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?
(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