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 sell floral subscriptions in 2022

Wondering how to sell floral subscriptions in 2022? You're in the right place!

Floral subscriptions are definitely rising in popularity. Florists are recognising that having a set, recurring income is awesome. Customers are recognising that having flowers in their workspace or on the kitchen island is awesome.

It's the definition of win-win, right?

And from the outside, selling floral subscriptions feels like it should be simple. It's like "Who wouldn't want to have flowers delivered to their house regularly?"

It's easy learning how to sell floral subscriptions in 2022 should be super basic, right?

After you've gone through all the effort of getting the subscription tech sorted on your website, you step out into the big bad world and tell a few people about it.

Maybe you mention it to a few friends or family members. And then you sit back and wait for the orders to come rolling in...

...But all you hear are crickets. Nada. Nothing.

Maybe you've had a handful of customers pop on from now and then, but it's not the rush of revenue you thought it would be.

You're left feeling frustrated, wondering how everyone else makes it look so easy but you're left wondering what you're missing, wondering "WTF am I missing?"

Maybe you've even Google "How to sell floral subscriptions in 2022?" (Well hello there. Nice to see you too!)

Let's get into it!

I'm here to share a few helpful tips to make it easier for you to sell floral subscriptions this year!

Back to Basics: What is a Floral Subscription?

(I know it might seem obvious, but just in case the whole concept is new to you.)

Just like the name states, a floral subscription is a regular, recurring flower delivery you make to a customer. It might be a corporate client who received flowers for a reception table every week. Or it might be for a family of four to put on their kitchen table every week.

Typically, the frequency of the delivery is weekly, fortnightly or once per month. But there are no real set rules around timing.

Some florists require their clients to sign a contract, locking them into a specific window of time. Others allow their clients to navigate subscriptions on a self-serve basis, meaning they can go into their account and pause their order, update their details and change their information. (It's kinda like if you signed up for a CSA or weekly veggie delivery. The customer sets up their account info and then has total control over the details and delivery.)

What's the Most Common Mistake Florists Make in Offering Subscriptions?

One of the most common mistakes I see florists making when it comes to how to sell floral subscriptions in 2022, is offering up too many choices and too many options for their customers.

Most of us would assume that giving our customers choices, leaving the possibilities open, will lead to increased revenue.

But it doesn't.

Instead, it leads your customers to overwhelm and decision fatigue. And that always leads to no sale.

I know it sounds counter-intuitive but in actual fact, one of the most helpful things you can do for your customers is narrow down the choices. Yes. Scarcity leads to easier decision making, leads to more sales, leads to increased revenue.

So, if you're wondering where to start in terms of how to sell floral subscriptions in 2022, start with a very simple offering of two choices, each in just three sizes. One in a neutral palette, one in a more colourful palette. And make sure the size variation price points increase by at 30% between sizes.

For example, you might have your smallest size start at $135, your medium is listed at $175.50 and your large is listed at $228.15 (and yes, you can set your prices even higher than this).

My #1 Tip For How to Sell Floral Subscriptions in 2022

I used to think I needed to ask the client to supply the vase or that I needed to offer enough options to cater to a wide array of containers.

Turns out, it can be a lot simpler than that.

Turns out, one of the best sales tactics you can implement for floral subscriptions is to design with a specific vase in mind – a vase you pick. A vase that aligns with your vibe and your brand.

Every florist I've met has heaps of stories of showing up at a client's house, thinking we knew what container everything was going in...only to find out that container is actually four times bigger than the sizes they provided.

So, set yourself a little shopping mission. Go exploring and look around at different container options and find one that feels right for your floral designs.

Offer it up as a 'free' incentive for a new customer to start their subscription and then you'll know, with every week's bouquet you're making, it's going to look awesome because it's going in exactly that container.

Yes, it makes your job 100x easier. But just as important, it makes the flowers look great.

That adds to your customer's satisfaction and, because of that, they're more likely to tell their friends or share a photo on social media.

That, in turn, increases your exposure. More people find out about your offer. And, just by having offered a super simple solution for your customers, all of sudden you're experiencing the power of word of mouth marketing. SHAZAAM, more orders come in the door! So good, ain't it?

Let's Go Deeper: Selling Floral Subscriptions Like a Boss

Want more inspo to help you learn how to sell floral subscriptions in 2022? I've gotcha covered!

On this week's podcast, I'm diving deep into all things floral subscriptions. I'm passing along three tips to help you get better results when it comes to selling floral subscriptions in your business and we talk strategy.

Whether you're brand new to the idea of subscriptions or you've been selling floral subscriptions for a long time, this podcast episode will give you lots of juicy tips and tricks so you can sell floral subscriptions like a Boss.

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

The right marketing strategy to follow for selling floral subscriptions so you can get results faster

Sales tips to help you grow your revenue

My #1 approach to making it work so you make faster progress

Simple, step by step guidance on levelling up your floral subscription business today

Listen to the full episode here

Full Episode Transcript

 

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How to Improve My Florist Business – My #1 Sales Strategy

One of the things I wish someone had told me early on in my floral design + creative entrepreneurship journey is that when it comes to marketing + sales, one of the best things you can do is decide ahead of time what you’re selling.

When you’re first starting out, it’s tempting to think you need to offer up lots of choices and lots of options – that you need to cater to customers across all sorts of styles and aesthetics.

That sounds OK in practice but in reality, it leads to a lot of confusion and total overwhelm – for us and our customers.

This is exactly how we ran our flower business for years. And it was hard work – hard on the customers, hard on our business and hard on me, as a designer. It took me a long time (and a lot of money) to learn there is a better, easier way, a strategy we can follow that helps our customers and helps us.

It’s Time To Step Up and Take Charge: How to Improve My Florist Business

One of the biggest mistakes we designers make is not getting clear on exactly what they’re selling, handing over all your power and authority to your customer.

It’s kinda like if you decided to start a restaurant but, instead of deciding on a menu or cuisine, you just brought lots of different kinds of food and then waited for your customers to approach you and tell you what to make.

Could you imagine walking into your favourite cafe and, instead of the server handing you a menu, he looked at you and asked, “What would you like?” (leaving it entirely open-ended and expecting you, the hungry customer, to have come preferred with a recipe or cookbook).

This is exactly how we're taught to run our flower business. We are trained to have our customers tell us what to create, give us a reference picture and we're expected to know all the techniques and mechanics to be able to just make it.

When we do that, we're setting ourselves (and our customers) up for so much frustration. This approach requires your clients to have the same level of experience, expertise and flower knowledge we do, putting a huge amount of pressure on them.

And, for you as the designer, it leads to creative burnout and often requires you to spend hours and heaps of $$$ learning all sorts of different mechanics and styles. Plus, most of the time you don't even like the work going out the door (that was me!).

Over the past few years, I've heard similar stories from florists around the world, having been advised they need to cater to lots of different tastes and styles in order to grow their business. Philosophically, it makes sense. Practically, from a marketing + sales perspective, it’s an absolute nightmare.

The Paradox of Choice

Have you ever had that experience, where you’re trying to sort through making a decision and just feel overwhelmed by the options available to you? Maybe at the wine shop, looking at the 100s of options available. Or possibly in the chocolate bar section at the convenience store? (That was totally me as a kid!)

In the world of sales, there is a common anecdote that goes: “ A confused mind always says no.” As in, too much choice leads to overwhelm and confusion leads to the customer walking away.

One of the best sales studies I’ve learned about is called The Jam Study. Two psychologists set up an experiment, testing out their hypothesis on selling jars of jam. They wanted to see how sales were impacted by the number of options available to customers.

In one scenario, they set up the experiment with 24 different choices. In the second scenario, they limited it to 6.

Common sense might lead us to believe more choice is better, right? Turns out, the exact opposite is true.

When it comes to learning how to improve my florist business, there is such a thing as too much choice. In the case of the Jam Study, the psychologists found that sales increased when there were 6 products on offer (as compared to 24 options).

We floral designers can learn SO much from this one study. Our customers need us and want us to narrow down the choices and simplify our offer.

A Real-World Example: Apple iPhone

I often think about what a disaster it would be if we, as customers, had to walk into the Apple Store and were presented with shelves of wires, plastic screens, microchips and lenses as opposed to working phones and computers. As if the staff at Apple expect us, the totally tech ignorant customer, to come along and be able to tell the engineers what we wanted to made.

For me, I'd be in a spiral of confusion and overwhelm so quick I'd run screaming out the door. Me, the non-engineer type, has no idea what’s even possible when it comes to this sort of tech. I don't even know where to begin.

Apple has, in fact, does us a massive favour by limiting the number of decisions we iPhone customers need to think through. As of this moment in time, we can decide between basic things like (1) memory (2) colour (3) size (4) version. The rest, the amazing team at Apple have done for us.

We, floral designers, get to do the same thing in our flower business. You and I both know there are an infinite number of solutions when it comes to flowers. And, instead of relying on your customer to tell you what to create, it’s time to take charge and refine your offer.

Step #1 is to decide ahead of time what you think looks good, what ingredients you want to use and what formats you want to offer.

Simplification is the Secret to More Sales

One of the places I really saw this strategy work was when it came to table arrangements. A client would send us one of those generic emails that reads, “I’m having lunch for nanna’s 80th birthday next Thursday. And I’d like something for the table.”

Early on, we’d go back and forth with the customer for days, giving them heaps of options and overwhelming them with decisions and details.

In the end, when I saw how much time my staff was spending on all this back-and-forth, I realised I needed to find a better way. I’d have one of my best designers trying to sort through this for hours – in some cases, navigating the enquiry would take far longer than actually making the arrangements. I had had enough.

We sat down and decided OK, what do we want our go-to table arrangements to look like. We came up with a very simple framework.

  • Mini arrangement $85
  • Standard size $195
  • Premium $350

Rather than using a reference picture as a literal ‘please make me one of these chef’ directives, we started to use the reference pictures as a guide for colour palette, textures and overall vibe. We used it as a tool for communication, rather than a literal set of instructions on what to make.

It finally occurred to me that our clients were sending us reference pictures because (1) they thought they had to and (2) they didn’t know the words to describe what they liked.

PRO TIP: Looking for guidance on pricing your floral arrangements? Jump over here and grab my FREE pricing worksheets.

In the end, this new, simpler sales strategy changed the game for us. It cut down on 90% of the back and forth and streamlined our approach dramatically. Our clients loved how simple we made things and that helped us close more sales with less effort.  Better yet, it ensured that every design that went out the door met our standards. Win-win!

How to Effortlessly Sell Your Dream Designs

When you're looking for ideas on how to improve my florist business, keep this sales strategy in mind: stepping up and taking charge is the best way forward.

On a very practical note, remember that this sales strategy works for many different areas of your business. In fact, it applies to anything – ceremony features, funeral work, corporate arrangements, subscriptions.

If you're tired of saying yes to whatever is coming your way and feel totally embarrassed by the work you're being asked to create, you're not alone. That was me. 100%. Over the years, I've learned to flip the entire process on its head. There is an easier way!

It's time to put yourself back in the driver's seat and take control.

And that's precisely what I'm teaching in this week's podcast episode, passing along my exact approach to effortlessly sell your dream designs and giving you my best advice on how to improve my florist business.

What you'll learn from this week's podcast episode:

Why we're all taught the exact wrong approach to get orders and navigating event clients

My super simple solution to quoting designs you love and how to make it easier to close more clients

How to put yourself back in the driver's seat of your business and start making work you love

Streamline your wholesale ordering process and stop all the second-guessing

Listen to the full episode here

 

Full Episode Transcript

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Online Flower Business Tips – 5 Steps to Success

Looking for online flower business tips? You're in the right place. If we've learned anything from 2020 + 2021, it's that if you want to have a successful flower business, being online is a must.

No longer is having a cute little brick and mortar shop the secret to success. In order to get customers and grow your flower business, we gotta level up our online marketing skills.

Even though we had a physical flower shop, we conquered the online game early on in our business. It's one of the reasons our business was so profitable.

So, I thought it might be useful for y'all if I put together five lessons, five online flower business tips to help you cut through all the confusion and see what matters most when it comes to growing your business.

Know this: the whole world of online flower business tips can be overwhelming.

There is a lot to learn. The learning curse is steep.

Setting up a successful online flower business requires a lot of Googling, trying stuff, stepping outside your comfort zone and embracing technology. But it's worth it. I promise!

The Most Important of All Online Flower Business Tips: The Same Pricing Models Apply

One of the biggest mistakes to avoid is not pricing correctly. It's really tempting to think all your customers want is cheap flowers and low-priced options but they really don't. (After all, that's what we as consumers are bombarded with every day, right?)

Now, just because you're not forking out for high street rents doesn't mean you don't need to follow the same pricing model.

I'll encourage you to keep things super simple and just decide that you too can follow the same pricing model as those who have a fancy shop.

As a business owner, you've got enough to think about and enough new things to learn that keeping pricing simple is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Once you accept that pricing can be simple, then you can shift your energy to learning all the other things – the things that will help you get customers and grow your business. Things like, figuring how to set up a new website, sorting through your online catalogue and conquering SEO is complicated enough.

You don't need to compound that by second-guessing your approach to pricing.

The fact of the matter is, even if you did have a physical retail shop, in order to get the volume you need to run a profitable flower business, the majority of your customers are going to be ordering from out of town anyway.

So they aren't even going to set foot in your shop anyway. You working from your garage makes no difference to them.

Just decide today, right now, that the industry-standard approach to pricing applies to you too.

Tip #2: Your Website is Your Most Valuable Asset

This is true whether you have a shop or not. In today's world, more customers are shopping for florists online, which means your website is your single most important asset to your business.

Having a full functioning online ordering system is a must. Having a mobile-friendly, responsive website is also mandatory. Being able to go in and update your prices, adjust the content, announce closures and sort through your images is also important.

When it comes to learning online flower business tips, a Facebook page or Instagram profile is not the same as a fully functioning website. Yes, they can be helpful (see Tip 5 below) but in today's digital age, you gotta get your business online and fully transactional.

The truth is, humans are lazy. Your customers are lazy. They want to be able to place their order in as little as three clicks. If they need to send in a form or place an enquiry and wait for you to respond, they're just gonna pass and move on to your competition.

Tip #3: Set Your Sights Higher

When it comes to getting your website sorted, it's the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and set your sights higher.

The first impression you make with your customer matters. A lot. How user-friendly your website is, how easy it is to navigate (on desktop, mobile and tablet), the overall vibe and level of professionalism all contribute to gaining trust with your next customer.

That trust is what instils your customers to finally buy, to put in their credit card info or send through that enquiry form. If your website isn't top-notch if it doesn't feel professional and high quality, you're going to miss out on a lot of money.

Now, that's not to say you need to spend 10s, or 100s of thousands of dollars on it. But having beautiful photos, easy-to-read typefaces and a great layout matters.

Better yet, set up your website for the business you want to have in the future. Don't limit yourself to what your business looks like today.

Tip #4: Win the Google Game

I know it's easy to get swept up in the Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, Pinterest world. But when it comes to getting customers, attracting clients and getting found online, Google matters.

Set up your Google My Business listing, sort through the details of SEO and, if you're doing daily flower deliveries, get yourself set up on Google Ads.(Be sure to check out this recent blog post to learn a few insider secrets for Google Ads.)

It's not enough to have a website, but getting found, being accessible and getting on your customer's radar is just as important. Google makes that possible.

Tip #5: Use Social Media to Bring Your Customers Behind the Scenes

Love or hate it, social media is here to stay. And if you run a business, having a social media presence is a standard of entry.

Better yet, social media is a great way to build more trust and provide guidance and expertise to your future customers. It's a way to show your customers you're alive + ready to help them.

Use Facebook to build relationships with your local community. Use Instagram posts to showcase your work and provide expert advice.

Post to Instagram Stories to showcase what's in season, show your customers you're open for business, share what's new in-store and bring them behind the scenes.

Want more helpful tips? Check out this super helpful YouTube video we put together a few months ago: Easy Instagram Story Ideas for Flower Business Owners.

Want more tips to help you conquer digital marketing for florists?

Learning to navigate all things Google, sorting out your website and coming to terms with the fact that being a floral designer + business owner requires us to learn a lot is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to making more money in your flower business.

What no one tells you about being a human being and running a business is that your success comes down to your mindset, learning how to overcome limiting beliefs, navigating imposter syndrome and continuing to show up even when things get hard.

I stayed stuck for so long in my business because I was waiting for things outside of me to change. I signed up for all the workshops, did my formal certification and have invested a huge amount of money in learning the craft of floral design. I wish someone had told me sooner that learning the art of being a creative entrepreneur, learning how to step into the role of CEO and embracing the discomfort of personal growth...those are the real secrets to building a thriving business.

At the end of the day, no one really cares whether we're formally trained, have all the credentials in the world or if we can claim "expert status". Our customers just want to know we can help them solve a problem. But every florist I know has struggled with imposter syndrome at one time or another.

If that's you, you're in exactly the right place. Be sure to check out this recent podcast episode:

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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

How to Markup Staff: A Step by Step Guide For Florists.

Topic #2,305 no one in the floral design industry talks about: How to markup staff in my flower business?

I've gotcha covered. And even better, I'm going to give you my super simple approach to making sure you're set up for success when it comes to quoting for set-up, pack down and delivery on your special event and wedding work.

What is the Right Mark-Up to Use?

Back in my past life of being a fancypants advertising exec, we used to spend hours talking about how to markup staff. It was literally how we made money.

There was a specific revenue to staff ratio we had to stick to. We weren't allowed to hire more staff until we hit a certain sales target and when we did hire new staff members we had to make sure our revenue stayed at a certain ratio.

When our revenue slumped, we had to cut down on staff. When we won new business pitches, we had to stick to a specific ratio for hiring.

Needless to say, I've lived and breathed that ratio for years. The math works. Advertising Agencies make their money based on this proven approach and, heck, if the ratio works for Ad Agencies, it's gotta be good enough for floristry, right?

Here's my super simple approach. Generally speaking, when it comes to how to markup staff in your flower business, I follow this formula

2.5-3 x freelancer hourly rate

So, if you're paying your freelancers $50 an hour, you're going to charge them out at $125 - $150 per hour.

And when you're pulling together your quotes for clients with on-site set-up, that means you're charging this amount for each person who is helping you and for every hour they're helping you.

How Do I Figure Out How Many People and How Many Hours?

Bad news bears...I've never figured out a shortcut to this one. But I do like my approach. It works for me.

The most accurate approach I've found to figure out how many people and how many hours is to sit down with a pen + paper and actually map out the day. Work through it step by step and write it all down.

Yes, if you're working at a venue you're familiar with, this is pretty straightforward. If you're working at a new venue, doing a walkthrough and talking to the venue coordinator is super important. You will want to get their rules around timing for set-up and pack-down (if they have any).

Very specifically, when it comes to figuring out how to markup staff in your flower business, here is my process in a bit more detail. Close your eyes and envision yourself on the day. Start to walk through the full experience from start to end.

Personally, I like to work backwards and start with the end in mind. So, for me, I start with the day after the event and the (dreaded) clean-up of the workspace, van and repacking candles, vases etc. I think about how I want that to go and how many people I want to help me.

I then work backwards from there. I think about what needs to happen to pack down the reception late the night of the wedding, work backwards through the reception set-up, the ceremony clean-up, the ceremony set-up, the bouquet delivery, packing the van that morning, etc. etc. etc.

It can take an hour or so to map this out, depending on how complex the project is, but I find it always gives me the best result.

Plus, the experience of working backwards really forces me to concentrate on what's happening – I find I rarely miss out on things when I approach it back to front. I know it sounds odd, but it really does work!

After I figure out how many hours of support staff I need and how many people to bring, I think do that quick bit of math.

Hourly Rate (2.5-3 x Freelance Rate) x Hours Needed x People Needed = Total Charge

And yes, if your eyes bulge and you think wowzers, that added up fast!!, you're doing it right.

HOT TIP: Instead of having one line item that says: Delivery, Set-up and Pack-down, divide that one line item into 3 or 4 separate line items. This prevents the sticker shock that happens when your clients are looking at one four, five or six-figure line item.

You'll Never Regret Over-Estimating the Hours Required

When it comes to doing wedding set-ups, I lived by the rule of having an extra pair of hands with us on the day.

Last-minute issues, production hick-ups and sudden rainstorms can throw a spanner in the works. And my goal was to be able to say 'Yeah, of course, we can help,' even if the situation had nothing to do with flowering.

Having another pair of hands to help you clean up or help the stylist lay name cards, tidy someone else's mess and help mum sort out some last-minute crises makes you indispensable. And that's what planners and venue coordinators remember the most.

Lots of florists can come in and make a room look spectacular.

But going above and beyond, being OK swiping up the floor, helping the staff reset tables and not having to stress about having someone duck out to move the van is what makes your team look like superheroes. And it's why venue managers and planners want to work with you again and again (and again).

It took me a long time to learn this.

For the first year of my business, I didn't even know I could hire freelancers or that having a pair of hands makes the work 8000 times better, let alone less stressful and easier on the body.

When I did start bringing on a team of support staff, I was always second-guessing my approach.

When I started doing large scale installations, tight turnaround and big jobs, the on-site set-up costs and pack down costs are usually more expensive than the flowering costs.

That's OK. It's totally normal. Usually, we're stuck with super tight deadlines, short set-up timeframes and limited access. That means more hands are required. More hands mean higher costs.

(If you're not sure how to quote for an event, also be sure to check out this blog post.)

How to Markup Staff and Not Freak Out Over Being Able to Charge That Much...

I used to freak out about these charges a lot...so much so that I would look at the total, immediately discount and eat into my own profitability...all before I presented the first quote to the client.

Don't do that. Learn from my mistakes.

Instead of assuming your client can't pay that much, reframe your perspective.

Remember this: it wasn't your idea to do an event at a venue with their specific set-up, pack-down and delivery requirements.

In many cases, when we talk about the requirements and timing for set-up and pack-down, it's new news to our clients. They don't learn about these rules until we get involved and tell them how things need to run on the day. And, often, they're super surprised when the labour costs more than the flowers.

At the end of the day, the decision to host an event at that location wasn't your decision. But you can still be super helpful.

Your mission is to educate and inform, give them the information they need to allow them to make the best decision for them. It's not your job to judge your client's ability to pay or worry about whether you can charge that much.

No ma'am.

Remember, your pricing is always based on an equation. Not an emotion.

Next time you need to quote for an event, use this formula for how to markup staff. It works.

Want more helpful tips? 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.

Flower Business Success

Are You Struggling To Make Money In Your Flower Business?

I’ve got great news – if you answered yes to this question, you’re in exactly the right place.  Yep. You’ve been searching high and low for guidance and support, wanting to learn exactly how to make money in your flower business.

Yep. That was me too. I know first-hand just how secretive this industry is. Everybody loves sharing photos of their finished designs and beautiful work but no one wants to talk about how they actually made it happen.

When I first started my flower business, I searched high and low for support. I signed up for so many workshops and design courses assuming that’s what mattered. I assumed being the best designer was how you built a successful design business.

Turns out, I was wrong.

Of course, when you sign up for a floristry course, you’ll learn about mechanics, colour theory and the principles of design. But none of that matters if you’re not gettin’ any customers.

There are so few places floral designers can turn to understand how they landed that client, navigated that enquiry and sealed the deal.

At the end of the day, that’s the stuff that truly matters, the stuff that will help you make money in your florist business.

Today, I am on a mission to transform this industry, to teach floral designers about the business of flowers.

Fast track your success – get access to my FREE Ultimate Guide to Making Money in Your Flower Business.

How To Grow Your Floral Business

When you decide to start a flower business, it’s important to remember it’s a business. As in a for-profit, money-making entity.

Making money is the point of your flower business.

I often see floral designer after floral designer after floral designer falls into the same trap I did. We assume that a flower business falls into a different category than any other business. 

That different rules apply to us. We believe we need to make sacrifices to build our portfolio and grow our following. 

Because this industry is so secretive, with nothing else to go on, we think investing in fancy styled shoots, having lots of Instagram followers and having our work published is what is going to help make us money.

I want to question those assumptions, to interrogate whether that’s going to get you the results you want in our business. Are those assumptions helping you make progress and move in the direction you want to go?

Need help? Check out this podcast episode: Thrive Podcast Episode #171 – The Finish Line

Floral Design + Marketing

Yes, floral design is a creative endeavour, but that doesn't mean it doesn't follow the same business principles as every other industry on the planet.

Telling ourselves otherwise is a lie. And it's so unhelpful for you as a business owner. 

Hands down, it's the biggest reason so many florists don't make it; they struggle for years to turn a profit and barely make enough to cover the bills. Personal income...what’s that?

This one storyline undermines all our efforts and very quickly gets in the way of anyone trying to transition a florist business from side hustle to a full-time florist.

In the end, it turns into a really expensive and heart-breaking hobby.

Like graphic design, copywriting, website design, your flower business is still a business – it's a business that happens to sell a creative service.

So, learning about business is how you grow your flower business. You don’t need to be the world’s most famous floral designer. You just need to be a smarter business owner.

Marketing Strategy For Your Flower Business

At the end of the day, marketing is all that matters when it comes to making money in your flower business.

I’ve learned first hand, you can be an average designer and make a lot of money in your florist business. It all comes down to understanding marketing strategy and business.

Marketing our florist business services can be super simple. The equation goes something like (1) we sort through where our clients are actively seeking out our services (2) tell them we can help them and (3) make it easy for them to buy from us. 

Of course, simple doesn’t mean easy. Particularly in today’s online marketing world.

The secret to success in your florist business? Remembering that the majority of your customers are going to find you online. 

A Shop Or Studio Space Doesn't Guarantee Success

Gone are the days of assuming a physical shop will help you attract customers. Today, the decision of having a physical shop front is less a marketing consideration and more an operational consideration.

That’s right. Having a physical studio or shopfront is no longer a requirement for success in our industry. (That became crystal clear in the chaos of 2020 didn’t it?) 

To build a profitable flower business, you need to learn the principles of marketing as it relates to the online shopping experience….regardless of whether you have a shop space or not.

Today, the success of your flower business is directly related to your appetite for learning online marketing strategies. Things like: how to set up your website, navigating the Google game + SEO, learning about hashtags and how to elevate your Instagram feed.

Building a successful flower business isn’t a design competition. It’s a marketing strategy competition. 

Online Flower Business Basics

Your website is your single most important marketing + sales tool. Hands down, it can make or break the success of your flower business. You can have a hugely successful florist business and have no physical retail space to speak of.

Yep. You read that right. 

Heck, even if you do have a physical studio space or shop, if you want to create a profitable florist business, having the right online flower business presence is mandatory. In today’s world, it’s the only way our small businesses have a fighting chance.

Of course, learning the ins and digital marketing is overwhelming. It’s so easy to get sucked into posting a few pretty pictures and assume that’s all that matters. (Check the box, done for another day!)

Turns out, just having a pretty website isn’t enough. We need to sort through the complexities of delivery date pickers, variable delivery and custom card messages. And that’s just the beginning. 

But, what’s the point in having a pretty website if no one can find it?

So your work doesn’t stop at your website and checkout forms. When you get that first pile or tech sorted, you get to shift your focus to learning about the Google game and SEO (Need some SEO help? Check out this super helpful YouTube video on SEO – SEO for Florists: A Beginners Guide). 

Think you’re done after that? Nope. No ma’am. 

From there, you need to dive into learning how to use Instagram and stay up to date with the constant changes to the features and make the most of the right pieces of the Mark Zuckerburg puzzle to effortlessly attract higher-value customers and land our dream clients.

As an aside, I am a person who used to hate Instagram. Hate. With a capital H. Until I learned that we get to play a totally different Instagram game. 

Yep, everything you assumed about how to show up on Instagram is a lie – we don’t need to worry about engagement or chase after followers or even worry about getting published.

Don't Give Up. Ask For Help Instead.

Of course, sorting out all things flowers + business is a lot. It’s why so many floral design businesses don’t make it past the five-year mark. In fact, more than 50% of small businesses won’t make it past year five. They throw in the towel too early. 

Why do most new businesses fail so early? Forbes.com posted an article a few years back sharing the eight reasons why small businesses fail.

At the end of the day, your florist business requires you to learn about business and marketing strategy. And in today’s world, 99% of what you gotta learn is online flower business marketing.

If you’re anything like me, when you fell in love with floral design, you didn’t dream you’d be spending your days sorting out SEO, Instagram hashtags and online catalogues, did you?

The Flower Coach For Ambitious Designers

There are so many places we can turn to for floristry guidance – we can sign up for online courses, go to workshops (check out our Byron workshop experience here) or go to formal training as a traditional floral design school.

But there’s nowhere to turn to when it comes to learning about the business of flowers. Until now.

I work with florist business owners from around the world in my Flower Boss Bootcamp. It’s the only online program available to floral design business owners focused entirely on marketing, money and managing your mindset. Learn more here.

Business School For Floral Design

I’m here to make it easier for you to understand what really matters when it comes to making money in your florist business.

We’ve packaged up the essentials, giving you the exact roadmap you need to turn your passion for floristry into a viable successful online flower business. 

Check out my Flower Boss Bootcamp here.

If you’re ambitious and already know you have what it takes to make money in your flower business, but you’re frustrated you’re not making progress this program is for you.

If you feel like you’re spinning in circles and wasting your energy on all the wrong things, check out my flower coach program. 

Free Course To Help Your Flower Business

If your mission is to build a successful online flower business, learning the fundamentals of floristry isn’t enough. Yes, I am a huge advocate of learning the fundamentals of floristry and flower care. But if you want to learn how to attract customers and make money in your flower business, learning about marketing and having a sound marketing strategy is a must.

I know how hard it is to find information about business + flowers, which is why I’ve put together this super awesome free course for flower business owners.

FREE COURSE – Ultimate Guide to Making Money in Your Flower Business

At the end of the day, the success of your flower business isn’t contingent on your floristry skills; it’s contingent on your ability to learn marketing strategy.

As unsexy as that sounds, it’s how you make money in your online flower business. If you want to make more money in your florist business, you need to build your business acumen and understand the intricacies of marketing. 

You Are Not Alone

I spent the first five years of my florist business spinning in circles. I wasted so much time and energy, spinning in self-doubt and uncertainty.

For years, I walked around assuming it was just me, that I was the only one struggling to make money in my flower business. Turns out, I was wrong.

Turns out there are so many designers experiencing the same challenges I experienced. I’m here to help you. To be the flower coach and fairy godmother you’ve dreamed of…but didn’t know existed.

How Long Is A Floristry Course?

One of the things that separate successful floral designers from the “I’m not there yet” crowd is that the successful designers know they need to keep investing in their own learning. As a florist your next question would be, if I have to invest in a course for my learning, how long will that floristry course be?

They know they need to keep learning and evolving and that a workshop here or an online course there isn’t enough. 

So, when it comes to answering the question, “How long is a floristry course?” the simplest answer I could give is probably “forever”.

I know, that might not be the answer you were looking for but 8 years into this, I believe it to be more true now than ever before. And this response is coming from someone who has invested a lot in my own design skills and flower know-how. And also on my business learning.

I’m a fully qualified floral designer. That took me 12 months to complete. I’ve also signed up for workshops with Little Flower School, Holly Chapple, Jardine Hansen, Mr. Cook, and Ponderosa & Thyme. And now, with the rise of so many online workshops and courses, continuous learning grows to new heights.

Forever Learning

Our industry isn’t regulated. There is no actual need to sign up for formal training or certification. That frustrates a lot of florists and makes it really easy for the Backyard Betty’s to jump into and attempt to play with the well-established designers. 

But it also creates great energy. It requires business owners to keep innovating and moving forward. And focusing on what matters most to their customers to stay relevant.

This is where the power of continual investment comes into play.

I love signing up for new programs and training that help me learn from people who have been in my shoes. From fellow business owners who can show me how to get from A to B in less time, with fewer mishaps. I don’t have to figure out all this stuff on my own.

If I could pass along one piece of advice today, this is it: you will make progress faster in your flower business if you’re continually investing in your own growth. 

Permission Granted

I wasted years in my flower business waiting for permission. Permission to create the shop I’d always wanted, to create the work I wanted to create, and to move the business in the direction I wanted to go.

Turns out waiting for permission is a total waste of time.

Check out this week’s podcast if you want to hear more about this. (Listen on Spotify, linked below)

In my Business Coaching program (Flower Boss Bootcamp), the very first exercise we do is to dig deep and dive into what your version of success looks like.

It’s so powerful because we never stop to ask ourselves what we want. And, as humans, we’re conditioned to believe that we need permission to take action.

Invest In Your Growth. Always

One of the reasons our business continues to grow and be successful is because I know I am my most valuable asset.

I know, every single time I invest in my own learning and growth, I will be able to translate that into even more growth and progress for my business. It’s like putting $10 into a slot machine and having $10,000 come out.

I talk to floral designers around the world who are struggling to make money. One of the most common discussions we have is what their plan for growth is. Like, quite literally, where are you investing your money (in your business and in yourself) to ensure your success?

Flowers are so easy to fall in love with. And the craft and skill of becoming a professional floral designer take hours and hours and hours of practice.

And then, when you make the decision to start a business, you feel like you have to learn all the skills as fast as possible. It’s like being thrown into the deep end of the pool and just told to “swim harder”.

So many florists I talk to are totally heartbroken and frustrated with their businesses. They’re questioning whether they really have what it takes to make this work. We fall into the comparison trap and find ourselves spinning our wheels, wondering if we should just call it quits.

That’s precisely what happened to me. 

But I knew there had to be a better way. I could not be the only floral designer struggling to make this business work. It wasn’t possible.

If you’re frustrated with your business you’re not alone. I promise you’re not.

Better yet, there is an easier way. 

Need Help With Your Flower Business?

My Flower Boss Bootcamp is the only program available to floral designers focused entirely on the business of flowers – I give you my exact approach to marketing, we dig into getting crystal clear on your vision of success and you’ll be surrounded by floral designers who are navigating similar challenges to you.

Click here to learn more. 

GET IN TOUCH
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