- Written by Caroline Marshall-Foster
- August 16, 2016
- Category: Editor's Blog
My favourite job is writing 'You're in' letters to Good Florist Guide applicants. My worse job? Sending 'Sorry but you've failed' or 'Sorry, you're not up to scratch, improve or you can't join' ones. Not because it takes me ages; I personally write each one and include the panel's comments, but because I haven't invested my hard earned dosh to help rubbish shops and the clue to what we're trying to do with Good Florist Guide is in the name; good means good – not mediocre, tatty or unprofessional.
Trouble is lots of the 'You've failed' or 'You're not up to scratch' letters are sent because the florists either haven't completed their applications properly or have obviously rushed them, not thought it through or worst of all genuinely believe that their level of offering is good.
All a complete waste of time on the part of the panel who give a lot of their time willingly and free and which actually doesn't do the applicant any favours either as we mark them as Bad or downright Ugly on our main database. Yes, we do sing the theme tune to the Good, the Bad and the Ugly when we're databasing!!
But jokes aside, although we are looking for the best shops we can find in the UK and Eire, that doesn't mean you have to be hi style or chi chi. Nor does it matter where your shop is, what it looks like – we have every type of GFG'er from ultra-mod to vintage – and size doesn't count for anything either; I think one of the narrowest shops in the world has just been passed simply because they are good.
Turnover isn't an issue, we've just passed a shop that's only been trading for a year but is better than some 25-year-old shops I know and we don't care if you're relay or not – the only thing we don't allow is a relay supplied website as that rather defeats the whole object of putting consumer in direct contact with florist.
What's more, because the panel come from all over the UK, not only do we research everyone but will always take regional differences into account. For example, we realise that not everyone can carry every flower and some places need to hold back on design styles to please their local customer base. As such wherever we can we will be a lot kinder than you might think.
But having looked at this week's rejection letters I am reminded why we have to get this right – not just for my sanity but to give us a movement of like-minded florists that we can promote at consumer level with pride. So here are the top five reasons why people failed this week.
1: Black buckets in the windows – that just doesn't cut it in our book, they are for the workroom, not the window.
2: Typos in the application – what the gift cards must look like Lord only knows.
3: Independent websites that only have stock shots, especially when we see your Facebook is full of fab work – yes we dig everywhere to check you out!
4: Scruffy outside displays where plants are still in their trays or worse still, some have been sold so there are empty gaps.
5: Websites that still have Mother's Day on the home page and links that don't work. A missing About Us doesn't do you any favours either ... your website is like your shop window or your smiling face ... we want to know about you!
The easy thing to do would be to pass everyone and take the dosh. That isn't going to happen. Because the whole point of GFG is that it is merit based and checked, not a case of taking the money and not giving a toss. In some ways vetting applications is seriously depressing for me and the panel. On the other hand, I think it makes us even more determined to find, come hell or high water, the top 750 florist businesses in the UK and Eire – simply because I reckon the best way to get rid of the crud florists out there is to make sure we are promoting the Good.
If you think you should be with us click here for more information, fill in the application form for retail shops, the application form for studios & event florists, or the renewal form for previous members.