One day when I stopped by Alicia’s shop we started talking about the relationships we have with our wholesale sales representatives. It made me evaluate the relationships I have with my reps and it dawned on me that this working relationship is probably the most important I have as a designer. I rely on them to find the product I “have to have”, sometimes with very little notice or in outrageous quantities. If either of us do not do our jobs well then neither of us will be successful.
So what does it take to have a strong relationship between a designer and their rep? Well I know what I need and expect but what does my rep need? I decided to ask my go to guy for all of my wedding and special event product. I have had the good fortune to work closely Randy Hall at Stevens & Son here in Denver to source all of my “have to have” flowers for the past five years.
Here is what Randy had to say…
What is the best time frame to order wedding flowers?
Generally 7 to 10 days is enough lead time for most orders. If the order has large quantities of hard to obtain items or specialty items such as garden roses it’s best to book as soon as the deposit is paid.
When ordering wedding flowers how specific should a designer be?
Details are very important if we are going to get the order right! These days most wedding orders are transmitted via email which leaves a solid paper trail of the details sent to the wholesaler. Using variety names is always best but if they are not known describe the color best as possible or use another flower or commonly know product to describe the color. IE: Pepsi can blue.
When working with a wholesaler what is the biggest mistake a designer can make?
Lack of lead time. Lack of detail.
What are the keys to a successful relationship between a wholesaler and designer?
Establishing a mutual trust which first begins with the wholesaler by proving the ability to fulfill orders accurately. Not all products (even common products) are available every week. The designer needs to learn to be flexible when a problem does arise that is no fault of the wholesaler.
Are you seeing any big trends this year?
To early in the season to pick up on trends but Carnations are making a comeback and I’m hearing watermelon to frequently.
What is your favorite flower or foliage?
My personal favorite are the Anemones with dark centers.