Posts Tagged “pricing”

Mornings with Mayesh: Alison Ellis Talks Pricing

Mornings with Mayesh

Alison Ellis of Real Flower Business joined us on Mornings with Mayesh to discuss all things pricing.

Alison is a floral designer & educator that teaches florists how to embrace the business side of the business so they can make more money and take control of their future. She’s been working in the floral industry for 25 years; after spending 8 years training in half a dozen flowers shops, she opened a home-based floral business in 2002, which focuses almost exclusively on weddings. After this show be sure to visit realflowerbusiness.com which contains Alison’s business tips & teachings.

Some of the topics that were covered during the show included whether or not you should set a minimum for weddings, how to change your pricing as it grows, how to ensure you are not undercharging clients, marking up high-end flowers, how to price out large installations, and more.

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for April 16th for our next show – Dave & Shelley will be back helping to answer your flower questions.

I hope you enjoy this episode! Let us know your thoughts about pricing in the comments.



 

Here is the podcast replay, video, and show notes:


 

SHOW NOTES

  1. Should we set a minimum on weddings? I’ve done both ways. (@thewildfloweraz)
  1. Do you price anything different with a hand tied vs a vase arrangement? (@karen_mrk7)
  1. Best way to start and change it as your business grows! (@lovelyhuman14)
  1. How to make sure you’re not undercharging your clients (@pierredomedesigns)
  1. How to charge clients appropriately (@pierredomedesigns)
  1. Do you mark up high-end flowers like peonies the same as you do a carnation to keep your margins? If you do, how do you use peonies and ranunculus in everyday arrangements? Sparingly? (@atlasfindings)
  1. Should you charge a different markup on rentals, vases, and labor?

     

  2. One question that we get often on pricing is how do you price out larger designs, like installations, arches or the large 8 foot tall flower hoops?


Links:


 

TRANSCRIPT

– Good morning everyone, Yvonne here. And I am so excited to bring you another Mornings With Mayesh, April 2nd 2019, can you believe it guys? Happy April. And I’m super excited because I have a very special guest with me, Alison Ellis, she’s gonna be coming on in a few minutes to talk about pricing questions. If you don’t know Alison she is from Real Flower Business and she has a lot of Real Flower Business knowledge that she wants to share with you guys, so super stoked. I’m gonna give everyone a few minutes to come on in, say good morning, good morning from Just Floral, thank you for joining me. And Penny, you guys are amazing, thank you literally for being here every time I go live, I love you guys. I feel like if you don’t show up I don’t know what I’m gonna do. And while everyone is coming in and saying morning and letting me know where you guys are from, and also please share, yes, that would be amazing, thank you Penny. Good morning Hailey. I’m just gonna go through a few housekeeping things, alright guys. So just keep on saying hello, if you have comments or questions make sure you post those in the comments section, I’ll be going through those as I’m talking with Alison and going over your questions, I’m sure we will have some time for that, so very exciting, that’s like my favorite part giving all the live back-and-forth. Also if you aren’t able to stay for the whole show, or you just can’t make it at all and your listening later, thank you, but we will be hosting the replay on YouTube. The replay will be available immediately on Facebook, it takes a couple of minutes for it all to process. And then we also turned the show into a podcast, so if you are into podcasts and you like to listen and exercise or design flowers, you can listen to us while you’re designing flowers, that is available for you as well, and that will be up on our blog. So that will happen in a couple of days. So keep a lookout for that. Also I wanted to make sure that you guys know about our Mayesh Design Starflower Workshop Tour. So we have three more dates left, May, August and November. And we are gonna be hitting up Nashville, Austin and Columbus. So very cool, we have Sean Strong, we have gotten really great reviews. So I do do surveys and things like that at the workshop, because while we are there in person, it’s always I think scary for people to give us real feedback face-to-face. So I always send that survey so that way people can send out their honest opinions, and we definitely are getting high marks across the board. So I promise if you are on the fence, you’re not sure what you want to do, take the jump, take the leap, invest in yourself, do something outside of your bubble, get to know some people. Travel, because I know a lot of people travel. Build up your portfolio because you get amazing professional pictures from our amazing photographer Nicole Cleary, and then obviously get to work with Sean Strong who’s amazing. So we will post the link for that, you can go and take a peek at that, let’s see where do I do this at, because I’m doing this all on my own today. There we go, I did it, yay. Also I wanted to let you know about Quito, so if you are on the live and you know that I was out of the country a couple of weeks ago, and it was literally the most amazing experience I’ve had in my life, and a really long time, besides having my babies and all of that. Work life right. And so I just wanted to make sure that you guys know about this, it’s gonna be published in Florist Review. Am I allowed to say that early, I don’t know, I just did. So super excited about that, and we’re just gonna be putting all the videos and photos out, it’s not out yet, all of our professional things that Nicole did and Logan from Tailwind Visuals, he’s amazing too, an amazing storyteller. And just excited to share this story with you guys. And also I just want to make sure that you guys know about it, because people were crying because they were so happy, and so we know a lot of our students who came to Quito with us are gonna be going to the next one. We are working out those details as we speak. I will hopefully be publishing something soon, but if you want to be one of the first people to know about our next international workshop, be sure that you go and visit our website, if you go to the MDS workshop dash Quito link, and I’m gonna post that for you as well, there will be a form so that where you can fill it out and be put on our wait list type of deal, and then I will send out an email to you guys, after I send out an email to all of the people that went to Quito first. So they are number ones, and then our form will be number two, and then I will let the world know about it after that. So cool. And Desi is here, good morning Desi. She’s gonna be helping me post links and things like that going forward, thank you Desi. Everyone say good morning to her, hello. She’s behind the scenes helping me stay sane while we’re doing this live show, so I don’t hit any wrong buttons. Also make sure you save the date for April 16th, that will be our next regular format show, I will be back with David Shelley answering your flower questions. Alright guys. Let’s see who else is here? Good morning Katie Lee, good morning Jennifer, hi guys. Shelley from Maine, hi Shelley. Shelley is one of the amazing people that went to Quito with us, and thank you for joining us Shelley. I have Tracey from Greater Omaha Chapter of the National Association of Catering and Events, hi Tracey, that’s a mouthful right. Good morning Hailey, and Amy from Grosse Pointe. Awesome, I love having you guys. So if you’re just joining me, welcome guys, I’m Yvonne Ashton, here with Mornings with Mayesh. Today I have a very special guest, Alison Ellis of Real Flower Business whose gonna be answering all your questions about flower pricing, super super exciting. If you don’t know anything about Alison, she is a floral designer and an educator, she is huge in education. That’s one of her passions, if you watch anything on her Facebook group you can just see it oozes out of her pause. And she loves to teach florists how to embrace the business side of our business so that they can take more money and take control of their future, which I love, and obviously we need strong florists for a strong industry. She’s been working in the flower industry for 24 years, it might be 25 now I think. 25 years. After spending eight years training at half a dozen flower shops, she’s opened her own home-based floral business in 2002 which focuses mostly on weddings. So after this show make sure you visit RealFlowerBusiness.com and that’ll contain all of Allison’s business tips and techniques, so let me bring her on. Good morning Alison.

– Hi good morning, can you see the top of my head?

– I can.

– Alright.

– Beautiful.

– Thanks so much for having me this morning, I’m so psyched.

– Yeah I just realized I used my intro from the last time, I always recycle things.

– Recycling is good.

– And 25 years is a big deal though, congratulations.

– It is, I started when I was two, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

– Awesome. There are a lot of people that start when they’re two, my husband used to ride his big wheels through flower wholesalers.

– Yeah, I started when I was 16 actually, and never left, it was really something that I fell in love with right away, and I feel like there’s two types of florists out there, there’s the florist who just loves flowers so much, and then there are the florists who are business oriented and they could do any business, it doesn’t really matter to them what type of business. I’m definitely a florist at heart, kind of floral designer, that’s who I am.

– I love it, I love it. So let’s kick things off with just an easy question, and just tell us what you’ve been up to in the past year, because that’s the last time you were on the show.

– I know, I like it, we should have an April, it’s like our anniversary show. What have I been up to in the past year, that’s a big question. Time flies by so fast, but I took a couple of notes, what I’ve been up to is weddings, teaching, I was honored to teach at a chapel designer workshop last May and I was invited to teach down in Rhode Island in December, so while I do all my teaching online, it was so exciting to get to have that interaction in person. So that’s what I have my sights on, I’d love to do some more of that. But I’ve been doing some one on one coaching and strategy sessions with florists who were interested in taking a course, but didn’t know what course. So I was doing these free strategy sessions where we were talking for 1/2 hour about their business and getting them into the right course, and that was working at so well, because then it’s not just me being like here is my website where I sell stuff for florists. It was like, what do you need, and how can I help you. It helps focus you in. You know this as someone who has specialized in marketing. It’s about the customer, and so the more we talk to the customer, the clearer we are. So I really feel like I spent the last year talking to my customers and figuring out what they really needed from me, and then making more freebies and more resources for them, lots of content creation.

– I love it.

– Blogging, blogging, blogging, you know?

– Yeah, and that’s my jam, I love all the content that you created, so powerful for everyone.

– So appreciate that, because you put it out there, and as you know you don’t always hear how many people are seeing it and liking it, they look at it but they don’t acknowledge it. So it’s always so appreciated when someone does acknowledge. I’m gonna call out Dee, she’s on this live chat, I can see her over here on my Facebook. Dee thank you so much for sending me a message the other day, she was like, your font is too small on your emails. Boom, I was like, you know what, you’re right. There are little things like that are huge. I’ve been increasing the font on my emails for the past week.

– That’s awesome. I feel like with our content I can tell when we do downloads, like the gated content and what’s popular and things like that, just based off that. But our regular content, it is sometimes difficult, it’s not always a science like everyone makes it seem like, it really isn’t. But I do find that anything that’s controversial, we always hear from people. So it’s fun to do things like that on purpose, if you know people are gonna get riled up about it. Yeah, we’re gonna hear from people.

– Yeah, get them out of their seats. Because you can create something, like I’ll create something, like this is so good, people are gonna love this, and then it’s kinda crookedly, and then you create something just on a whim, and I created something I posted a few weeks ago, or January, it’s been shared 400 times, like what’s happening here, that never happens. So you just never can tell. That’s why we just do what we can, do our work.

– Exactly, exactly. I love it. Alright, so we’re gonna start off with our first question from the wildflower easy, these are questions that we sourced from our Instagram question post story which is always fun. And they want to know should we set a minimum on weddings, I’ve done both ways.

– That’s always a really really valid question from any floral designer. And the real honest answer is it depends. So it depends on a lot of things, where you are in your business for example. If you’re busy enough where you can turn customers away, setting a minimum is a good strategy. Because if you’re getting too many inquiries coming in and you’re finding you have a lot of lower budget clients that are trying to get in the door, setting a minimum helps to weed out people that are not a good fit and set that bar. You must be this tall to ride the ride, and that’s just what it comes down to. This is my standard of the work that I do. And that can work really well for people. And then you have to decide do I publish my minimum on my website. So there are a lot of things that go into not just setting the minimum, but then how do we communicate that minimum to the potential customer. So I like to do everything, like I was just saying, customized. I think it’s really important to look at the individual. So I’ve been in business for 17 years on my own, I’m entering my 18th season. So what did I do last year? I finished season 17 of my business, which is like snaps right? And what I find interesting, because I have my Facebook group, there’s about 7000 florists in there right now from all around the world, and I asked just two questions just before you get in. What’s your ability level, are you aspiring or have you been doing this, and sometimes people have been florists for 40 years, or they’ve been florists, maybe they’ve been florists for five years, and it’s so fascinating to me to see how people will identify themselves. I’ve been in business for 40 years and I’d say I’m aspiring. Versus someone who is like, I’ve been in business for three years, I’d say I’m experienced.

– Right.

– And that is often how it goes. The longer you have been in business, the more humble you can be about how much more you have to learn. And the newer you are, when you’re in business for three years or five years, you’re like look, I’ve been in business for five years, and let me tell you everything that you need to do. You haven’t been tested in five years yet, you know what I mean? Five years is great, and it’s a hump in your business where if you make to your five in your business, you should be celebrating and tooting your own horn, that you have been in business for five years. three to five years is that threshold. But when you’re in business for five years your minimum is gonna be different, or your thought process on the minimum is gonna be different than someone who’s been in business for 40 years. And again, it’s gonna depend. The person who’s been in business for 40 years, may have a really strict minimum, or they may have no minimum at all. So it’s based on your experience and what your market can bear. So if you’re in an area for example where you do tons of high end weddings, having a $5000 minimum might be just perfect for you. Publishing on your website might make perfect sense. But for me personally where I am, I’m in Vermont, we do destination weddings mostly, meaning people come here. I don’t travel, people are like, how do you do that? I am like, they come to me. So they come here, and their budget could be a huge gap. I’ve had some weddings that are $2500 really small, like really small weddings, nothing fancy. Then I have an $8000 in June that’s like all the bells and whistles and more, more, more. So if I put on my website I have a $3000 minimum, I’m missing out on that $2500 super sweet gig that I booked, and for my $8000 customer, they might be thinking hmm, is this $3000 florist gonna get what I’m looking for here. So when I used to publish my minimum on my website, which I did for years, finally you have to get brave, there’s a moment where your brave, and you’re like, I’m doing it, I’m doing it, I’m setting a minimum. That’s it, I’m doing it. And it takes bravery, and you have to talk yourself into it right? You have to talk yourself into I’m gonna set the minimum, I’m really gonna do it, I’m really gonna tell them, I’m gonna do it now, here I go, I’m hitting publish, and now my website says I have a $1500 minimum. That was my first minimum. Then it went up to 3500 or something. So finally it got to a point where my $3500 minimum was significantly below the average spent that people when they made a purchase with me. So here I have on my website $3500 minimum but my average sale is higher than that. Why is my minimum 3500? So it was a moment of reckoning, of realizing this is arbitrary, this number does not pertain to you, the person inquiring to me, this is just a number I’m throwing out there, just throwing to the wall and see if it sticks. So there is a change, there is an ebb and flow in business, so sometimes you should have an idea. I always put it this way, if you don’t have a set minimum, we don’t leave the door for less than 3500 at least have minimums on each of your itemized pieces, so your bridal bouquet start at X, your centerpieces start at X, your installations start at X, so at least when you’re putting together the pieces and presenting a budget to somebody There is a rhyme or reason for why they should be expected to spend this minimum. And the way I do it as I present it as a custom minimum, I say for your event this is the minimum that would be requested. And one of the smartest things I do if I do say so myself, is I missed that minimum on every single client proposal right in the payment terms, so before they accept the proposal, before we do anything They see right there this is what the minimum is for your event, so they know that they can’t fall below that. They can lose three bridesmaids, but you still have a $4000 minimum. You can have half as many guests, but you still have to have a 4000 minimum for me to block off my day or my weekend for you. So we have to set our rules and then we have to change the rules, and that’s my really really long answer too, should you set a minimum.

– That is great and I actually love the idea of a custom minimum. And honestly for me personally I get really frustrated when I’m on websites and I’m just trying to figure out what I like and what I don’t like, but then I have no idea how much anything costs. I get frustrated especially when it’s my first time dealing with something and I’m trying to get information and everyone has it all blocked and you’ve got to call, and I don’t like talking to people so I don’t want to call you, I just want to figure things out on my own first. So I think that’s a really great way to get started and have a happy medium, and not scare too many people off, but still give them enough information, I think that’s really cool.

– So you still set the boundary, there is still a minimum and it’s not like I’m just saying to them, so for example, I might send out a quote to somebody for $8000 but only request a $4000 minimum, because I don’t really need them to spend $8000, I just need them to be in it with me for this much. And if they want to spend more than that, great. But then there are other times where I met sent out a quote for $3000 and the minimum is 3000, like I’m not falling below this. So it just makes it really clear, makes the communication clear, and it’s that custom interaction, they feel my value because they see that they get an email from me, usually we have a conversation, not always though right, because that inquiry form that they sent to me I do my vetting through that. So I can tell do I need to present my minimum to this person before we go any further, or are there enough clues in everything that they have answered here that I can tell they’re gonna spend what I need to make this worthwhile and just hop round to the phone consultation. But we are not meeting in person, they are not taking a ton of my time before an absolute minimum purchase is established. Always.

– Good stuff. Alright, next question is from Karen MRK7, she wants to know do you price anything differently with a hand tied versus a vase arrangement, I’m thinking she’s probably trying to get a do you price it differently based off of the labor intensiveness of whatever you are designing.

Fourteen Questions To Ask Instead Of “How much would you charge for this?”

We’re excited to have Curate’s Ryan O’Neil back on the blog today to revisit last month’s question about pricing, and provide insight on how to rephrase pricing questions to be more productive.


Last month I talked about why it can be dangerous to ask other florists “how much would you charge for this arrangement?” and the response to the post was incredible. Knowing how to price custom installations from the underbelly of Pinterest is why the Curate floral software was created in the first place. This month, we’re giving you fourteen questions you should ask instead.

1. How would you calculate the price on this arrangement?
2. Here’s the price I came up with and how I came up with it. Am I missing anything?
3. What’s the lowest number of these garden roses that would still look great in this bouquet?
4. Would you use a higher floral or labor markup for this arrangement because of its complexity?
5. I really want to do this arrangement but the bride is just shy on budget for me to hit my margins. Where can I get beautiful orchids for a more cost efficient price?
6. How can I best calculate my markup values to make this arrangement profitable? (Hint, you can use our handy-dandy markup calculator.)
Download The Free Markup Calculator
7. Will putting this installation together on site require having any extra freelance help that I need to account for in the cost?
8. This elevated arrangement is gorgeous but huge. Should I pad my recipe a little bit for this arrangement just in case?
9. Has anyone assembled an arrangement like this on site? How long did the installation take you?
10. Is there anything special about this arrangement that I need to take into consideration before pricing it?
11. What can be done to decrease the price point for this arrangement?
12. What’s the best sub for Darcey Garden Roses that has the same color but fits a more “intimate budget?”
13. How would you calculate your greenery needed for this?
14. How do I break it to my bride how much this is going to cost?

Have another question florists should ask instead of “How much would you charge?” We’d love to hear it below!

Two Reasons Why you Should Stop Asking: “How much would you charge for this?”

 

Today we’re excited to have Curate’s Ryan O’Neil on the blog discussing a somewhat taboo topic in the industry: pricing!

 


 

If you’re on any florist forum, you’ve seen the post. It’s a gorgeous photo that some client has pulled from the underbelly of Pinterest along with a quick question,”How much would you charge for this?” If you’ve ever asked this question, there’s a high chance that the answers to the post hurt your business more than it helped. It’s time to stop asking, “How much would you charge for this?”

 

I get it. In our consults, we speak to florists every day who see arrangements and know exactly what they should cost. At the same time, occasionally they come up against a particular arrangement that’s a bit outside of their wheelhouse, and they have a bride who wants her proposal NOW, creating the need to ask other florists, “how much would you charge for this?” Even though I understand it, here are two reasons why you should stop asking it:

 

1. Your pricing should be based upon the item

 

Any time that you are quoting an item, you are always basing it off of the fact that you should be making adequate profit off of the supplies and the labor going into it. More flowers = more money. More expensive flowers = more expensive item. You’re going to want to “stem count” the item and determine how many of each type of stem you’ll want to add.

In years past, it’s been much more difficult to do these calculations since they had to be done manual. Luckily, technology has made this easier through tools like Curate.

 

2. Every florist has a different markup

 

It’s pretty simple. Everybody is different. Our experience of talking to thousands of florists has led us to believe that there is no industry standard markup on floral work. It seems like the easy route is to find out what others are doing but the reality is that their profit margins and needs are likely so much different than what yours are.

On one particular post, I saw a florist ask for help pricing an arrangement, and someone from a completely different country gave the price they’d charge — In their own currency without even mentioning it. The USD to AUD conversion rate is 1.25, so that poster was getting information that was over 25% incorrect in the simple currency value.

What one florist in South America would charge for an arrangement will not be profitable for a florist in the U.S. because the markups they use are going to be very different, as will the cost they’re being charged by their wholesaler. To ask “What would you charge?” is to neglect a very foundational part of florist business practices which says you should do what is most profitable for your business.

 

Need help figuring out what your custom floral markup should be? Check out our markup calculator.

 

Download The Free Markup Calculator

 

 

So how should you approach the situation?

 

There are some arrangements you see and can easily identify a price point for. Undoubtedly though, there will be a time when you come across an image from a Pinterest bride that has you stumped on what to charge. Rather than asking a florist friend what they would charge, ask them how they would go about calculating a price for the arrangement. Maybe they know that a extravagantly large floral arch over a mansion entryway will take three experienced helpers more than two hours to set up and you’ll need to factor in that additional labor. They could simply tell you to charge $2,000 for the installation because you asked for pricing help. Instead, they can tell you what to factor in. And if you don’t have experienced helpers, you’ll know to factor in a little bit more on the labor side for an extra set of hands or extra hours spent on the arrangement to make the arrangement more profitable, rather than charging $2,000 and barely breaking even or, worse, losing money on the arrangement.

Similarly, if you’re ever asked how you would price an arrangement, turn the conversation around to how you would calculate the price for the arrangement. What’s the base price you’re getting from your wholesaler? What’s your floral markup? Your hardgood markup? Your labor markup? Are you building labor costs into the arrangement or tacking it on at the end of your proposal? There are many parts to consider when pricing an arrangement that you should break down when explaining how you came to your suggested price.

 

This is why Curate was created in the first place. Stem counting is an incredible headache, especially with more complex creations showing up on Pinterest. If you’re wondering whether a software could help, we’d certainly love to do a personalized consultation to hear about your business and see if we can help. Let’s chat.

 

 

Learn More

 

 

Floral Forum: Educating our Clients on Pricing

Mayesh Floral Forum: Flower Pricing

 

Alright flower friends, here’s a question I think most of us would love the magical answer to, but for some reason it is not talked about as much as it should be. We know money can be a touchy subject to some, but we’re opening the door to start a conversation about pricing & how to educate our lovely brides about the reality of how much that beautiful Pinterest wedding actually costs.

Day after day we hear stories about brides-to-be pulling up their stunning inspiration images, and then stopping the florist dead in their tracks when the they tell them their budget. Oh, you want ten bouquets filled with peonies & garden roses, hanging installations, and garlands on every table, for $1500? Sorry sister, ain’t happening. We can’t really blame them – $1500 is a lot of money! But the lack of transparency when it comes to discussing pricing and the reality of what flowers cost is why these brides come to us with these expectations. Nobody truly knows the blood, sweat and tears that designers put into making these magical days come to life, and it’s our job to educate the consumers so they understand the “why”, and make that conversation a little easier and a little less awkward. Luckily, our Floral Forum designers were  passionate about this topic and more than happy to share their thoughts and the ways they’ve found works best for them. 

But before we get this show on the road, I want to make a quick little introduction to the newest contributor to The Floral Forum! We recently connected with Ryan O’Neil during our florist app comparison when we included his app, StemCounter by Curate. Ryan and his wife have owned a flower shop for years, so his experience in the floral industry paired with his experience building this app will bring a fresh perspective to the table. Welcome, Ryan!

 

And now back to our regularly scheduled program…

 

Floral Forum Cynthia Sanchez

I personally like to give brides a range of some of our most common items (i.e. bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, low centerpieces, etc.) which I have in an “Investment” tab within my website in hopes to help couples determine their budgets. Even though all of our weddings are custom tailored to each couple and each event, this guide helps me educate couples so that they have a realistic idea of how much flowers may cost based on their current guest count, the number of people in their wedding party, and the different details of their wedding. This way they can determine which aspects of their wedding they are willing to sacrifice or which they would like to focus on.

Before I worked with flowers, I wouldn’t have had a clue where to even start with thinking of a budget for flowers. It wasn’t very often that I would buy flowers so I completely understand when people don’t know where to start.  Personally, I think all of us in the industry should be more transparent in our pricing. It may alleviate couples running out of money in one part of their wedding because they never imagined another part was going to cost so much. Even though there is a lot of competition out there (especially in this industry), there is also plenty of work for everybody out there and I truly do believe we attract our “tribe”. A bride interested in your services may not necessarily be attracted to me and vice versa. We all have our own creativity and our own personal touch which attracts a certain couple. This is why I don’t feel like we should be afraid to put our prices up, even if it is just a range 🙂

 

Floral Forum

Carla Kayes

I only take inquiries through my website contact form (unless it’s a planner I regularly work with, in that case they contact me directly). I have an auto response letter to all inquiries that states how I define my design style as well as the type of products I use. I say that I carefully source specialty product, using only what is spectacular in that season. I have a higher minimum order for my area (this eliminates people who don’t have an appropriate budget for what they want) and I state what the minimum is as well as fees for delivery, set-up, pick-up and rentals. I also have a price list if requested that shows I have minimum for certain items, like a centerpiece, which I won’t make under a certain price. I then request that if they would like to proceed in checking my availability, getting a questionnaire and setting up a consultation to reply to the auto response email. Having the higher minimum has really made this situation better in not having to educate potential clients on the wholesale cost of flowers.

During every consultation I explain how I source specialty product, and don’t use standard stock flowers because it’s their wedding and the occasion calls for amazing flowers!

If I have a client who asks about the price difference between, say, standard roses and Davis Austin roses, I have two pictures of similar centerpieces: one with only standard roses (nothing over a $1 per stem wholesale) and another with 4 – 5 David Austin Garden roses, and explain that there is a $50 difference in the price of the two arrangements because of the wholesale cost of the garden roses. Having a visual comparison has helped me in that they can see the “wow” factor David Austin’s give to an arrangement, and I have found that the client usually goes for the more expensive arrangement.

 

Floral Forum

Rachael Lunghi

OKAY – so I love this question so much because it’s definitely something I’ve run into often. Client’s LOVE all the garden roses and peonies, etc that they see on Pinterest, but have no understanding of how much they cost. So they have a 150 person wedding, want all the good stuff, and a $1500 budget. 

The issue here is, I could easily spend $1500-2000 just on the cost of flowers for a wedding that size, depending on how involved the details//floral elements of the wedding are. SO, what do you do in this situation?

First of all, I’m always very up-front with clients. I think learning how to be straight-forward while still doing your best to be kind/gracious with clients always wins.

I have a minimum now – I have to in order to spend what I want on the most magical flowers and still make a living. So upon receiving the initial inquiry, I’ll write them back and ask them about their budget, inspiration photos, etc. then, depending on their response, I’ll explain the minimum and ask if they have room for that in their budget. If they ask why we have it, or why it’s so much, I’ll do my best to clarify//explain to them. I’ll go into how much the flowers cost, and all the labor that goes in to creating arrangements like that. All the water costs we incur, oasis//chicken wire//hours on our feet, pulling flowers the week of, foraging if needed, etc.

Being a creative is hard, and I think people often have no understanding of how much time//energy and thought goes into the work we do. HOWEVER, that’s not their fault- how else would they know if we don’t explain it to them? The flowers are ALL over pinterest, and they ARE so unreal beautiful, so they must think that it’s just the norm. But it’s not, I think sometimes they just think all flowers are created equal-like the arrangements you can buy at the grocery store are comparable. But the reality is, it’s not like that, and i think it’s up to us to educate our clients and set expectations//boundaries regarding these things to help them and others understand. And just be nice about it, give them the benefit of the doubt-we can’t expect them to know better, because if we didn’t do this for work, we would probably assume the same thing 🙂

AND, last tidbit-know your own worth//value your own work as an artist, and stand firm in it. That helps too 🙂

 

 

Floral Forum

Beth O’Reilly

In many ways Pinterest has done the floral industry a great service by showcasing to brides what a dream wedding can look like. I emphasize “dream” because it is not what the average bride can afford. Gigantic centerpieces dripping with Phaleonopsis are certainly not for every bride, although the pictures we see on Pinterest really make many think that they too can have centerpieces like this within their budget. I have sat in many a consultation where the bride actually ended up in tears when she realized that her vision was not in line with her budget. Sometimes it is a hard pill to swallow, but in my opinion it is up to us as professionals to educate our clients right at that moment when we realize that her $3000 budget with 20 tables and 13 bridesmaids won’t allow for much of the vision she has fallen in love with online. Of course breaking the news in a sensitive manner is important. It is also important that you do it in a way that exudes confidence, professionalism and grace. You want your client to leave feeling like you are the best person to carry out their vision realistically and beautifully, no matter what budget they fall within. It takes a true pro to break the bad news and capture them as a client all in the same breath. I attribute the ever growing luxury weddings and events to online sources like Pinterest that showcase and highlight what can be done with flowers when your budget provides for the scale and opulence. There is truly an art to finessing your words and still capturing the bride’s trust.

When doing most consultations, I always price the wedding out right in front of the customer. I believe in transparency and am quite confident in the average cost per arrangement based on the typical wedding and event flowers since I have been doing it for almost 20 years. When pricing a wedding I always estimate the cost per arrangement in a way that gives me the optimal price to create that arrangement successfully and to meet the clients’ expectation.  This means pricing it out with a look in mind not necessarily a flower recipe. Many times I leave myself a little extra room for cost variances in flowers and to be able to add more to the arrangement should I need to make it more impressive than the recipe alone will afford for. I always want my brides to blown away and more than happy with all their flowers. This is a great way to price things out in order to achieve that goal. If something falls outside of my realm and I need time to do more research, I would explain to them that I would need to get back to them on some of the prices. My goal is that every bride leaves with an estimate the same day we meet.

One super important bit of info that I think helps when selling weddings is to sell a look….not a flower. I say it over and over again because it is sooo important. It is up to the you to lead the conversation and always be steering the client into a look, feel and color palette, not individual flower choices.  After being on the wholesale end of things I know now more than ever that promising certain flowers should never be done. A smart designer will always leave plenty of room for subbing and educate the bride during the consult as to what flowers may be in question once her wedding rolls around.  Wholesalers procure product but they don’t grow it, nor are they Mother Nature. Availability issues are a very real thing and they do happen whether we are ready for them or not. Handling this delicately keeps you from putting yourself into a corner of promises that you might not be able to keep. It also leads you down an avenue to create successfully for your bride.

Happy wedding selling everyone!

 

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Ryan O’Neil

At Twisted Willow, we have a budget calculator on our website. While we have a certain niche we cater to, all brides can put in some specifics of what they want and it gives them a range of what their dream wedding will cost. This has been a tremendous way to educate St. Louis brides on what they need to plan on spending before we get into flower types. We’ve also found that having a software to calculate exact costs during the consultation has allowed clients to immediately know what the price of their desired items are. You can handle the “shock” factor when you’re in the consultation and can adjust their wants. It’s much more customer-service friendly than to send the numbers via email a few days later.

 


Thanks to our Floral Forum for your helpful input and giving us a peek into the way you run your businesses. And for the rest of you out there, if you have any other ideas or tips, or can think of any ways in which Mayesh could help bridge the gap, we’d love to hear your thoughts! We’re here to support all of our fabulous customers and ensure that you are able to run your businesses in the most efficient and seamless ways as possible!

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