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Inspirations Florist Valentines' Day hamper 2014

Top 10 tips for setting up a successful local Florist business

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inspirations-florist-logoSince 2002, Inspirations Florist have been delivering fresh flowers to thousands of customers in and around Huddersfield. Having started out as a small local florist; striving to garner enough business and build amiable customer relations in the first five years after launch, it gives us great pleasure that we are now reaping the fruits of our hard work, and the quality of our services. After nearly 12 years since the start of our adventure, we are ready to share some handy insights in setting up your own local florist business.

1. Determine your customer niche, expectations, location, and unique services that you can offer.

  • Talk to people in your local area – after all, these are the people who will be buying your flowers! Gather feedback about local floral services and gauge the demand for these services from the local customers.
  • As Inspirations’ business partner Paul states in his interview: choose your location wisely. Log on to Google Maps; search for florists within 3 miles radius of your intended location; and determine the strength of your competitors before finalising on your location, products, and services.
  • Work out if there is a niche you can fill. We offered bespoke floral designs at a time when people had no choice but to pick up standard gifts off supermarket shelves, and this feature of ours has, over time, proven to be a trump card for our successful business.

2. Sourcing flowers – To produce or to procure?

Orchid and Pot by Inspirations Florist

Orchid and Pot by Inspirations Florist

Growing flowers in-house can be a tricky business in itself owing to the fact that one needs to constantly devote time and effort in producing top quality flowers. Moreover, the investment in the form of a large warehouse to grow one’s own flowers can be an unnecessary burden in addition to maintenance of the shop floor. We have always sourced our flowers from local floral wholesalers; it is easier to change a vendor to suit your quality standards than to maintain your own controlled environment for producing different flowers. Having said that, we do sell our own limited number of potted plants too – our orchid with a pot is a great seller for households.

 

3. Discover the top 3 flowers that might give you the best Return of Investment (RoI).

Gerberas @ Inspirations Florist

Gerberas @ Inspirations Florist

This is the most important discovery in improving and maintaining your business. You want to stock flowers that are popular; easy to source; and profitably priced. In our experience, gerbera, rose and chrysanthemum offer the best RoI; most people like these flowers, so they are always a good shout for your shop. They also come in various colours and varieties, so you can create someone’s perfect arrangement whatever the colour specifications.  You want to be able to sell these flowers on their own or in other floral ensembles.

You’ll find that your top 3 flowers also depend on the services offered: An avalanche rose is a must-have for wedding bouquets, whereas orchid pots and lilies are common flowers that people buy for home décor.

 

4. Track festivals, occasions, and holidays observed in the area of your local business.

Make sure that you know the important dates of the month when people might be buying their flowers.

  • Valentines’ Day and Mothers’ Day are the two obvious occasions that will give you the best businesses of the year. These are set days where we expect to be busy.
  • During Christmas, most people buy wreaths for their homes, or buy flowers as a little token to give to someone to say thank you for having them over for Christmas dinner.
  • However, these calender dates aren’t enough to see you through, and it always pays to get local insight in order to work out other times of the year at which you might be able to push certain products.

 

5. Market your business according to location and not customer demographics.

All business textbooks will tell you to find a customer market and target them. With flowers, we find that we are not limited by our customer market in terms of age and gender, but more by location. Flowers are very much a ‘grab & go’ product, so you should expect to keep your marketing local.

 

6. Qualifications your staff should possess

Various spring, summer and autumn bespoke bouquets in 2013.

Various spring, summer and autumn bespoke bouquets in 2013.

A florist’s job is all about finesse in floral design and creativity; the former can be acquired by training whilst the latter is an innate skill a successful florist must possess. We do not ask for qualifications at our stores; full training is given on the job. Basic Mathematics comes in to play when you are working out the costings of each stem you add to a bouquet. Design is essential at Inspirations Florist, as we pride ourselves on making bespoke floral designs.

 

7. Track, promote, and improve your best-seller service(s) or product(s).

Deluxe Flower Basket

Special Flower Basket By Inspirations

It is important to improve your best-seller services or products for better word-of-mouth publicity. At Inspirations, we find that bouquets are perennial best-sellers. Baskets are big sellers over Christmas and Mother’s Day – great to just leave on your table and not worry about watering or rearranging your flowers. Customers also like to buy seasonal plants. We have, of-late, started growing plants in special pots, and packing them in accessories like coloured boxes – we find this extra touch makes gifting these flowers extra special.

 

8. Hire a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) professional to review and improve your website rankings.

You may be a terrific florist; however maintaining your website popularity is a completely different ball game. Once your website is live, it is important that you maintain high rankings for the same on Google. In short, your website should be listed among the top results when a potential customer searches for ‘florist in <X location>‘. If your website is nowhere to be found on Google’s first page of results, you must hire a SEO professional and get this improved quickly.

 

9. Improve your online presence on social networking sites.

Inspirations Florist Valentines' Day hamper 2014

Inspirations Florist Valentines’ Day hamper 2014

Online presence has now become a ‘survival factor’ for many businesses. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are few social networking sites you want to explore in order to establish your online presence. It is easy to encourage customers to visit your Facebook page for any updates and offers. We recently gave away a beautiful Valentines’ Day gift hamper to one lucky customer’s partner on Facebook; all the customer had to do to be eligible for the lucky draw was to tag his / her partner, and share our photo on their wall! A good online presence secures your regular customer base.

 

10. Innovation and creativity are the key elements to ensure a perfect floral gift for every customer.

In November, we sold a chrysanthemum plant potted in an oversized cup and saucer at Inspirations Florist

In November 2013, we sold a chrysanthemum plant potted in an oversized cup and saucer at Inspirations Florist

If you’re a florist, you need to look for ways to innovate in your products or services. A trip down Inspirations’ memory lane for 2013 has been a revelation of sorts for us:  although we did bespoke designs, customers would often take our advice on choosing flowers; so our staff were required to innovate and create a unique ensemble for a client. Our ready bouquets or potted plants were great attention-grabbers – many customers were satisfied as long as they found pre-designed unique pieces; in such cases there was hardly any demand for further personalisation. We receommend that you let your staff design their own unique creations of bouquets and baskets; you could easily set the price based on the cost of stems / leaves used.

 

If you found this article useful, kindly leave a comment below. Inspirations Florist wish you well in establishing your own little store!

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