Valentine’s Day Reflections
Valentine’s Day at Fantasy Floral is like opening day on Broadway. It’s months of planning. Perfecting methods of dispatching. Hiring extra people for the week. Advertising through phone calls and social media and sprucing up our well-known decorated trailer on the circle. Decorating the shop with everything hearts and romantic red and passionate pink. Cleaning boxes and boxes of flowers that arrive daily. Lowering the temperature of the shop to a balmy 50 degrees so it becomes one big flower cooler. All leading up to Valentine’s Day morning when we turn on the shop lights, don our headsets, and start directing designers, front of the house assistants, and delivery drivers to help over 200 customers express their love and gratitude for the special people in their lives. It’s happy chaos spent with some of my favorite people!
My favorite part of this process is taking orders. I get to hear the most wonderful stories! One gentleman always orders a blue carnation to be included in whatever arrangement he sends to his wife because the first bouquet he gave her was blue carnations. Another gentleman always orders a “designer’s choice” arrangement that includes two red roses that represent him and his wife. A dad who retired and moved to Florida always orders pink Valentine’s Day arrangements for his two daughters that still live in the area; we take photos of the arrangements each year so we make sure they are always different and unique. We have followed one couple’s journey through Valentine’s Day arrangements; he sent the first arrangement when they first started dating; last year they got engaged; this year the card read, “To my wonderful fiancée and soon to be my bride.”
Our customers become a part of our Fantasy Floral family. We are part of the celebrations, and we are part of the remembrances. We share in the joy of new daughters and grandsons, and we share hugs when loved ones pass. We’ve even been able to play hero when 800 number or web-based florists failed to show up, or other shops are closed. I did our last delivery this Valentine’s Day at 9:30pm to a weary traveler whose husband wanted to cheer her up when she got to her hotel. I now view Valentine’s Day through this lens.
Before I started managing the flower shop, Valentine’s Day was just a commercial holiday to be avoided. The care with which people choose certain flowers and colors and why, and the care with which people compose the perfect card message, make me realize that sometimes we all need that reminder to tell the people in our lives how special and loved they are. Valentine’s Day is that nudge for many people. Sure, it is a commercial holiday, but the individual experiences are deeply personal and full of expressions of love and gratitude.
Because our customers are part of our family, each order, especially Valentine’s Day orders, are deeply personal for us as well. We know the huge trust each customer is putting in us to fulfill their vision and expression flawlessly. I never tire of the warm-fuzzy feeling I get when the dispatch board is clear, the last cuttings are swept up, and we turn off the lights at the end of an exhausting day and week. That is the wonderful part about small family businesses like ours. When you place your Valentine’s Day order, or any order, with us, we’ll treat you like the valued family that you are!