Florabundance News

Tom Bowling 2013

Tom Bowling 2013 > Pink-Tober

October 13th, 2013

As you well know, October is the ‘official’ month for Breast Cancer Awareness. Many races and other fund raisers have been established for the battle for women’s breast cancer. You too can do your part by doing some fund raising in your store by featuring pink flowers, vases, and accessories for the rest of the month. Perhaps you might want to consider donating a portion of every “Pinktober” arrangement or loose cut flower sale to your local cancer charity to support Breast Cancer Awareness.
The wide variety of pink flowers makes this project fun and easy to execute. Since pink is not such a high demand color for the October season, the availability is plentiful. You can go with any type of look to be able to showcase your individual design style.
Think about offering a combination of Pink Ginger, Pink Anthurium, Pink Mink Protea based with some pink carnations for a dramatic high style, contemporary design. What a great look for an office or commercial facility where lots of people can see your work. Be sure to include your business card for maximum exposure. Want a more residential presentation? Consider a combination of Roses, Carnations, & Alstroemeria accented with some pink Wax Flower styled in a pink vase or vintage Jardin jar. These work out well being more desk or table size appropriate. Stock, Spray Roses, Dahlias, Hydrangea, are some other excellent choices. You might even think of doing a promotion about October smelling Pink and do a combination of fragrant pink Oriental Lilies, Garden Roses and Freesia. Since these are all very fragrant flowers, you may want to consider limiting the flower to just one variety at a time or combining the high fragrance flowers with other flowers that do not have a strong fragrance such as Gerbera Daisies, Mini Callas, or Tulips.
Don’t forget to add some interesting foliage choices when you are considering the overall impact of your floral designs. Broad lead foliage’s such as Fatsia, Monstera and Aspidistra add beauty and interest because of their distinctive form. Line foliage such as Myrtle, Spiral Eucalyptus and Flax all add dramatic impact to establish or reinforce vertical lines. Foliage can also add textural interest too. Adding a judicious amount of Seeded Eucalyptus, Millet or Ming Fern can add just the right amount of accent to your floral styling.
Check the Florabundance web site or check with your Floral Consultant to find out what flowers and foliage’s are available for you to get on board and start yourself feeling a little more pinky.

I recently ran across this article and would like to share it with all of us in retail. It helps reiterate some of the necessary skills that are often overlooked or even forgotten. Few things make a customer angry than to deal with a staff person that has poor phone skills. It is often viewed as a disrespect of a customer’s time. In this day when we are doing everything it takes to attack and keep our customer base intact, these few simple tips can make all the difference in a positive experience for your customers.
Phone answering skills are critical for florists. The telephone is still a primary point of contact for customers, and the way you answer your company’s phone will form your customer’s first impression of your business. Train your voice and vocabulary to be positive when phone answering, even on a “down” day. Keep your voice volume moderate, and speak slowly when answering the phone so your caller can understand you easily. The phone answering tips below will ensure that callers know they’re dealing with a winning business.
Don’t let the phone ring more than 3 times.
Believe it or not, the customer can see if you’re smiling, even over the phone.
Wouldn’t you like to know who you’re talking to.
Every order has a different mood associated with it, pay attention and be aware of the occasion the customer is ordering flowers for. For example, you would naturally speak with a different tone on a sympathy order than on a new baby or birthday order.
Control your language when speaking on the phone. Don’t use slang or jargon. Instead of saying,”Ok” or “No problem,” say “Certainly” or “Very well.” No fillers when you speak, such as “Uh huh” “Um,” or phrases such as “Like” or “You know,” train yourself carefully not to use these when you speak on the phone. Make a list for your employees of preferred phrases and inappropriate slang! It will HELP!
Never assume you know how to spell someone’s name, a street name, city etc. Always repeat the order, slowly, to ensure all spellings are correct, as well as the delivery date and time, card message, etc.
7. “May I place you on a brief hold” AND MEAN IT!
Always ask the caller if you may place them on a brief hold when answering the phone, and don’t LEAVE people on hold. Provide callers on hold with progress reports every 30 to 45 seconds. Offer them choices if possible, such as “That line is still busy. Would you like to continue to hold or can I take your phone number and call you right back?”
Train everyone else who answers the phone to answer the same way, including other family members if you’re running a home-based business. Check on how your phones are being answered by calling in and seeing if they are answered in a professional manner.
Consider allowing your agents flexibility to solve a situation on the spot. Customers these days have a shorter fuse and want to speak to someone who can make a decision. The more you put them on hold, the more frustrated they get.
With these great tips in place, watch to see how your phone sales increase your bottom line! It is a skill that can truly set your business a part from your competition.

All through the year, we are blessed to have different seasons that have an influence on what is available and what is trending. Spring time brings us beautiful bulb gardens that have exposed roots and are often found inside glass cylinders so the viewer can appreciate the root, bulbs, foliage and flowers. Also in the spring season we enjoy vases and galvanized buckets of blooming branches. Nothing is more rewarding than to visually watch a bare branch come to life with beautiful blooms and foliage! It is a sight to behold and works well in both contract and residential interior décor.
Summer seasonality brings us a wonderful selection of cut garden flowers that are very popular for many occasions. Rebekah, Cone Flower, Zinnia, Cottage Yarrow, Globe Amaranth, Sunflowers and more are what many outdoor gardeners’ harvest for their own enjoyment. These garden flowers combined with Dusty Miller, Hosta Foliage and Ornamental Grasses give us a very upscale casual presentation. Pinterest pages are flooded with photos of casual floral stylings displayed in canning jars and vintage bottles being used from every day windowsill decorations to outdoor and elegant weddings. The whole shabby chic look of combining lace and burlap has taken the country by storm and it seems every other event is somehow connected to this theme in some way. While we as event designers and wedding specialists grow weary of the repetition, it has a deep rooted presence in the consumer’s eye so let’s ride the wave until the next new trend is with us.
Succulents have been back in the spotlight for the past year or so and are trending very strongly this summer season. Part is due to the interesting and varied shapes and colors they come in and the fact that they take very little care makes them very popular. We are seeing them used in sympathy designs, weddings and party décor. Recently a very popular wedding magazine featured bouquets of natural found objects and succulents combined for a very chic, upscale presentation. The theme was then carried over onto the guest tables and even appeared as decorations on the cake. Succulents come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes as well as colors. From deep lush dark green to the wonderful gray-green that blends so well with just about any flower, the impact is definitely there! Succulents can also be highlighted with a brush of Design Master Color Tool to enhance a natural presentation, or can be completely colored with Design Master for a punchier, edgy presentation. What was once thought of as a southwest look has crossed the bridge to mainstream and is appearing in all kind of home and business floral decorations.
It is important to show your clients what is popular and what is trending with flowers, plants and foliage’s they are familiar with. When they understand and recognize products and components from the floral source, they become more willing to embrace the materials and will use you as their source of knowledge and product. Perhaps you might want to consider doing a garden chat and hands on workshop in your store during these slower seasons to get your customers excited about what is hot this summer besides the weather!

Last week was AIFD’s National Symposium held at the beautiful Paris property in Las Vegas. It was attended by over 1,000 people from all over the world and Florabundance was right in the middle showcasing their beautiful and diverse product selection to all those who attended the Partner’s Expo.
Florabundance together with Fitz Design showcased how the two companies together play an interregnal part in both every day and the event business. The exquisite selection of floral products was featured on four tablescapes and worn by fashion models presented on a runway stage.
The wedding tables featured a vast array of flowers and foliage’s that were designed for both the traditional wedding and the vintage wedding. Both tablescapes showcased bouquets, centerpieces, and personal flowers. Lush, fragrant flowers are still very much a part of these two themed presentations. Ivory, antique whites, blush pinks and lavender filled the tables for the delight of the attendees. Trending in weddings are less guests with more importance on style and presentation and flowers are one of those areas that have recently seen a strong growth for importance for brides. A bride now spends 20 – 25% of her budget on floral and decorations. All good news for the floral industry!
Another tablescape featured event work and was red hot! Red is such a strong event color because of its effect and versatility. Red is a warm color and builds excitement! Red also pairs well with many other colors for a unique presentation. Whether combined with orange and yellow for an analogous color harmony or paired with orange and hot pink for a slamming visual impact, red wakes up sleepy colors and stands up to say look at me…I’m important! Red was enhanced with Gold metallic leaves from Fitz Design and also a retro red – black – silver color harmony for a visit to make the past the present. Vases and decorative containers from Syndicate Sales were full and overflowing for a tablescape not to be forgotten!
Body flowers were showcased on the last table displaying the versatility of Florabundance items for the hair, neck, wrist, waist and shoes! Gone are the days of disposable elastic wrist bands…now the focus is on keepsake bracelets, headbands, rhinestone necklaces, rhinestone belts and versatile shoe clips. With just a few flowers and interesting foliage’s, all these areas become options for wearing flowers thanks to Fitz Design and their diverse line of wearable keepsake jewelry. By gluing a few blossoms on the removable design disk, we enjoyed many options of personalized flowers. Dissecting flowers, removing petals and creating fantasy flowers is the focus of this year’s floral presentations. No longer are roses surrounded by baby’s breath acceptable body flower presentations. New and more stylized personal flowers are now in vogue which translates to higher selling prices using fewer materials.
Five hands on classes and 9 demonstrations were also a part of this year’s Fitz Design room activity featuring Florabundance flowers. The students learned to make Scepter Bouquets, Hand Tied rose bouquets, Brooch Bouquets, Fascinators, and Personal Body Flowers. What a treat for the standing room only students to see how easily it was to turn ordinary to extraordinary by pairing the fashion flowers from Florabundance with fashion jewelry from Fitz Design. Also classes in creative Boutonnieres, adding feathers, creating personal flowers with Wrappzz and much much more were all a part of this exciting time at Passion.
For those who were a part of AIFD’s Passion, you were surrounded and sometimes overwhelmed with ideas galore! It was an experience not to be forgotten for years to come. For those of you who had to miss Passion, visit the website at aifd.org to get a taste of what happened and plan now to attend next years symposium in Chicago, IL.

The 2013 brides will once again be following current fashion according to The Wedding Report, A market and research forum for the wedding industry. Layering their dreams of traditional choices they have dreamed of for years with the “latest and greatest” considerations is where many brides find themselves when making choices for their special day. While traditional gowns still are the most popular choice, bridesmaids and tuxedos are seeing more trendy fabrics, colors and accessories. Subdued classic choices for the ceremony are often contrasted with colorful blasts of color for the celebratory reception.
For the ’13 brides, Personal taste is where it is happening. Brides are using Pinterest now more than ever to gather ideas and formulate the looks they want to express. Bright pastels are still in vogue for this summer’s color pallet. Antique white mixed with layers of candlewhite, ivory and soft metallics make a trendy statement for this summer’s selection of color.
Sophisticated form and architectural emphasis are being shown on the runways for 2013. Elegant strapless gowns are still the rage but we are seeing more figure flattering halters and v-necklines, empire, and A-line silhouettes are making a comeback. These provide the perfect background for showcasing beautiful cascading bouquets.
For bridesmaids, the soft shades of 2012 have given way to bold and bright colors for 2013. Subtle Turquoise, soft Butter Yellow or Electric Blue and Fashion Fuchsia are making quite the impact. Pale Peach mixed with Shocking Orange is gaining too in popularity. Geranium red and coral pink are also making their presence known this year. Look for gray; both flat and metallic, as the new neutral. The ‘Little Black Dress’ is still popular for bridesmaid’s choice of gown; making black and white weddings still popular for yet another season. Some major department stores are trying to lure the brides back by moving away from the traditional bridesmaids styling in order to compete with the traditional bridal stores for the dress sales.
Burlap combined with lace is making their presence known for aisle treatments to table linen and accessories for the guests table favors. Textures play a dramatic role for accenting dresses, hair treatments, and decorations throughout the wedding; both ceremony and reception. Vintage bottles, faux jewelry and antiques are popping up to be used as reception decorations. How fun is this and still allows the use of fresh flowers to compliment the personalized choices of today’s brides.
Brooch bouquets are still in high focus especially when combined with vintage flowers such as garden roses, hydrangea, sweet pea, and clematis. While hand tied bouquets still hang on in popularity, architectural cascade bouquets are creeping forward in popularity. Get ready to start to see the return of bouquets in holders with beautiful finished handles of elegant ribbon and rhinestone accessories. The recent release of ‘Gatsby’ will have an effect on fashion and events bringing style and elegance back in vogue once again.
The one thing you can be assured about wedding and event work is that is all about making a personal statement and listening to what the bride has for her dream day!
(Cascading bridal bouquet of Phalaenopsis Orchids and Jasmine designed by Alicia Schwede & Chuck Graham of Flirty Fleurs Flower Blog while attending Florabundance Inspirational Design Days in Santa Barbara, California)

As an industry, we tend to focus on the holiday times that drive our business for the year. When you think about holidays, there are really 4 main holidays and then depending on your market area, the 5th is really a collection of the smaller ones lumped together. The top 4 are Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Prom. Collectively, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Professional Administration Day make up the rest. Christmas is the biggest as it is really almost a 45 day holiday for selling now as it happens earlier and earlier each year. Valentine’s Day is for many the biggest single day for sales while Mother’s Day is spread out over 4 – 5 days. Prom is more about a season depending on where you are in relation to your schools. So as you can tell, Mother’s Day is a very important time to make a positive impact on your customers. Think of it as the ‘Last Harrah’ that has to take you financially through the next 5 months of tighter cash flow and customer contact.
If we look back at Valentine’s Day, there was an air of positive spending so we can look forward to a holiday of positive spending. Most shops beat 2012 sales for Valentine’s Day in 2013, so we are riding the wave of positive spending. Paul Goodman, floral consultant, CPA and Editor of Teleflora’s Floral Finance is optimistic about 2013 Mother’s Day sales. Paul predicts at least a 5% increase in sales for this holiday season based on stock market trends which have been positive for the past six to nine months. SAF predicts that 72% of consumers will purchase some type of floral product and will collectively spend nearly 2 BILLION dollars! Now you need to ask yourself how much of this can I capture.
It is important to remember that not all of these 2 billion dollars is spent on cut flowers alone. 37% is spent on bedding and garden plants, 38% is spent on flowering house plants, and 23% is spent on green plants. While this is a sizeable market, there is still plenty of revenue for cut flowers in vases, and wrapped bouquets. Having floral stylings ready for those customers who want to shop and go is extremely important. The second biggest objection from consumers about flower shops is not having the ability to choose a floral styling and personally deliver it. The first biggest objection is having florists take their phones off the hook to prevent further orders from coming in.
Mother’s Day is just a few short weeks away. It is time to start planning now to be ready for one of the greatest opportunities to help touch the lives of so many customers and help them honor of the greatest institutions! Plan now to be ready in advance for all your customers’ needs and yes, even those last minute delivery requests. Call your Florabundance Account Manager to place your order for the holiday. Visit the website for a great selection of floral and assorted foliage’s to make this holiday a magic one for you and your customers!

All winter long we have been embraced by winter’s influences…heavy clothes; short days of sun if any, dark heavy bare branches at rest, and a time when all of nature seems to be asleep. But now, that is all in our past and it is time to lighten up!

We are celebrating more plentiful and longer days filled with sunshine that warms the air, our hearts and heads. Everyone seems to be in a much better psychological mood and glad to be out and about. Spring repair projects are being executed and decorating ideas both inside and out and being formulated and put into place. What a great time to step up and help with these DIY projects in your store. Think about hosting a spring fling open hose to showcase what a great addition fresh floral stylings, green house plants, and permanent botanical designs can add to the ambience of any home décor.

Team up with other ambassadors in your community that also could benefit from this idea. Local paint and hardware stores can demonstrate painting techniques and feature the latest ideas for interior wall décor. What a great place to showcase your line of home décor wall accents of wreaths, swags, and perhaps accessories that your store carries for the wall. Furniture stores could demonstrate the impact of lighting or show how to choose fabrics for a desired effect again giving you the perfect opportunity to present your design talents by featuring some trendy floral stylings that are ready for spring or everyday enjoyment.

This time of year is a great time to host a make-it take-it workshop that might include a series of classes. Wreaths, simple centerpieces or topiary trees might be a great way to create good traffic flow within your store in between the regular spring holidays. While April may traditionally be a slower month, use this’ down time’ to spark some interest in upcoming events such as Mother’s Day, Proms, and spring formal dances. You can offer some promotions for bounce back customers such as offer deep discounts only to those customers who attend the open house or workshops. Be sure to put a time limit on those offers so customers will return often in a short amount of time…getting the idea that your shop needs to be visited often! With that said it will be important to keep your shop looking fresh, new and clean. Galvanized buckets of fresh flowers and flowering branches out for impulse self-serve walk in traffic. Nothing is more appealing than to see that European Market display in a flower shop.

Keep in mind that the color pallet for spring also undergoes a radical change. Gone are winters color saturated heavy tones of color. They are being replaced by spring’s light and airy colors. Pastels this season are bright and saturated. If you’re not sure about what colors are trending in your area, go to any major department store and look around at ladies clothes or trendy stores such as Target or Anthropology for some help and ideas. By shopping where your customers shop, it makes you aware of what they are seeing and buying and you can ride along on their marketing dollars for free!

Remember how wonderful it felt when you were a child to open up that magic box of Crayola Crayons and see all the endless possibilities of color combinations? THAT is the way you should think about the possibilities of flower combinations! It’s time to make the magic happen!

While the calendar doesn’t officially say it is time for spring for yet another few weeks, once Daylight Savings Time is here, most feel it is ready to celebrate the change of seasons. We have been seeing a majority of red and white for the past 3+ months and it is a welcome change to see other color pallets with vibrant colors as well as softer pastels. Whether displayed in a mono-botanical styling or integrated and fused with other non-seasonal components, traditional spring time flowers are a welcomed sight!
Due to the wonderful resource of growers and shippers, what once was considered a ‘spring time only’ flower; most are available throughout the entire year. If we polled the average consumer, most would probably be surprised to find that Tulips are now available pretty much a twelve month flower and Iris are not just for May! They are still harbingers of spring along with Daffodils, Pussy Willow, and multiple choices of blooming branches.
Making a floral display in your store sets the tone and provides ambiance for your customers to enjoy interacting with the different selection that are available for purchase. Tall vases or French Galvanized containers with a liner inside make for a great display of blooming branches and other tall offerings. Curly Willow, Forsythia, Apple and Cherry branches are best displayed this way. You may need to add a little base weight to some of the more light weight containers to keep them from spilling or getting turned over as self-serve customers interact with them while making their selections. Remember to change the water as needed and add a good floral preservative to keep the branches blooming.
Assorted sizes of clear vases filled with Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Muscari, all bundled ready to grab and go gives your shop a real European feel. Also by having individual stems priced for mix and match looks keep everyone coming back for mire. It is important to use one of the preservatives made for bulbs as their needs are different than the traditional cut flowers. Vases of Hydrangeas, Ranunculus, and Snowball Virburnum also add interest and round out the selection nicely. Keeping a different selection of spring flowers each week keeps your customers coming back time after time to find out what is the new flower of the week. Keeping a mix of color also adds interest. Some like pastels of pinks, peaches and soft yellows while other customers will be drawn to bright and bold intense colors such as orange, shocking yellows and saturated hot pinks.
Consider hosting a DIY class focusing on spring flowers. What a great way to share all the tips and tricks that dispel all the wild and crazy homemade post harvest care misnomers that customers think are helpful such as slitting the stem keeps a tulip closed. While it may do so, it is because you have just injured the tulip and it will not have a chance to fully mature because of its shortened shelf life. Another incorrect assumption is that it is ok to mix Tulips and Daffodils in the same vase. While they may look pretty for a photograph, the Daffodil actually emits a sap that prevents the Tulips from hydrating properly because their stems clog and they die prematurely.
Brighten up your design work with bulb flowers this spring. Welcome the change of season visually even if it is not quite time on the calendar or the weather outside still has a bit of winter’s bite. Everyone will welcome the brightness in the home or office!

During the week of Valentine’s Day, one often wonders if you are going to make it through to the end with all the demands and stress that are heaped on this week. Let’s face it, there are no other floral holidays where we are asked to quadruple or more the output in the same amount of time. With customer demands ever on the increase and their ability to replace customer loyalty with convenience, it makes it ever increasingly difficult to maintain the super-human level of required customer service.

So, the good thing is you survived and made it through the maelstrom, but Valentine’s Day is not really over. What, you ask? How can it not be over days post Valentine’s Day? Let’s first start with some critical analysis of the entire holiday. The most common question most ask is what went wrong? It is easy to beat yourself and others up for what went sideways. So fire up the coffee pot, bring out a plate of fruit and Danish and sit down for a time to slice dice and mince the holiday while it is still fresh on everyone’s mind. Start with making a list with the entire staff of what went right. Physically list all the acts that went well when analyzing the whole holiday experience. Review broad topics such as: weather and how it impacted customer ordering and delivery systems in place, how you did measured to the original goals that were in place prior to the holiday, flower availability, production successes, delivery successes, and any other area that needs to be examined as a group. Review from everyone’s viewpoint. Ask the sales staff’s point of view, the designer’s point of view, the delivery staff’s point of view and even get your Florabundance Account Manager’s point of view. What you will find is that success is measured in different ways. One person might see success from a different perspective so remember, “It’s all good!”

Once you have celebrated all the successes – and the list can never be too long, now go in and start looking for ways to take those successes and make them better for next year. For example, the sales team identifies that they successfully sold out of your premium feathered bouquet. Great! Now, ask, if there had been more of those to sell, how could that have impacted your total sales in a more positive way? The delivery team reports that less drivers got lost less times than last year….all good, except, that with Smart Phone technology and navigation devices so common, perhaps it might be a requirement in the future that all delivery vehicles be equipped with technology. Your floral processors are proud to share that they processed the fresh product in record time…Kudos to them!! So you ask how they could best interface into other departments to contribute to the overall success of the operation. These are all again positive ways to analyze the good of the whole holiday success.

It would be naïve to think there were no glitches and areas for improvement. The goal is to deal with them in a positive and productive way. For instance, your sales staff remarks that pink roses were gone by 2:00 o’clock. Good in some ways but perhaps next year you might consider bumping up the number ordered from this year. Delivery stated that all the deliveries were completed by 3:00 o’clock. Excellent, however, next year consider taking deliveries for a longer period of time or increase the total number of deliveries accepted. You want to constantly look for ways to better serve your customers without causing an in store melt-down. If too much pressure is put on any of the departments, that can easily cause a system failure that impacts the total operation and have a negative effect in the end.

One of the most important pieces of information you need is a post-holiday inventory record. This way you can compare the amount of product ordered to the amount sold to the amount not sold to get a feel of where you ended up for the holiday. If there were excessive amounts of something left, take a look at what and find out why. Did the customers not buy the items? Did the design team not incorporate the item in production? Did the sales staff not stress those items enough? Were they properly featured on your web site? There could be lots of reasons, but the idea is to zero in and learn not to repeat the same mistake next year.

One of the most important factors in the success of any holiday is the mindset of the staff. Keeping a positive attitude should be foremost in importance. It is contagious to the other staff persons and also transfers to your customers. Keeping a positive spin on what is happening increases production and keeps the work environment light and pleasant. Look for ways to make this happen and remember it is for the good of the whole to make and keep things moving in a positive and productive way. Neither the staff nor the customers should ever see what challenges that are happening backstage.

Take time to celebrate the success and start the planning now for next year’s success!

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