It’s a common experience for us all in social settings and networking events. When people ask the question, “What do you do?” I see it as an opportunity to tell my story as a Floral Designer, and share some background and insights into my world of floristry. So today I’m going to focus on frequently asked questions that arise when I meet new people from all walks of life.
The most commonly asked question I hear is, “Where do you get your flowers?” It’s a fair question, as I’m sure when people stop to buy a bouquet at the florist, they give no thought to the source of the flowers or how they ended up nicely assembled and wrapped.
Many people I speak to assume I grow my own, which would be wonderful in a perfect world, but it’s not that simple. For a start, I don’t have acres of land to grow a mass variety of seasonal flowers. Even if that were so, I would spend more time nurturing and farming the flowers than actually making, selling and delivering the customers arrangements and bouquets.
Working in the floral industry means I operate in the world of fresh produce. This presents challenges, as the stock I purchase needs to be in top condition when I buy, and last up to a week for the client to enjoy.
The fresh flower supply chain starts with the flower farms. These growers invest a lot of time, money, and research into developing healthier and stronger cut flowers to meet the demands of the industry and remain competitive with imports. Some growers choose to protect their stock from the harsh elements of nature by growing in climate controlled greenhouses, while others plant out in acres of fields and beds. The ongoing challenges and financial investment include environmental controls such as pest and disease management, irrigation, and artificial lighting to produce top quality flowers ready for harvest, packing and shipment.
Once picked and packed, the stock is then transported to local and interstate wholesalers, or exported overseas. When it arrives at wholesalers, the flowers are ready for sale to florists. That’s where I come into the picture!
One of the benefits of being my own boss is having the luxury of venturing off to the markets and choosing my own stock. Nothing gives me more delight than walking into the cold room and seeing a medley of flowers of multiple colours, varieties and textures. It still amazes me when I stumble across a flower or foliage type that I’ve never seen before, filling me with a rush of inspiration. Sourcing flowers never feels like work to me….I’m living the dream!!!
After choosing the freshest flowers suitable for a particular order, I make my way back to my home based studio to begin on the design creation that will meet the brief for my customer. Then I photograph the finished product, and personally deliver to the recipient. This is often one of the highlights of my day, seeing the surprise and joy on the recipient’s face when they open the door and I hand over their gift with a smile.
As you can see there are many links in the chain when it comes to breeding, growing, producing, and selling fresh cut flowers. It is easy to under estimate the effort and cost involved in the end product of a bouquet or arrangement. So next time you see fresh flowers for sale, or receive them as a gift, I hope you can appreciate all the steps in the flower chain that have taken place to bring to you a beautiful gift of nature that will bring colour into your day.
Another question I would like to be asked is “What sets you apart from other florists?” One of my differences is my personal service, which includes taking the order myself, making the arrangement/bouquet, and sending a photo of the finished product to the customer who called in the order. Many customers are pleasantly surprised by this, as when they have ordered flowers previously online or elsewhere, they never see what was sent to the recipient. I want to ensure my customer is happy with their purchase, so personal service and attention is important to me.
Another different type of product I offer is a choice of gift vouchers. Customers can purchase regular flowers to be delivered for either 2, 3, or 4 consecutive weeks. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, and I’m sure anyone would love weekly flowers to bring colour and life into their home or business! The recipient won’t forget you in a hurry, as every week will bring another unique gift. This would be an ideal choice for Mother’s Day, Sunday 14th May as it is fast approaching. Contact me (Wendy) now, as I am taking orders in advance, so as to avoid the last minute rush.
Wendy Drury is a Redlands florist and floral design specialist. Creating custom bouquets and arrangements is her passion and she delivers all throughout Redlands and surrounding areas.