Editor's Blog 

Don't lower your standards – be generous this Christmas

Flowers are probably your biggest expenditure and the one you try to cut wherever possible – especially given how prices have been over the last few months. Trouble is cutting costs can all too often lead to a cutting of quality and having seen some seriously dodgy flowers recently it is a dangerous route to take.

Because while a flower may look good when it gets to your shop and still be OK at the point of delivery, unless it can last at least five days, if not a bit longer with the recipient, you run the risk of reduced customer satisfaction and complaints.

Which is why I'd say don't penny pinch on the very core of your offering and instead buy the very best you can this Christmas. Because the fact you are sending out more orders is the perfect time to promote your shop and show just how good you are. Add in some vouchers/offers and any other incentives you can to get that recipient into your shop and in many ways – given you are being paid to make that delivery - you are looking at virtually free advertising.

There will be readers who'll say "But Carrie, my customers won't pay the price or, in reference to relay orders, "there isn't enough in the order value to give Grade 1". I get it but I don't accept it. Neither are an excuse for cutting corners*. The very essence of an independent florist should be to sell the best – not be a small imitation of a supermarket or mid-range online vendor. As Kate Hester-Lock of Grand Flowers in Eastbourne said on the Billion Pound Flower Industry programme florists sell Sirloin steak, not value mince.

So whilst I totally understand that shopping around is tempting please, please be careful. Unless you REALLY know the provenance of the stock and are 100% confident that the supplier is reliable, whilst cutting a few pence here and there may seem clever, it can backfire big time. I'm not sure it's a risk worth taking.

Ed's Note: In my opinion the only time you can cut flower prices and ergo quality is when you have specific projects like massed based designs where the head size is more important than the stem length/age of flower or for one day events (other than funerals) where you know life expectancy isn't required. Special offers are also exempt but you should clearly mark them as such and not try to fob a Grade 2 flower off as Grade 1.



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