Florabundance News

Tom Bowling 2014

Tom Bowling AIFD, PFCI ~ Tom entered the floral industry as part-0time help in 1979. While teaching elementary school and running a retail flower shop for 8 years simultaneously, Tom found the floral industry to have the stronger calling. Tom owned a floral retail operation for 20 years before moving into the wholesale market as a design center manager for a large mid-west wholesale chain. He has been involved with the California Cut Flower Commission since its inception in 1997 and is an industry leader representing Teleflora as an Education Specialist throughout the country for the past 18 years. Tom has designed for the Presidential Inauguration as well as Rose Parade and the Academy Awards. Tom is very active in the floral industry and is still discovering opportunities to bring the floral industry forward in a positive way. Tom is a member of the American Institute of Floral Design and a past President. As a member of the Professional Floral Communicators International, Tom has commentated numerous local, allied, state and national programs.

Are those bells ringing in your ears? While there may be a few left over celebration bells ringing and welcoming in the new year, the bells you may be hearing are those of the future brides who just got engaged during the most popular time of the year – Christmas. More engagements are announced at the holiday time than any other time of the year. With all the excitement of future nuptials in the air, future brides immediately start researching the details to make her wedding day perfect. They will be attending bridal shows, purchasing wedding magazines, exploring ideas on Pinterest, and visiting local retail websites for all the necessary information to help plan their perfect day.
So with all that said, now would be a good time for you to visit both your Pinterest board and your shop’s website to make sure you are catching the eye of future brides. Before you start any major overhauls, start by asking yourself (and your staff) a few simple questions.
Begin by asking yourself if and why you want to do wedding work. You may be surprised to learn that often wedding work is not your highest revenue generator. Often time weddings and events can often spiral out of control and when all is done and said, there is little profit for all the time, labor and stress that went into producing the event. Make sure that all the systems are in place to make sure you will be ending up with your desired profit margin. Watch all those little hidden costs that have a way of creeping into your profit margin such as delivery costs, rental replacements, and unforeseen increased costs of goods sold that all start gnawing away at your profit margin.
Next question is to determine what size wedding or event you do best considering things such as: cooler space, design space, delivery vehicles, design labor, flower processing labor, installation teams and tear out teams. If you end up paying too much to have adequate coverage on all these areas, you might be surprised at just how little you have left after doing “the Wedding of the Year”. While it is often appealing to execute a large event, start with more manageable events that take less manpower and work your way up to the larger events. Remember, “Crawl, Walk, Run” is a good way to evaluate your success. No one wants to take on more than they can handle. Your future reputation is at stake with every event you accept.
After you have asked yourself some serious questions, now ask yourself what kind of profit you want to make and how are you going to do so? This takes a lot of hard-nosed accounting to make sure that every floral execution has an accurate recipe and those recipes are followed when it comes time to execute the designs. Just think how adding just a couple of roses or carnations can play havoc with the profit margin when repeated over and over again. Tight controls are a must along with accurate markups for product and labor. Remember your time and expertise is the most valuable commodity that you are selling. You never want to give your services away for free. Whether you charge for the consultations or build the costs into your design work, you need to be compensated for your time. It is not uncommon for an average event to have a minimum of 60+ hours of planning to make the event a success. That is over a week’s worth of time you should be compensated for.
Now that you’re ready to meet and greet those wonderful brides, make sure you are well armed with accurate information about color choices, flower availability and pricing. Work hand in hand with your Florabundance flower consultant to make sure everything is good all the way from start to finish. Use your tablet device during the consultation showing the beautiful selection of products available from Florabundance! With all systems in place, you will be able to turn those wedding bells into the sound of Cha-Ching cash register bells for a profitable event.

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