning an epically overwhelming and hard exercise...which is awesome for them because it validates their existence...but not so awesome for you, right?

You're after business tips that are easy? Super simple? Straightforward? No fluff?

You're in the right place, my friend!

When it comes to setting sales targets in your flower business, I like to follow a super simple approach.

(Heads up: I am not a financial advisor, accountant or lawyer. Go out there and seek personalised custom advice...but also know this formula is HELPFUL to get you started!)

 

Keeping Things Simple

Most floral designers go about building their business backwards – we say yes to whatever comes our way in the hopes that (a) "one day" we'll be able to create the work we want to create and (b) everything will just magically fall into line and we'll start making more money.

That's how I used to approach my business.

Until I realised that approach is a little bit like wanting to go on a holiday but then booking a hotel for Melbourne in May, hiring a car in Sweden in September and paying for discounted airfare to New York in November.

For most of us, when we plan a trip, the first question we ask is: where are we going? That's precisely the same question you need to ask in your business.

Setting a sales target in your flower business is like identifying a North Star. It brings everything into focus and requires you to set your sights higher, level up and take massive action.

This one exercise is when you finally start to see that a handful of $60 bouquets isn't going to cut it. Or those $500 wedding enquiries aren't enough.

If you don't know where you're going, any path will get you there.
– Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Setting a sales target in your flower business shows you how small you've been thinking and shows you where you're allowing fear to hold you back.

And my super simple approach to setting a sales target shows you just how big you get to dream, brings up all the fear and doubt and requires you to embrace the discomfort of growth (which is the real secret to creating your dream flower business).

 

 

How To: Setting Sales Targets in Your Flower Business

Are you ready? It's time to grab that calculator my friend.

Take your personal income goal (i.e. how much you, as a human, want to bring home to live your life) and multiply that number by 5.

personal income x 5 = annual revenue target

Now, it's not a perfect solution but it does give you guidance on how big you need to be thinking.

For most of us (myself included), we tend to think way too small. But to create a profitable flower business and make more money, one of the biggest lessons to learn is to set your sights higher.

Quite literally.

And, this one little bit of math does just that – when I do this with my students, it usually brings up those waves of nausea, fear, hesitation, uncertainty (um, yeah...you know all the negative emotions that we want to avoid?).

But that is part of the magic of this formula. It shows you just how small you've been thinking.

 

Your Actions Need to Match Your Ambitions

Building a profitable business, setting sales targets in your flower business, requires you to step up. To embrace the discomfort and push yourself out of your comfort zone.

But, because you're human, that is going to bring up all sorts of emotions. For most of us, we use that negative emotion as a reason to stop.

  • You feel afraid, so you stop taking action
  • You don't feel confident, so you talk yourself out of putting yourself out there
  • You feel a tiny, itty bitty sense of resistance and you immediately assume something has gone wrong. You should stop.

What I wished someone had told me years ago is that this experience, that negative emotion, is normal. Particularly when you own a business.

It is part of the human experience. Nothing has gone wrong. You are not broken.

You are a human being with a human brain. And your human brain is programmed to keep you safe. It wants you to stay in the cave, which often means keep playing small, staying small and not putting ourselves in harm's way. Ever.

Except, the experience of business, the day to day reality of building a business requires you to do the opposite.

Creating bigger, better results in your business requires you to take bigger, better action. And that means embracing the discomfort of trying new things.

That's why I love this super simple approach to setting sales targets in your flower business – it brings up all the fear, doubt, and uncertainty.

Your job is to then work through, overcome, the fear, doubt and uncertainty and take action despite feeling afraid.

And yes, setting sales targets in your flower business is as easy as 1-2-3:

Step 1: identify your personal income goal
Step 2: multiply it by 5 to get your business' annual revenue goal
Step 3: level up your mindset to make it happen, so your actions match your ambitions

 

Making it Work

This one exercise, identifying a sales target, has helped so many of my Flower Boss Bootcamp graduates fast track their progress. It's such a simple bit of math but creates massive results.

It makes your goal concrete, measurable and gives you guidance on how big to dream. It's so awesome the immediate mindset shifts that can be created from this one little bit of math!

It's why we've created this super simple calculator – play around with the numbers and experiment with different goals. Then you can get to work baby!

Florist Wedding Contract Terms and Conditions

Florist Wedding Contract Terms and Conditions

It used to scare me to talk through our wedding terms and conditions with our clients. I thought our clients would see right through me and call me out for not having a clue about what I was talking about.

I was afraid of getting called out. Of being told we were doing it wrong.

Cause the truth is, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t have a clue why wedding terms and conditions mattered or how to structure a florist wedding contract template.

That is until I had my first client cancel their event. This was back in 2018. On an otherwise-uneventful Thursday afternoon in September. We received the heartbreaking update that the couple were not going through with the wedding. The event was being called off.

I still think back to the day, talking to the bride’s mother. She called just to let us know Stephanie and Tom had decided to call off the wedding.

She was in tears. The bride's mother could barely get words out. It was had to console her. I didn’t quite know what to tell her so I said, “I’ll send you an email so you have the formal confirmation from us.”

Of course, I was heartbroken. Yes, my heart goes out to the couple, to the family navigating this experience. I don’t want any human to have to navigate this experience.

But I also know, as a business owner, I have an obligation to do right by my business. That’s part of what we are required to do when we start a business.

Being a Human vs Being a Business Owner

It’s the ultimate tug of war: the experience of being a caring human and the experience of being a flower boss. Sometimes, the two things don’t perfectly align.

As a human, I was heartbroken. As a flower boss, I knew I had to say the uncomfortable thing.

Emotionally, I find these situations very challenging. I care a lot about my business and I care a lot about our clients. I don’t want to go through these experiences. It has to be sunshine, rainbows and lollipops for me. All. The. Time.

Here’s the most amazing thing about being a business owner: you are the authority. The biggest downside of being a business owner? You are the authority.

As a flower boss, we have to make hard calls, unpopular decisions and do the best thing for our business. Many times, that might mean saying the unpopular, uncomfortable thing.

In this case, I was heartbroken for our clients. And I advised the family in writing, the 25% payment made is non-refundable (as per the wedding contract terms and conditions they signed).

It’s not about having to decide between one thing or the other. We can feel sad AND stand our ground.

And, in my experience, this is where the real value of florist wedding contract terms and conditions come into play. 

Mapping out a formal set of booking terms and conditions for your clients requires you, as the flower boss, to think ahead, to decide now what you’re going to do if the wedding gets called off, postponed or rescheduled.

Do that in the cool calm light of day and then when shit hits the fan, you already have a plan to follow. And then, all you need to do is follow the plan.

Florist Wedding Contract Terms and Conditions - The Basics

Why create florist wedding contracts? There are three main reasons to have clear wedding terms and conditions in place:

  1. To get clear on what your plan is when things don’t go to plan
  2. It helps protect your business
  3. It also protects your clients 

Yep. You read that right: your florist terms and conditions are of value to your business and to your clients. 

Technically the word “contract” comes from the Latin contractus, meaning ‘drawn together’. As in, ‘two things tied together’.

Your florist wedding contracts aren’t created as a defence mechanism. 

Booking terms and conditions aren’t something we need to use to intimidate or bully our clients. It’s not about threatening a lawsuit and being aggressive.

In fact, in my experience, I found the exact opposite to be true: walking our clients through our booking terms and conditions is an amazing opportunity to demonstrate our professionalism and care.  To educate our clients and show them how methodical we are in our approach.

It shows your clients you’re looking out for their interests and demonstrates that your business has a plan in place should things not go to plan. 

As a result, your clients walk away feeling reassured, cared for and know they can trust you.

An added bonus, when you take the time to walk your clients through your wedding florist booking terms and conditions, the trust factor increases. Better yet, this increased trust leads to more creative freedom on the day.

This is the most surprising outcome of having a set of terms and conditions: when you take the time to talk your clients through your wedding terms and conditions, they trust you. That increased trust leads to more creative freedom. What an amazing outcome for all involved!

Florist Wedding Contract Template - Start Here

I know exactly how overwhelming and intimidating the world of booking terms and conditions can feel. 

We’re here to help. We’ve created a set of booking terms and conditions for you to follow. For FREE. 

Yep. Our wedding florist contract template is inside our Big Ass Folder of Free Shiz #ForFlorists. 

👉  CLICK HERE TO GRAB YOUR FREE FLORIST WEDDING CONTRACT TEMPLATE

Use these florist wedding contract terms and conditions as your foundation. Be sure to engage a contract lawyer who knows the laws in your state. 

Hire a professional contract lawyer to help you formalise your agreement and account for the laws in your area. They will help you navigate the ins and outs of the details. 

I know the idea of talking to a contract lawyer feels scary. But I promise it’s nowhere near as intimidating an experience as you think. And it’s nowhere near as expensive as you’re imagining (particularly if you start off with this free template – click here to grab it).

Focus On The Future

If you don’t have a formal set of terms and conditions in place, you’re not alone. Don’t waste a minute beating yourself up or wishing you could turn back the clock.

As Maya Angelou once said, “When you know better, you do better.” This is precisely how I think about wedding florist contracts.

All that matters is that you know you can adjust your approach today. Stop stressing about what you did (or didn’t do) yesterday and get to work on making things better.

Today is a great day to get yourself sorted. 

Jump in and grab our free wedding event booking terms and conditions (click here) and get to work on implementing them in your business.

Your future self will be so grateful that you did the uncomfortable, boring thing today.

Do you struggle to show up with confidence in your flower business? Check out my Flower Boss Bootcamp – it’s the only program available to floral designers focused entirely on the business of flowers. Click here to learn more.

Want More Help?

Want more guidance when it comes to florist terms and conditions? I recorded a podcast episode all about it – jump in and listen to it today.

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