Better Fresh Flower Buying
I recently saw a post in Florist Facebook Group that asked about standing orders and it gave me an idea for this blog. I'd never be so bold as to say that how I did my flower buying is the best way for every florist but I did learn some important lessons in the last 10 years of running my shop. I thought I'd share a few for those that might be interested.
- Wholesalers/Growers might not like hearing this but standing orders were not good for my business. For years I was told I would get "first dibs" at better flowers with better pricing, selection, and quality. I found that was not the case. After years of receiving bad color mixes, bad quality and only slightly lower prices I did not renew any of my standing orders. I knew I was on to something when a "higher up" from my wholesaler called me to try to talk me into signing up again. I appreciated the customer service, but the call actually alerted me to the fact that standing orders were probably better for them than they were for me. Of course, ordering flowers got a bit more complicated and took more time, but it was worth it. In the long run, I was able to raise my profits by buying differently.
- Whenever possible, buy whole cases and "dry pack" them and hydrate as needed. This might not work for everyone, especially if you don't have a large cooler but as long as the flowers are fresh and haven't sat in your wholesaler's refrigerator for long, this is a great way to lower your overall price per stem and get you fresh product. Buying out of your wholesalers cooler (a bunch here and a bunch there) is the worst way to buy. You pay way too much, and you may not know how long it's been in their cooler. Speaking of wholesaler's, visit yours in person if you can. Does it seem like the cooler empties out on Saturday and then gets refilled in Sunday/Monday? If so, then they probably won't send you anything that has sat in their cooler for long. I bought from a very large wholesaler, and I was able to figure out their product dating system and was shocked at how old some of their cases were. That brings me to tip number 3.
- Don't put all your eggs in one basket. I admit, I did this a bit by mostly using one large wholesaler for all my fresh flowers and foliage. That being said, I did keep on very good terms with a local, smaller wholesaler which saved my ass when Covid hit. Even though they were only selling product to their regular buyers, they sold to me because I was always bought a little bit from them and paid my bills. They also helped me out a few times when I made purchasing mistakes for weddings or just sold my inventory of flowers too quickly.