Today’s insightful installation of In My Honest Opinion was submitted by the lovely, Laura Daluga, a fourth generation floral designer living in Chicago.
Yes, order gatherers (they need not be named) are the bane of most retail florists existence. For four generations my family has been selling flowers. For two, we have been making “picture orders” for order gatherers.
They employ sales and advertising tactics that debilitate our industry, promising the world to their customers and then pocketing their percentage.
They force upon you a monotony of standardized designs, often poorly-designed and in harmonious in the first place, which you must make and deliver according to their customers specifications.
Often times the orders come well under-priced, featuring out of season product. Generally omitting the allotted labor fee can “cover” the difference between their given price and the actual cost to create.
These order-gatherers provide for many florists the majority of their business.
the old Rule of Thumb that wire orders should be less than 10-15% of your total orders is out the window for florists desperately grasping at orders in an increasingly “drop-shipped” industry.
This Mother’s Day was evidence of that, at least here in Chicago. In a store that hadn’t previously accepted orders from online order gatherers, what had been an expert projected 10% decline in overall revenue quickly became a 60% increase.
What made it crazy was the volume. Rather than making 50-70 deliveries at an average $60, we made 180 deliveries at an average $40.
So what’s the problem, where’s the disconnect?
“1970s pricing. That’s your problem, ” says my mother. My grandparents would agree. I say its the lack of florists who are truly involved in the maintenance and tagging of their websites, if they even have one.
The order gatherers might squash the real artistry involved in floral design, but they do have the web draw. They update and tag their sites and stay at the top of search engines. Relevance is everything to google analytics. How frequently your site is updated directly correlates with how many new and repeat visitors you gain.
We’ve let them rule the web for too long. They control where the orders go to, what the price points are and what it “costs” for you to complete that delivery. if independent retail florists don’t take back the internet, the .com giants will take away the art.
-Laura Daluga, WFC
Laura Daluga is a fourth-generation floral designer living in Chicago. She is lead designer in a small, retail floral boutique in Lincoln Park and is also a member of the Quill and Scroll Society and the World Flower Council, WFC.
We asked Laura to send images of her work. Our jaw hit the floor when we opened our inbox to see these stunning designs. Here are a few samples of the creativity and detailed artistry of her work. Thank you, Laura.