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  • Design Room: "Make Your Own" Money Makers
    By Rich Salvaggio, AAF, AIFD, PFCI
    Teleflora Vice President of Floral Publications

    In our "on the go" society, is it any wonder that do-it-yourself bouquets are popular? Whether it's because customers love this version of flower giving or because they are focusing on value, the sale of loose flowers is worth cultivating to reap bigger profits all year long.

    Industry surveys show that in the past few years, cut flower bouquet sales are increasing, particularly as gifts for Mom, who usually has a stash of vases ready to be filled with fresh flowers.

    When you sell a loose flower bouquet, you save on time, labor, and supplies. You can probably prepare several bouquets in the time it takes you to create one basket arrangement. Loose flowers sell well, especially during holidays, such as Mother's Day, because customers don't have to wait for assistance.

    Customers also like do-it-yourself flower bouquets because they feel they're getting more for their money. They make a selection without having to pay for containers or your labor.

    Selling loose flowers out of the cooler also helps turn stock quicker. When customers choose their own mixed bouquets, they are likely to take a single lily stem or the last hot pink carnation — and they often end up spending more on their selections than they would if they'd chosen a ready-made arrangement.

    You Pick 'em

    Cut flowers will sell themselves when they are displayed and promoted well. To add excitement in your cooler, prepare solid colors of the same variety in each bucket (monochromatic, monoflorals) such as all white daisies or all yellow alstroemeria. Or mix varieties in a bucket that go well together, such as snapdragons and alstroemeria.

    Display different types of foliage specimens in the cooler along with flowers so that customers can choose from among them as well.

    An effective technique for selling cut flowers is to display them near the entrance of your shop or anywhere with plenty of foot traffic.

    Put some of the hardier flowers, such as carnations, daisies, and mums in buckets where customers can select their own blooms to create individual bouquets.

    Provide Variety

    Cut flower bouquets also should be included in your display cooler or on the sales floor. Offer two sizes, one slightly more expensive than the other, and customers will be more apt to mix them, buying more than one. Be sure to keep the price low because customers interested in pre-bundled cut flower bouquets will be expecting bargains.

    Use some flowers in each bouquet that have multiple blooms, such as daisies or alstroemeria, and some that feature singular flowers, such as carnations or tulips.

    Secure the stems with an elastic band to keep them neat, and slip them into decorative plastic sleeves. This gives them the appearance of individual bouquets when they are massed together in a bucket.

    Presentation Still Counts

    Remember that a wrapped bouquet is a gift, and presentation is the key. Here are some tips for creating bouquets that will "wow" your customers:

    • Think themes. Unsure of what to put together? Ask the customer what kind of flowers he or she would prefer: vivid color, pastels, wildflowers, monochromatic, spring, or tropical. If the customer doesn't have a preference, it's still a good idea to use a general theme as a guideline to help you decide what to include in the bouquet.
    • Promote lasting power. Unless the customer requests particular flowers, try to include long lasting blooms. This way, the bouquet will expire in stages, rather than all at once. For example, a spring bouquet obviously calls for tulips and iris, but mix in daisies and alstroemeria so that some of the flowers will last longer. Mini carnations in fancy colors also can give a bouquet extra longevity without being ordinary.
    • Dress them up. Use attractive wrapping, such as clear, tinted, or printed floral cellophane; or waxed wrapping paper, available in artistic colors and prints. Boxes also make a nice presentation; just make sure they are clean and not water spotted.
    • When wrapping flowers, strive to arrange them in an eye-pleasing way. Arrange the flowers so that their faces are showing. Be deliberate in their placement, either distributing colors and varieties evenly, or grouping them for a more interesting effect. Arrange foliage and fillers on the outside of the flowers to make the bouquet seem fuller. Top off a wrapped bouquet with a bow that matches the general color scheme of the flowers.
    • Take care. Be sure to remove all excess foliage on cut flowers and trim the stems neatly. Put water tubes on finicky varieties, such as roses, orchids, or tulips. Always include a flower food packet with cut flowers; most brands have care instructions printed right on the package. Remind customers to angle-cut the stems a half-inch or more and place the flowers in water and flower food as soon as possible.

    Lasting Impressions

    Selling cut flower bouquets can make a lasting impression on customers. They will find that when they get their fresh flowers home and into water, the blooms will outlast any arrangement they have ever received.

    They also will be pleased to have participated in the selection.

    It's a great way for customers to "do it themselves" while still having the guidance of a florist to make sure that their selections are pleasing and professionally packaged.


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