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The Floral Industry


The MOST important thing to know about the floral business is that there are very different types of floral businesses out there. Knowing the differences will help you determine the price, the quality, and the artistic design of the floral arrangement.

There are four main types:

1. Grocery Stores/ Other Non-Floral Specific Retail
2. Floral Intermediaries
3. Large Commercial Florists
4. Small Independent Florists

Each of the different types have slightly different target markets, but very different practices when it comes to how they run their business.

When it comes down to which type most floral consumers are bound to, we have to first look to where most people see flowers the most, the grocery store. This is mostly due to convenience and a lack of floral knowledge. Many people will buy their flowers from the local supermarket after grocery shopping or on the way home from work. If you are one of these people, don’t feel bad, I was too. The flowers look decent enough and the price is unbeatable so why not? It’s the thought that counts anyways… right? Maybe in some cases, but if the flowers are for someone who is used to getting flowers and actually appreciates them, the thought is going to be documented as a shallow one. Grocery stores, and retail stores that operate this way, thrive on these floral consumers. These businesses choose to sell flowers mostly because they know that we, as consumers, love convenience. They also know they will profit as long as there are people that don’t know that much about the floral industry. They’ve are made their target market based off of people’s naivety! Don’t allow yourself to be a victim to crafty marketing techniques. This article will help you to stand out among-st the florally naive (yes I made up the word florally).

The main factor most consumers look at when buying anything is price, which is one reason why some people resort to buying flowers from the grocery store. That’s what makes knowing the factors that determine price so important. There are five factors that are most relevant to the cost of flower arrangements:

1. Quality
2. Upkeep
3. Variety
4. Design
5. Advertising

At grocery stores, and retail stores that operate similarly, the price of flowers can be MUCH cheaper when being compared to other floral businesses. The reason for this is because at these businesses, the cost put into these five main factors is minimal. To begin, the quality of their flowers is and always will be inferior. They have contracts with wholesalers with no one designated to properly evaluate the quality of each stem. This leaves room for the wholesalers to get rid of flowers, that REAL florists would never knowingly accept, by shipping them the leftovers. The quality is further compromised when the flowers aren’t cared for properly, as they sit in the store waiting to be bought. Different flowers are best kept at a specific temperature before being sold, to ensure that these flowers do not open too much and wither. To keep the flowers from getting moldy or dried up the water needs to be frequently changed, the bottom of the stems need to be clipped, and daily professional care must be allocated. This is something that small flower shops do especially well but grocery stores, specializing in food, don’t have the expertise to do. Large floral companies have people with the proper education and experience, but sometimes fall short on jobs because of the large size of the business.

Another thing that determines the price of floral arrangements is the kinds of flowers used, and also the variety of flowers that are available for use in a single arrangement. Grocery stores work on very limited availability, mostly carrying only short-stem roses, daisies, alstromerias, and different mum relatives. Occasionally they will carry more types of flowers based on the season or closest holiday. Large flower shops are better at having a good variety of flower types however, they can’t make special orders for individuals looking for specific flowers that are in season but not in the shop at that time. Small flower shops have the luxury of placing smaller orders on special flower requests, for next-day delivery.

When it comes to design, there is no doubt which kind of floral business wins out. Large flower shops have good designs as they have a number of trained florists at their disposal. The problem with this is that the number of florists working at these shops makes it so the designs are never consistent, and often times come up short of expectations. Now any entrepreneur knows the risk of starting a small business, but only the one’s that are really skilled at what they do will last. Finding a small florist can sometimes be a hit or miss considering anyone can START a small flower shop, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will have a skilled florist. The best way to tell if a small florist is good or not is by taking a quick visit to their shop!

Sending flowers is supposed to be a very personal thing, so why not take this same approach with the florist that will be conveying the personal feelings one is trying to convey through flowers? That’s why it is important to get to know the quality of a florists work, as well as their style. Large corporations can’t offer such a trusting personal relationship as the designers are always changing; though, this is still better than at grocery stores where they have no florist at all. In fact, grocery stores use zero floral artistry as the flowers are simply cut to the same size and wrapped in a bundle. If a creative design is not something you care about when it comes to flowers, the grocery store might be your place, assuming they have the quality and flowers you want. However, if you are looking for a floral work of art, a small local florist is the way to go.

Now you might have noticed that nothing has been covered relating to floral intermediaries… that is because this type of flower business is completely different in how they go about making profit. Companies such as 1-800-Flowers, Teleflora, and FTD Flowers are all call centers, in fact, the people that answer the phones rarely know anything about flowers at all! Their job is simply to connect costumers and florists (in their network) to other florists, and take a huge chunk of the price leaving the florist filling the order with a fraction of the price that is paid. Because of this, almost every floral design that goes out ends up looking nothing like the picture of the arrangement that the person ordered. When the call centers can’t find anyone to fill the order hey usually call the sender back asking for more money, just before it needs to be delivered! Sometimes, in these instances, they will disregard the design all together and will have the florist send something cheaper and completely different. You may ask yourself then, “How could these companies stay in business?” Well unlike all of the other types of floral businesses, these intermediaries spend all of their investments in advertising, which makes them the most easily accessible. Almost every floral consumer as dealt with, or heard of one of these companies, and that is why. They have the most comprehensive websites for ordering flowers online, thus making using them seem like a very simple and easy thing to do; Even so, this is rarely case as the people who work the phones at these businesses usually have a huge list of questions in order to fill their database, and often times have trouble understanding English. I would not blame them though, as they are usually low to minimum wage, immigrants, who have no floral education whatsoever. Basically, you would be better off picking flowers on the side of the road and putting them together yourself.

Hopefully this has helped you to understand the floral industry a little better. Floral intermediaries are the worst, your local grocery store will have the cheapest raw flowers, and a local florist that trust will make the best floral masterpieces for the best price.

Reviews of Valentine’s Day Floral Services this Year and in Previous Years


Out of all the services this Valentine’s Day, 1-800-Flowers (Florist Call Center) has been hit the hardest by the media. Here are a few links of reviews that break down 1-800-Flowers as well as the other type of floral businesses out there.

The Consumer Warning Network