I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to visit the Netherlands with Joost, the owner of Florabundance–particularly for all the behind-the-scenes access and days filled with flowers. First, the time spent at IFTF (International Floriculture Trade Fair), a convention center filled with rows and rows of beautiful flowers and products, and the representatives of various breeders and farms willing to
work hard to show their gorgeous products. A visit to De Ruiter where I got to see how roses are bred: to think that it can take up to 8 YEARS to produce a rose for market! A visit to Aalsmeer and Holex to see all the people involved in selling, buying and shipping all these blooms around the world. THE
WORLD. I met Pim, an amazing designer whose creative mind goes a million miles a minute.
It is simply amazing to think how many people are involved in every step of the floral industry: the breeders, the farmers, the airlines and shipping companies, the mind-blowing Aalsmeer auction operation, and the wholesale houses around the world. And, finally, you and your customers! (Makes you realize exactly *why* flowers are so expensive…!)
And that’s the segue way into the tangent this post is about to take, so consider yourself warned!
When I walk into a grocery store and see a dozen roses for sale for $9.99 I wonder HOW?! That rose has been touched by how many people? It saddens me to think how people don’t understand or appreciate the work behind those 12 roses. It saddens me even more to think that people believe those roses are only worth $9.99 and don’t see the value in visiting their neighborhood florists and paying a little extra to support a person’s dreams and livelihood. Joost and I met a designer at Cultra who told us she had to close down her retail space because it was no longer sustainable. She now works on flowers from her home and seemed very thankful for the change. I also met a florist in London who told me she’ll be closing her shop at the end of December and moving her business home as she can no longer keep up with her bills. The sadness and frustration in her eyes was painful to see.
This is why I write Flirty Fleurs. I love this industry and I’m amazed every single day by the extremely hard-working people behind all of these flowers. When I see someone whose dream and drive for very little financial return is exhausting them, it pains me beyond belief.
Since coming back from Europe I have been perusing the Internet for more designers to feature for the series “Fabulous Florist”. What I’ve found is a surprising number of blog posts from people saying they have closed their studio or will be limiting the amount of weddings they take. Right here in Denver I can think of at least four businesses that have called it quits after this last season. It really makes me wonder about the future of our industry, where is it going and will it survive?