Tips on keeping customer service on-point for Valentine’s day with Alison Ellis

Tips on keeping customer service on-point for Valentine’s day with Alison Ellis

Holidays are a time when florists find out what we’re really made of.
We have to have systems in place to survive the hurried pace and high volume of orders, yet throughout all of the hustle and bustle, we cannot lose sight of the fact that how we treat our customers matters.

Valentine’s day is a time when florists are accused of being “overpriced” which is why we must remember that our excellent customer service is one of most important ways we provide value to our clients.

You can’t compare my business to a grocery store; they don’t do what I do.

In short, our systems and processes aren’t effective without good people who follow through.

Check out my video (perhaps watch it with your employees, too!).
Thanks so much for taking a few minutes to watch!

Find out more about Alison here: http://realflowerbusiness.com/about

Happy Valentine’s Day

Mr Cook Flowers of Sydney, Australia

Mr Cook Flowers of Sydney, Australia

Happy Valentine’s Day Eve!

Valentine's Day card for a florist

Thought this was a pretty cute card!
Hope all of you out there filling Valentine’s Day orders are hanging in there .. it’s almost over!

Happy Valentine’s Week!

Well, it’s that time of year again – Valentine’s Week! Wishing all of you who do offer Valentine’s arrangements good luck and a very profitable holiday! As for me, I’ll be helping out my friends at Fiori in Seattle – I have a feeling I’m about to be knee deep in pink & red roses!

Today I gathered some Valentine’s inspirational images —

Awesome online reminder ads –

Sachi Rose Floral Design - Valentine's Flowers

Love the subtle hint of this ad by Sachi Rose Floral Design!

Belle Fleur NYC, Red Roses for Valentine's Day

Love the simplicity of this ad – an eye-catching red rose arrangement with a sweet xoxo by Belle Fleur in NYC. Plus, they have a hashtag #FleurtWithBelleFleur – how cute is that?!

Jerry Rose Valentine's Flowers

This ad says – pay attention and order flowers! Definitely an eye catcher in the Facebook New Feed.

Pretty arrangements that I’d love to receive! –

Roses Squared by Empty Vase in LA - Valentine's Flowers

Roses Squared by Empty Vase in LA — unique and eye-catching!!

Hidden Garden LA - Valentine's Arrangement

I’d love to receive this pretty arrangement from Hidden Garden in LA!

Great tip for florists! –

Floral Design Institute - florist advice

Great advice from Leanne at Floral Design Institute! I’ll be trying this trick myself this week!

Memorable Deliveries are Smart! –

Fun & memorable floral deliveries by Cupid in by Stems in Evergreen, Colorado!

Fun & memorable floral deliveries by Cupid in by Stems in Evergreen, Colorado!

Of course, I must have a heart floral design! –

BLOMST Stein Hansen, red rose heart for Valentine's Day

Nothing says Valentine’s like a heart made out of red roses! Very intricate design by BLOMST.

As for me, I’ll pass on the roses for the holiday. Instead my hubby planted 500 peach & white daffodil bulbs in the front yard and those are popping open this week!
Happy Valentine’s Day/Week friends, hang in there!

Fleur Friday – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Per Benjamin, Red heart of flowers

Designed by Per Benjamin

Eye Candy — Floral Designs for Valentine’s

Oh yes, I’m going all out with a Valentine’s Day inspiration post! Red & pink & lots of hearts!

Ovando, contemporary red rose heart wreath

Ovando (aptly named El Corazon)

Order Fresh Flowers For Your Valentine! by Alison Ellis

Alison Ellis of Floral Artistry in Vermont, hand-tied bouquet of Roses

Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14th and you should buy flowers.

Whether we’re talking about weddings or holidays, flowers sometimes get a bad rap simply because they don’t “last forever”.

I personally think we have enough stuff in our lives that will last forever and the fact that flowers die should not make them worthless.

I hear slogans that refer to “gifts that won’t wilt” and it feels like flowers get picked on (pardon the flower pun). Food gets consumed & wine gets drunk…and perhaps so do you!, chocolates get devoured, but flowers light up your life for a few days reminding you of the thoughtful friend or lover who brought them to you and THEN, they are compostable.

Flowers say I love you without the need for perfect words or too much planning.

You can instantly be transformed from thoughtless to thoughtful with a bouquet in hand. In my experience, flowers are a perfect gift and are usually very much appreciated. I should know…I have delivered flowers for years and people are always happy to see me! I like to think it is my winning smile, but the warm welcomes I receive are attributed to the fresh flowers in my arms.

While I took a different route with my business than the traditional flower shop, it is where I grew my roots so I have a level of respect & sentimentality for the importance of the retail florist. As is true with any business that caters to you and your Valentine, florists will have higher prices around the holiday, but keep in mind that your prix fixe dinner menu probably follows the same trend.

Florists raise their prices not simply in an effort to gouge you, but because their costs also increase.

A single rose will cost your florist nearly twice as much the week before Valentine’s Day than they will the rest of the year. That is why they double the cost of their roses to the customer.

Not only are the roses more expensive during this time, but because of the high volume of cutting that is done in anticipation of the Valentine’s rush they are not as easy to get from flower growers during the upcoming weeks which keeps the price a bit higher than normal (that whole supply and demand thing!), but you will find that the price for you, the customer, will promptly return to pre-holiday pricing. The additional staff and overtime hours required to fill all the special orders from design to delivery is also a big factor in the cost of doing business on V-day.

If you want to get the most for your money, then skip the “dozen roses delivered” and choose flowers from the cooler for a fresh cut bouquet—the most economical way to buy flowers! Because a wrapped bouquet is not considered an “arrangement” and does not require a designer’s time to arrange it you will get more flowers per dollar as compared to a vase arrangement (which also includes the cost of the vase, of course). I always think your best value is to select what looks fresh and if you are unsure, ask for help to get the best results.

Keep it real. Keep it local. Keep it fresh.

Small flower shops often struggle to keep their doors open and in an economy where grocery stores sell stems for less than florists pay for their product (yes, they charge less than wholesale in some cases!) and the internet satisfies all of our shopping needs, the brick and mortar flower shop could use a little back-up this year. So if you haven’t already you should order flowers for delivery to your sweetheart or swing by a local shop to pick up a fresh bouquet to deliver in person.

If you know what you want, try to order it in advance and schedule a time for pick-up so the florist is sure to have it ready for you. You don’t have to spend $100…or even $50. Pick up a bunch of Dutch tulips or gerbera daisies or go for a half dozen roses if you are an old-school romantic. Whatever you choose you are sure to warm someone’s heart.

Flower Care Tips:

Fresh bouquets will require the recipient to trim at least ½” from the bottom of the stems with a sharp knife or garden clipper—not a scissor—before arranging in a vessel filled ¾ of the way with clean water.
No foliage should fall below the water line and the water should be changed daily or every other day at which time the flowers should also receive a fresh cut.
If the temperature outside is 34o F or less you should be sure that the flowers are wrapped in plastic bag or heavy paper to protect them from freezing…something that the grocery store often will not do properly for you!
If you will have the flowers out-of-water for 2 hours or more you should ask your florist to put water tubes on the end of each stem…and Yes, you will still have to re-cut them before you put them in water!
So make someone’s day and buy flowers this Valentine’s Day!

Contact Information:
Alison Ellis
Floral Artistry
Vermont

Thank you, Alison, for sharing this article on why people should buy flowers for Valentine’s Day, and every day – we couldn’t agree more!
~Alicia

 

Valentine’s Day Eye Candy; L’Oliver Floral Atelier

In celebration of Valentine’s Day Week we will be featuring five of our favorite retail designers with their beautiful collections for Valentine’s Day!

First up is L’Olivier Floral Atelier NYC. I chose L’Olivier because of the ultimate simplicity and sophistication of the design! It is all about the natural beauty and grace of the flower.

PARROT-TULIPS

Parrot Tulip Bouquet

UNFORGETTABLE1

Unforgettable

Maureen-French-Tulips

French Tulip Bouquet

Picasso-Call-Red-Thai

Red Thai Picasso Calla

LONGSTEM-ROSE-BOUQUET

Long Stem Rose Bouquet

SCULPTURAL-CALLA-LILIES

Sculptural Calla Lilies

redshort

Short and Sweet

L’Olivier, the sleek floral design atelier on Manhattan’s West 14th Street is a long way from Brignoles, the Provençal village between St Tropez and Aix en Provence where Olivier Giugni grew up. Yet the warmth, whimsy, style and bursts of color this floral artist brought from his native Southern France are unmistakable. “Les couleurs c’est la vie!” he exclaims. His mantra: life is color and color is life. And Olivier has been adding sumptuous color and life to New York City, his adopted home, since 1986.* From L’Olivier Floral Atelier Website

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Designed by Empty Vase in LA.


Thought you could use a little humor today so we bring some Valentine’s Day stories..

About 4 years ago we had all our staff in working for the holiday over the weekend when we realized we were going to have a big snow storm. The hubby and I told the staff that whoever wanted to work through the weekend needed to go home, pack a bag and come back to the shop because we were going to put them up for the weekend at the Westin Hotel which is within walking distance to our Princeton shop. Late that night, the snow started and we all walked next door to a very fine Italian restaurant and had a nice meal and drinks on us. $1,100 and a couple of hours later we all trudged over the to hotel to hunker down. The next morning we all met in the lobby and trekked on back up the street to the shop. It was hysterical because it was like a bit old sleep over culminating with walking down the street, slipping and sliding in almost 3 feet of snow. Snow much snow in fact that we almost couldn’t get the door of the shop open to get in! It cost the company a ton of money between food and rooms but I’ll remember it always as a wonderful testament to what employees will do for your company if you treat them well. They all worked all weekend and then finally left when the roads were clear.
~Georgianne

I started my very first job as a floral designer on February 9th.  I was asked to walk an arrangement to a large local law firm a few blocks away. When I got to the receptionist’s desk, I gently placed the oblong vase up on the marble countertop. The vase must have had a flaw because, as I set it down, the bottom corner of the vase broke and water absolutely flooded the law firm’s enormous (and no doubt very expensive) switchboard, knocking it completely out. I was horrified! The receptionist turned to me and scowled. “I’ll need to get your name and where you work.” “More like ‘worked’,” I thought to myself. Thankfully, almost five Valentine’s days later, I’m still gainfully employed!

~Robyn

One year we had a guy call us and place 5 Valentine’s Day orders. Each order had the card message – Happy Valentine’s Day, Love Brian. All the orders were being delivered to either Princeton University or Rider University, local schools in our area. Anyway, my hubby made all 5 deliveries and what was funny was that each in turn, as he delivered them, he got a sour response “oh, yuck, this must be from Brian” but low and behold, the 5th delivery he made got the response “Oh, this must be from Brian” along with a big smile. I guess girl #5 was Brian’s Valentine that year!!
~Georgianne

The bi-polar delivery person who hit bottom on Valentine’s Day and did a no show. Bailed out by customers who heard my panicked calls to various friends and friends of friends and offered to make deliveries for me! They rocked!
~anonymous

I will never forget when I was 16 years old working my first Valentine’s Day in NJ and this guy came up and said, “I’ll take that for my wife and THAT for my girlfriend.” I thought to myself, “this guy’s a creep!”
~Alison

Had one V-day a few years ago that just about sent me over the edge. We had 200 deliveries to get out. We hired some contract drivers. One guy left the shop at 7:00am with 12 stops- all timed deliveries to businesses and schools. He comes back at 5:00 pm with 10 stops left! Said he just couldn’t do it! I was horrified! I got to call 10 really pissed offed men and kiss their ass to make it right.
~Amy

Have a good Valentine’s Day story? Share it in the comments section 🙂