I put out a call last week to my #ForFlorist community asking for all your questions on how to manage Valentine's Day. I received a TON of great questions and have bundled them up into this Valentine's Day Q&A.
But let me start with this observation: some designers look down on VDAY because they see it as creatively inferior to the work they want to be doing. However, I'll provide you with a different perspective — as a business owner, design isn’t the only space where you get to be creative.
It's a skill you get to exercise across your entire business, including sales, marketing, operations, product management, staffing etc. In fact, some of my best problem-solving came during VDAY and the skills I learned served me well on every other day of the year too.
Valentine's Day Q&A
Q: Do people even celebrate Valentine’s Day?
A: It's estimated Americans spent $25 billion on VDAY in 2020. So, yes, it's a thing. In our business, sales during VDAY week would be at least double that of an average week.
Q: How many bouquet / arrangement styles should I offer? How many roses / filler do you put in each?
A: I suggest offering 5 - 6 separate "products":
- 2 bouquets, 2 arrangements, each with 3 price points (ensure at least a 30% price difference between the sizes)
- 1 bouquet mostly red, 1 bouquet red + pink / blush. Same for your two arrangements
- Bouquets: start at $150 up to $250 (Australian $ for reference)
- Vases: start at $185 up to $325
- Include a price anchor product as well — that is, one very high, aggressively priced product that puts all other prices into context e.g. one $500 bouquet.
- Add one or two potted plant and/or bundle offers. For instance, an orchid + bubbly to round out your catalogue offering.
Q: How do I take pre-orders knowing my supplier will substitute half of the things I order?
A: Your #1 job is to educate and manage your customer’s expectations. It’s not your job to work miracles based on a false reality.
So, if the current relationship you have with your wholesaler says it's OK to swap out half the order, then that's your reality and you need to manage expectations accordingly. Your designs should be based on that reality and you should sell them to customers based on that reality (consider, for instance, guaranteeing colour palette but always in a florist choice design...)
You can’t sell something you don’t have access to – communicating this to your customers is vital. Educate and open their minds about how things work. Take charge.
Q: Any advice for managing VDAY on a Sunday?
A: This was the case for the very first VDAY we did. That year, our sales were 20% below the average of the years following.
Now, that could have been the result of us not knowing what we were doing as well as it falling on a Sunday — hard to say. That said, it is very likely that Saturday 13 February will be busier than when VDAY falls on a weekday.
Q: When I should get my wholesale flowers in?
A: Managing wholesale product during VDAY week can be an epic undertaking. In my case, we were planning for about double the normal sales volume of a typical week so it was important to have a plan that allowed us to process product in a manageable way.
So, if I were planning for VDAY 2021, I would divide my wholesale product into 3 phases:
- Foliages + any long-lasting blooms on Monday
- Half the rose order on Wednesday
- Half the rose order on Friday
- Store everything in a dark, cool place (cool room, put on the AC etc.)
Q: I have to place a big pre-order through my supplier. How not to freak out and over-order?
A: This is a good question for this Valentine's Day Q&A. Your first and most important task is to set a revenue goal. Pre-order to that goal and get to work on selling out. It’s not about chasing after more and more and more. It’s about setting a goal that's meaningful to you and taking action to make that goal happen.
Q: I will be closed on Sunday. What do I do about it?
A: If you want to close, you close. You navigate it like any other Sunday when you’re closed. It will likely mean you’ll miss out on sales because most Valentine’s Day customers want their flowers on 14 February, no exceptions.
In my experience, VDAY doesn’t have the same halo effect as Mother’s Day which takes place over almost an entire week. For VDAY you have the 13th & 14th, that's it.
But that's the beauty of being The Boss — you get to decide how you want to run your business which may include not chasing VDAY business if you don't want to.
Q: What's more popular, cut bouquets or vase arrangements?
A: Our sales from 2019 were: ⅔ bouquets and ⅓ arrangements (including some potted plants). Keep in mind our demographic was a bit older and leaned more traditional in its taste.
Q: What's the most I can charge for VDAY bouquets?
A: It's likely more than you think. The exact price points you go with will depend on your brand and how luxe and fancy your finished product is. However, if you’re a rose + orchid kinda designer catering to an up-market clientele, it’s going to be close to $800 - $900. Even if you’re not, there's every chance you'll come across a customer who'll be happy to spend $400 - $500. The only way to know is to test it out and see what works.
Q: I'm a first-time florist — do I take orders ahead of time? How soon is too soon to take orders? What’s the best way to start advertising for VDAY now?
A: It's never too early to take an order if someone contacts you. However, VDAY is definitively a last-minute event for many, many customers so know that much of your sales volume is going to come in 12/13/14 February. That said, marketing + promotion is critical to get yourself in front of customers so you need to create a plan:
- Set a sales goal now
- Come up with 25 marketing/promotion/sales ideas to make that goal happen
- Start workin’ the plan RELENTLESSLY. Don't look up until you've put all 25 ideas into action.
- Lean into the discomfort — perseverance is uncomfortable. Embrace it.
Q: What would be your #1 piece of advice?
A: It's this — set a sales target. Plan to it, buy to it and make it your #1 mission to make it happen. Selling out of product is a very good thing.
Valentine's Day Q&A Wrap-up
To wrap-up this Valentine's Day Q&A, know this: there is no one right way to do anything in our industry. There are lots of different ways to be successful and only you get to decide what’s right for your business. And, the only way to figure out what's right for your business is to try things out.
I know that in my own business, we came up with so many amazing ideas because we kept trying things. Sometimes they didn’t work but that ‘not working’ ultimately led us to try something that did work.
So, you can stop believing that there is only one 'right' way to do anything. Because there isn't.
More help with your flower business
And finally, learning about business and marketing doesn't mean you need a university degree or fancy-pants corporate experience. I do have these things and am happy to share everything you need to know.
If you want to learn more about my Flower Boss Bootcamp and see if it's right for you, sign-up for a free 20 minute Mini-Session with me.
P.S. I've done a podcast on this topic which you may like. Find it on Spotify here or listen on the player below.