So Unprofessional!!!

This was the bridal bouquet we gave away at the showcase.

I recently had a most unfortunate experience at a local wedding showcase here in Denver, and it’s one I want to share with you. Let me first say that I have the utmost respect for my colleagues. Having been a small business owner, I know how hard it is to have to hustle to book clients, find leads, and gain referrals from both vendors and clients. In fact, it’s one of the things I miss most about owning Blume Haus. For five years I worked my tail off to get where I am today. Now, working for a high-end luxury hotel and enjoying the clientele that come with the name of the establishment is only helping me become a better designer. I am very proud of where I am and the designer and businessperson I have become.

Friday night I was at a wedding showcase talking with newly engaged couples and their entourages. I love meeting people who are so excited about the journey they’re about to experience in planning of one of life’s happiest moments. Next to my booth was another local florist. She and I are familiar with each other because of the intimate nature of the wedding professional community here in Denver. I know she has been in business for some time now and that she’s good at what she does for the niche that she services. Imagine my surprise when I had started a conversation with a bride and groom about flowers and the bride cuts me off to say, “I simply love your work but the florist next to you told me how expensive you are and I don’t think you would ever be able to work with our budget.”

(gasp) “I work all types of budgets and I would love the opportunity to sit down with you and let you know how I can work with both your vision and your budget,” I replied. So I shake it off, thinking that was odd. Then two more brides tell me the same thing. Honestly, I was shocked. I can’t imagine trying to win favor by tearing down another vendor. A wedding is such a personal moment and the personal connection between the bride and her vendors, especially her florist, is so important.

At one point, we had a small break in the flow of brides walking by. I glanced over to my neighbor’s booth to see her pointing to arrangements at my booth, telling a young woman and her fiancé how I price my flowers and how she could save them money. Unbelievable! So unprofessional. I have never experienced such a negatively competitive vendor. I was speechless.

I walked away from the entire experience with a few very valuable lessons. First, it was a great reminder that I *never* want to sell myself by selling out a colleague. My sense of confidence in myself as a designer and integrity as a person are too important to me. Second, my work and my service stand on their own, and I don’t need to justify, explain or defend my clientele to another vendor. And third, if a potential client buys into that particular strategy, that isn’t a client with whom I’m interested in working. My clients come to me because they know I’ll do everything in my power to exceed their expectation and make the entire process something to enjoy, not because I undercut someone else’s pricing strategy.

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Comments

  1. I am so glad you shared this incident . I have been through several different occurrences since I ventured into the wedding biz, as a floral designer / owner , and sometimes we tend to not share or speak up because what it may reflect upon our biz. I really believe that your work can speak for it self , and to down play others is unfortunate . I truly wish all my colleagues the best , but the feeling on the other end may not always be mutual .
    Thank you.:)

  2. OMG! I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it! I wish you would have confronted her on the issue…I hope to goodness she feels remorse…… I would never do that either. I am proud to look for other local vendors for inspiration and EXACTLY – book me because you love my work -ahg! I am frustrated for you

  3. Wow, not cool! Sorry to hear this, and I hope you did say something to this florist.

  4. Shocked she did that when you right next to her aswell! What a disgrace! As a floristry student im currently learning about the business aspect and day dreaming about my own floral business and I find this very upsetting that other florists do that and try to ruin your reputation.
    If i was in your situation i really would not know how to react to the other vendor and it would ruin my confidence in my work!
    Love your opinion on the situation and how strong you are at dealing with this 🙂

  5. Your graciousness in dealing with this incident speaks volumes about you as a professional, and I am so sorry that this happened to you. Your work is amazing, you’re a delight to work with, and you deserve every success. Brides should note that sometimes it’s worth spending a little extra to get a quality result & experience!

  6. I would contact the organizers of the showcase and share your experience of what happened at their event. A vendor who behaves as this one did is NOT a vendor who belongs at a showcase!

  7. I’m guessing the neighboring florist vendor’s booth was green, since the envy is so obvious. There has been much written about businesses that compete mainly on price, but there’s so much more to creating perfect wedding flowers than just the cost of bouquets and centerpieces.

    Experience and service paired with an ability to listen to a brides overall goals takes a real pro.

    Please don’t doubt that the neighboring booth’s focus on price alone did that vendor’s own business much more harm than good.

  8. I can’t believe a local so called “wedding florist” would write such things on her website. Florists like her really give a bad name to all of us who are striving to provide great design at fair prices.
    what are your thoughts?

    Sometimes I get an out of state bride requesting I ship my wedding flowers to her. I really would love, to but, alas there is no sure way of promising her flowers will be fresh. Anyway, my heart goes out to brides that have been hit with hard times. Money should not dictate the Brides wedding joy, but yes she will have to compromise on a few things to have the main things! Here is my advise.

    Hi Laurie, I really love the pictures you have.I have a few questions.Do you ship to New Jersey.I’m getting married 4-23-11. and i’m on a very small budget.(this planning has not been fun). My main color is blue and i love lilies. I’m looking for a small cascading bouquet that breaks in to 2-3 pieces so 2 girls can catch it. I want my 6 brides maids to carry a 1longstem flower (possible lily). And to have 6 boutiners plus 1 for the groom.is any of this possible. thank you, melissa

    Hello Melissa,

    So sorry, but do not ship at this point . Just could not guarantee freshness. I wish I could help and my heart goes out to you, weddings should be fun, even on budget. Florists should be willing to come down on prices in this economy. When you get a good florist who will work with your budget, you can ask her/him to order the big lilies I use which are called L.A. hybrid. Most florists can get them for the same price as the small conman, oriental lilies that everybody uses. Ask your florist to order some for you or order from Costco; cut and strip stems, then soak in a bucket of flower food solution in the refrigerator at least 6 hours. This prepares the lilies will so they will not wilt the wedding day. On the wedding day tie each with a ribbon and keep in water until ceremony. Then you would only have to get your bridal bouquet and boutenierrs made by a florist. Boutonnieres should be less if you ask for a small, very low cost lily, called Alstromerias. Ask for $5 each, they might go for it rather than lose your business.

    Hope that helps, and all the best!

    *If you need any help on your wedding flower D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) projects just write or visit, alway happy to help!

  9. Aime Deem says:

    I googled “best floral websites” the other day and immediately-you came up!-I am fairly new to the industry and have found your blog…is so full of info, inspiration and humor. I love how you get to the point and say what’s on your mind! Thank you for inspiring me and my website is in the making because you gave me the push to get it done..Aime Deem -Fleur de Lys

  10. Her response is called -fear, insecurity and jealousy.

    She is fearful there is not enough business to go around- there is. If it doesn’t come her way, her fear is validated, but not for the reasons she thinks. Her negativity is keeping that business from her. Regardless of cost, I honestly believe, people do not want to work with someone who is a ‘basher’ – that is what she is. How unfortunate. Let’s be real, you don’t want to be everyone’s florist- you want to be a match for the people who appreciate what you do, to the best of your ability at the cost it will take for you to provide that product or service; and you should make a profit and not have to apologize for that. I think everyone at some point in developing their business and career eventually realizes this. It’s not a pompous mindset, it’s confidence- earned over time.

    She is insecure about her own skills/ design or business and that is why she is speaking negatively about you. Again, how unfortunate. If she was secure in herself, she wold be able to compliment you, your hard work and success. She should befriend you. Everyone has something to offer, but being a hater will keep people at a distance.

    I think as our skills improve- design, business, communication and sales- those other business people, our competition- definitely notice. You become the ‘buzz’ that can become intimidating. Keep ‘Buzzing’ flower friend. Sounds like you’ve done everything right and those that appreciate what you do will definitely find you and book your services.