Creative Solutions for Wedding Florists – Episode 21: Flower Shop Secrets

How do You Meet Consumer Needs in a Changing Wedding Market?

Adapting to COVID changes in the floral industry can be met with something as natural as your engrained creativity as an artist. Trinity Ings of Trinity’s Florals on Cape Breton Island of Nova Scotia has some well-earned experience in the floral industry as a fourth-generation events florist. In this episode, she shares her insight into these industry changes and provides some helpful tips to move forward with event work. 

Quick Summary

Key Takeaways

  • Post-COVID Wedding’s Shifting Focus onto Florals
  • Creatively Meeting the Needs of a Customer’s Budget
  • Foraging for Local Products Native to the Area

More About Our Guest

Trinity is a fourth-generation florist. Her family started in the industry after her great-grandfather began selling cut flowers from his greenhouse, and their business grew from there. She has been immersed in the industry since childhood, working and growing up in the family shop. Trinity continued to work there until they closed their doors, and then opened a shop under her own name eleven years ago.

Today, Trinity’s shop focuses exclusively on weddings and events. In this episode, she provides her insight into the changing industry of weddings and events, post-COVID. Her perspective offers creative solutions to meet client’s needs, noting the shift that florals have become a much larger part of wedding celebrations.

Full Episode Transcript

You know, you have to be creative, you have to be on top of things and you have to like I said if somebody wants something to look a certain way, but they don’t have the budget, you really kind of have to figure out how to do it for them because it’s going to be worth it for you, in the end, also, not just for them…

Trinity 0:00
You know, you have to you have to be creative, you have to be on top of things and you have to like, like I said, if somebody wants something to look a certain way, but they don’t have the budget, you really kind of have to figure out how to do it for them because it’s going to be worth it for you, in the end, also, not just for them.

Joe Vega 0:17
So the big question is this. How can small business owners like us in the flow industry, overcome the greed of order gathers and bypass that the CFO games played by wire services?

Joe Vega 0:30
How do we market sell and deliver flowers online, so we may break free from these antiquated practices, and earn our freedom?

Joe Vega 0:39
Those are some of the questions we will answer on this podcast. I’m Joe Vega. Welcome to flower shop secrets. Watch now on YouTube, like, subscribe and ring the bell for new episodes. What’s up everybody? This is Joe Vega, and welcome to another flower shop secret podcast and Today, I’ll be speaking with Trinity ings in from Nova Scotia. Welcome to the show. Trinity. Hi, thank you.

Joe Vega 1:02
So I love talking to florists and my favorite types of floors to talk to are the ones who are second third fourth generation florist. Right. Can you tell us how you and your family got started in the floor industry?
Trinity Ings 1:14
Yeah. As far as talking to my father this morning about it just to make sure I didn’t mess up any information. So yeah. My great grandfather opened in 1922.

Trinity Ings 1:30
So he started he was a coal miner. And he started like he he built a greenhouse. And he decided he wanted to start selling flowers that he grew. And it picked up really well. And then he grew, he built another greenhouse. And then in the 40s I believe that’s when my grandfather took it over. And then he handed it to my dad. So it started out with just

Trinity Ings 1:59
growing plants and flowers and that and then they started importing in the 60s, because it grew bigger. So they they built onto the shop and they built a retail space and yeah, in the 60s a nice and big and, and he did say that they had to get the shipments in by train. So
Joe Vega 2:20
Wow, that’s pretty cool.

Joe Vega 2:21
That doesn’t happen anymore.

Joe Vega 2:23
Well, you know, when when the florists got started here was by Telegraph, too. Right, right.

Joe Vega 2:30
That’s what particular wire service is called. I used to be called anyway. Okay.

Joe Vega 2:36
It was for telegraph. Oh, yeah.

Joe Vega 2:40
Okay, yeah. Where was where did your great grandfather started the shop?
Trinity Ings 2:41
It was it’s in Sydney mines in Cape Breton. It’s really small island in Nova Scotia.

Trinity Ings 2:53
And he Yeah, like said he was he was a minor coal miner in town, because that’s what everybody did in Sydney mines towards called Sydney mines. Everybody was a miner.

Trinity Ings 3:07
Yeah, so. I mean, it was.

Joe Vega 3:12
Why did he actually start? Did he ever tell you the reason why he stopped out?
Trinity Ings 3:13
No, no reason? No, I guess he just kind of decided it was a hobby. And then then it kind of, you know, built from there. So the hobby turned into his business. And then that business turned into the family business. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. They eventually did have to close a few years ago, just because my father, you know, people, Pat, my grandparents passed away. And my father had to retire and stuff like that. So they closed and then I opened under my own name, about 10 years ago. So what was the original name? Goodwin nurseries? So you grew up in the floral industry? In a flower shop? I’m sure. I’m pretty sure there’s tons of pictures. Oh, you know, when you were a kid in a flower shop there are.

Unknown Speaker 3:59
So what’s that? What What was that experience? Like? It was fun. It was like it was I would never trade it for anything. It’s just all all of the memories there. Like, because I have three sisters. So we were we would every Christmas get our pictures taken in the middle of all the points that us that my grandfather grew, you know, and that was the tradition there. Like we literally grew up in there. We were in the after school. We went to the shop, we hung out there. You know, we would run home. We worked there. We started working way too young.

Unknown Speaker 4:33
But you know, this was wine back then. Like I’m in my 40s now. So it was back then it didn’t matter if you work when you were 10. I was about to say the age. You know, it’s funny. I actually my father on the grocery store in Brooklyn, New York, and we got here when I was 10 a night. That was my, my start of my professional career of just working as a project. Yeah, I was I started working at 10 you know? Yeah, packing the fridge, you know? Yeah, just loose.

Unknown Speaker 5:00
Things like that I used to fill water picks, you know, much buckets. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 5:06
Because this is definitely in your blood. Yes, definitely. Yeah. That’s fantastic. So.

Unknown Speaker 5:13
So it was the path, it’s it, you know, is a path that you’re meant to take. So, tell us about your business. You just opened up a shop a few years ago. Yeah. But it’s been open for 11 years now. Oh, okay. Um, I tried a few things at first, because, you know, not really knowing how to own my own business just working. And you know, I knew how to do the job. But owning a business is a whole different ballgame that I said, it figured out very quickly.

Unknown Speaker 5:40
So, you know, mistakes were made along the way. And I kind of, I feel like now that it’s like, I’ve I figured out most of them. I’m sure I’m still making mistakes now. But I feel much more confident in owning the business now than I did 10 years ago. You know, when you’re bleeding money, and you don’t know how to fix it. Yeah, there’s, there’s the way you look at mistakes is there’s no such thing as mistakes. It’s just they’re just lessons. There are lessons I learned so many lessons. Yes. Yeah. Well, as a as a business owner, myself, I mean, you you kind of have to go through that process. Yeah, really? Yeah. It’s good for you. And you end up you know, if you can make it out on the other side, you’re better off because of it. Yeah. So what success Have you had in the past year? Obviously, the world changed about a year in a month ago. So what what has it been like for you? Well, it was it was pretty scary at first.

Unknown Speaker 6:35
But like I kind of I kind of closed and I decided to kind of hunker down and wait and see how when everything first started and lockdowns first started, I didn’t know what was going to happen. So I just waited patiently to see you know, where everything was going because I’m not retail. Like I don’t have a retail shop. So I do weddings, large events, graduations, you know, like for colleges.

Unknown Speaker 7:07
Funeral funerals, like all of that stuff. So there’s no there’s no retail shop. So everything got you know, no more funerals, no more weddings, no more graduations, no more prom, no more anything. Well, everything was just disappeared. Like in a day, it felt like it, it was like a snap of a finger and everything was gone. So I just kind of waited. And then once everything started again, and people kind of got used to it and figured out how to work around things. It’s actually you know, it’s you got to take some good out of bed. It’s a horrible situation, but there was some some good come from it because most of my business is weddings. So they kind of shifted a little bit in their, in the priorities, like people who are getting married, so it kind of decided, Okay, now it’s more important to get married rather than showing 500 people, you know, a good time. Right. So now it’s the wedding was more important. The ceremony is more important now. And prettier. And you know, so it wasn’t, it was a shift in their budget. And I kind of enjoyed making prettier ceremony spaces rather than you know, making 800 centerpieces as cheap as I can.

Unknown Speaker 8:24
So did you did you obviously your business I mean, everyone’s business pretty much changed. But especially for you know, a flower shop who, you know, primarily does, events and weddings, like hey, you know, they get they got affected affected the most usually each year I have about 100 ish between 100 140 weddings. And then last year, once everything hit, of course, everybody canceled or push their wedding heavy or not knowing what to do. And then

Unknown Speaker 8:55
this year starting it was really busy. But now that the cases are going back up, a lot of people who are traveling decided to push ahead again another year. So it’s kind of

Unknown Speaker 9:06
it’s I think it’s gonna be another sort of quiet year, but working with all of the venues and the different vendors. Last year when we did we did ended up doing about 30 weddings.

Unknown Speaker 9:21
But they ran really well. Everyone was really following the rules and everyone can we had such strict guidelines. I feel like the weddings went smoother than they usually do. So I’m hoping this year is kind of going to be the same and now that we’re less afraid of how everything is going to run and the brides and grooms are less nervous of, you know, oh my god, people have to wear masks and whatever. It’s I think there’s, there’s it’s gonna run a lot smoother. I’m trying to tell all my couples that like Don’t be nervous. I think it’s gonna it’s gonna go really well. Do you find that they’re more

Unknown Speaker 10:00
nervous now then before? Yes.

Unknown Speaker 10:06
It sounds like by not having an actual retail location it prepared you you are you’re a lot more adaptable to to, to the, you know, to the times. Yeah, I think so. And now I’m working on a new website, someone is working on it for me, I don’t know how to do it. So

Unknown Speaker 10:24
yeah, I’ve got a new website, and she’s fixing my logo, and I kind of really looked at the business, it kind of gives you a time to look at your business to when you have all of this spare time, and it gave me some time to realize what I want the business to be. So I’m hopefully moving in that direction, I think that I am. So it’s, it’s a lot less retail. But I like it. I like not having to have staff, you know, stay in the shop and be worrying about like daily orders and stuff like that through all of this.

Unknown Speaker 10:59
So, earlier, you mentioned your father, your father, your great grandfather, and then your grandfather and your father’s greenhouses.

Unknown Speaker 11:07
Do you find that people resonate more with the use of local products native to the area? Yeah. And that’s something else I’m looking into this year, it’s hard because we have such a short growing season. There’s not much we can get locally. And really, we can only get it for a couple months a year. So during the winter, you’re you’re forced to ship things, most of it comes from Ontario.

Unknown Speaker 11:33
But there are a few people that are growing locally. I may have to drive few hours here and there during the summer, but I feel like it’ll be worth it. And now that my father is retired, he got a greenhouse. He built a little greenhouse last year. So now he’s growing stuff that he knows that I can cut and use and weddings and stuff like that. And we live on the same block. So it’s just, I just run over Bad’s in the morning and cut a bunch of fresh stock and run to the shop. It’s great.

Unknown Speaker 12:06
It’s convenient. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 12:10
Have you ever done like foraging all the time? Yeah. I have a pair of boots that I wear and I walk.

Unknown Speaker 12:19
I eyeball everywhere. I’m going I’m just back and forth. What kind of tree is that? You know, we’re branches and whenever. So it seems like you got a pretty good thing going on with your father growing the backyard and forest. So So do you manage to do a lot with wholesalers? Or do you rely like what’s your priority first? Is that house right? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 12:44
What we through that, like what is the priority of like, if there was an assembly line? How would you like prioritize that? Yeah, so first run over to see what that’s cause. And then he also knows a few people that gross and stuff. So he sometimes if he doesn’t have our tickets more, and there are a few ladies locally that will drop a few things off like pennies because the PME season is so short. So they’ve they drop off buckets of pennies. So I’m I’m able to use like 5060 blooms that somebody cut locally. You know, it’s, it’s really great. So yeah, dad’s and then the ladies who drop off the stuff to to my shop. And then the wholesalers because I need those staples, you know, you need the staple greenery and stuff like that. And then foraging. I always forge Do you feel like you’re getting more business? Because you forward?

Unknown Speaker 13:41
Sometimes? Yeah. Yeah, it kind of makes it more interesting. So then when I do like, you know, when I do have some photos and stuff of stuff that I did, it’s not something that can be duplicated, because it was that month, this flower was fantastic. I found it, you know, a mile down the road, and it can’t be something that’s copied? And how do the brides and how do customers feel about the fact that you just went around the block and picked up some flowers? Like, how does that work? I paid for this? Yeah, I could, you know, I don’t know, is there? Is there a sense to that? Or, well, um,

Unknown Speaker 14:23
like, say if a bride likes a certain color of something like I will make sure I get the staple stuff like they want Eucalyptus or they want a certain variety of something. Like I’ll make sure I have that. But it’s the little add ons. And especially if I had, like I said, especially if I have to make like a larger structure for the ceremony or something. I do tend to walk out of the woods even close by with a large pile of branches.

Unknown Speaker 14:50
There was one bride

Unknown Speaker 14:52
that just this past year, she had a small ceremony and she had this moon shape kind of built. And I was like oh

Unknown Speaker 15:00
Okay, but she, you know, I’m also working with budgets. So a lot of them do appreciate that I’m like, okay, I can do this, but some of its going to be at from the woods. And they’re fine with that. So one girl, she got married, I’m like, right in the woods. And I just built this big moon shape for her.

Unknown Speaker 15:21
But the back, I knew there was going to be some photos taken off the back of it. But I mean, it got quite expensive, because it was really large. So once I was done with the staples, you know, we had roses and Eucalyptus and everything else in there. So I just kind of went, went into the woods, and then filled the back of it with stuff that I found that matched, like, kind of looked for. She like dried, so I looked for yellow leaves and stuff. And she knows she knew that I did it. And she had no problem with that. She just knew that it was going to keep her in her budget. And it was going to make it look better. It sounds like you I mean, it seems to me like you have a very adaptive model, you know, to deal with market demands, you know, yes.

Unknown Speaker 16:07
Is what it takes to win these days. I mean, like, overall, the florist, you know, they need to be more creative in order to succeed.

Unknown Speaker 16:16
I think so, yeah, you can’t, I don’t think it’s a smart thing to just kind of stay the same, you know, all the time, you know, and if something does happen, that that you need to go find something, I think it just kind of just should go for us.

Unknown Speaker 16:35
You know, you have to you have to be creative, you have to be on top of things. And you have to like, like I said, if somebody wants something to look a certain way, but they don’t have the budget, you really kind of have to figure out how to do it for them, because it’s going to be worth it for you. In the end. Also not just for them. Like you don’t try to make everybody happy. But you’re also trying to do it for yourself, like so they can prove that yes, we did this, you know, because I want to do this big project. But neither one of us have the money to do it. I can’t do it for free. So let’s figure out how to do it.

Unknown Speaker 17:07
I’m sure they appreciate that. Yeah, I think so. Yeah, absolutely. So you would you describe your designs as uniquely Cape Breton? are you creating a unique brand for your work?

Unknown Speaker 17:18
Um, I think that I’m trying to create a brand. And where there’s, I do have a couple this summer, and they are traveling. I think they’re from Ontario, but they were able to travel and they really wanted to get married here. But they were really adamant on making sure everything was local that I used. And I said, Well, I think I can do that. Because I can get local for you.

Unknown Speaker 17:45
So I think that is part of the brand. Maybe it’s like Cape Breton, you know, just to make sure that you can tell that, you know, some of this stuff is like or like from here, you know, I can go I know where all the good vessel is, and I can I can go get it. If you really want something that’s authentically from Cape Breton. How do you feel you need to continue to adapt in order to continue success? Like do you think you got it down? Or do you think that there’s still some things you need to work on to be adaptable? Because you never know what can happen? Right? Yeah, thank you got it. Yeah, I Well, I don’t, I don’t know if I do. I’m trying so I’m kind of like set I’m changing the business lightly. Just recently, so I think that that’s going to work and it’s going to make me more adaptable, right. So I’m I’m leaning towards that like leaning towards making sure that no matter what happens that I still have my my business because I didn’t realize how nice it was and how much I loved having my own business until all of this until COVID happened and then I was able to stay home with my children and just kind of make my own decisions and you know, it was it was nice because I you know, I think all of us who own a business at some points through the year think okay, this is that I’m just going to go work for someone else like this is ridiculous I don’t want to do this anymore.

Unknown Speaker 19:11
So you know, I mean that that does cross your mind sometimes because it does get exhausting

Unknown Speaker 19:19
but I I’m I did decide after all of this.

Unknown Speaker 19:23
It does. But I did decide that I was like okay, now I’m going to put more effort into making sure that I can keep my business and that just making sure like financially and everything is set up better so that like whatever happens because we don’t know that it’s just going to stay where it is. Absolutely you know there’s there’s so much to owning a business is not just what people see or employee see or customers see right there’s, there’s a whole plethora of things you have to worry about and things that you can that you’re accountable for that is almost like invisible to everyone else but to intrapreneurs to business owners is

Unknown Speaker 20:00
Like it weighs a lot on your shoulders, and you always have to make sure that you’re taking care of business, right? Yeah. Yeah, it’s never you open your eyes in the morning. And that’s, you know, that’s what you start thinking of, until you’re going to sleep. And then you dream about it. It’s just something that never goes away. Oh, yeah. It’s called, you know, it’s route you ruminate, you know, like, yes, constantly thinking about it. And when you have a problem, you sort of like, you know, I don’t know about you, but I sort of like fall in love with the problem. And I’m like, I gotta figure this out. And all of a sudden, all my attention, could be having dinner, or I could be watching TV, and it’s just, I’m thinking about it like that, just, you know, until I solve it. And then it’s like, next. So yeah, yeah, I do the same when, especially when I have to make something that’s different. Okay, so I have to almost step away from it. And it’s just always on your mind. So you’re always thinking of it. And you don’t know when you’re just there’s going to be that aha moment. You’re like, ah, I know how to do this now. But it’s always there. So in your opinion, are flowers becoming a bigger part of the wedding expression at the moment? Because since venues are less available or people more focused on making what they have prettier through the use of more flowers? Yeah, case? Definitely. Yeah. They’re using smaller venues. So a lot a lot of outdoor spaces, especially because of COVID. And the the restrictions are a little bit less when it’s an outdoor space. So it’s, they they’re, you know, leaning towards that more often. Yeah, they definitely are because now that they’re this the venues are smaller. So they’re make they’re really filling them with flowers, you know, when they’re telling me that they’re like, Okay, this is the flowers or what I want you know, the most so let’s you know, what can we do? And this is my budget what can we do with with this but yeah, they’re definitely they’re making larger arbors and, you know, just just filling the rooms with flowers like and long the tables and there are a lot of people are doing like family style, like dinners and stuff now rather than like big roundtables, and they’re just like, filling them with, with flowers and greenery along the center. So it’s, it’s really pretty, I’m just loving all of it. Because I’m, I’m benefiting a little bit, because, because they want this pretty space. And I’m able to do this for them now, rather than like I said, making 50 how many, you know, centerpieces? Can I get the sound money? I have, you know, and we’re just kind of really trying to stretch the budget, which I don’t mind either. But it doesn’t look as as nice as if you’re putting all of that money into like one large table. How should florist look at these events differently? Because you’re definitely looking at it differently. You know, this sounds like a new motion. Yeah. Yeah. I’m really loved that night. I don’t know

Unknown Speaker 22:44
what the other florists think of it. But I just, I love it. Because like I said, there’s a massive shift in their budget, and their floral budget really didn’t change. But it’s just shifted so that I can, you know, I’m making beautiful focal points, whereas they couldn’t do that before because they’re feeding 300 people and you know, so it’s a big shift. Okay. And in terms of Brides, like, are they coming in now asking different questions? Or do they have different concerns? Or is it the same? Are they all just safety questions? And they are, how has that changed? How’s that process changed for you? Well, most of my, my meetings and everything now are like over the phone, the majority of them now, rather than, you know, in person, I prefer to meet people in person. But I know that, you know, that’s just not a possibility a lot of the time, especially now, but most of their concerns really don’t have much to do with me. They’re more they’re concerned about the venue on how many people they’re allowed to have in and you know, so. So that conversation always comes up. So I tried to like I do know a bit about, you know, each of the venues around here, and I can kind of give them advice. So that’s nice to have that that knowledge on, I know, most of the other wedding vendors. So I’m like, Okay, well, this, this girl can do this for you, you know, and that’s, you know, I sometimes recommend a wedding planner, because they’re going to, they’re very well versed in all of the restrictions, and they can kind of take care of that and just instruct them. So most of their concerns don’t really have much to do with me, other than having to give me numbers like of how many tables there will be, but so it sounds like you’re acting more of as a guide now. Right? Yeah. has more flowers driven the request for more variety on different design? Is this a design opportunity or a supply chain opportunity?

Unknown Speaker 24:37
design opportunity? design opportunity? All the way right? Yeah, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 24:43
Yeah, you would think so. I mean, obviously, you’re you’re you’re starting. It’s like getting a new visa getting a blank canvas every single time, right? Yeah. Yeah, it is. And it’s nice, like I said, with their shift in their priorities in their wedding. I’m gonna say

Unknown Speaker 25:00
More than half of my couples are just giving me full rein. They’re just saying, Do whatever. Do whatever you think I like your stuff. So, so give, they won’t even give me like a color palette a lot of the time. They’re like, this is what we’re wearing. Now just make something pretty like Okay, great.

Unknown Speaker 25:20
As a creative, there aren’t any. There’s no such better words, right? Like, do whatever you want. It’s amazing. Yeah, absolutely. Everything I was turns out nicer that way. And I kind of tried to tell them that I was like, when you give me specific instructions, I feel like you’ve got this idea. And I’m not going to be able to execute it exactly the way you have pictured in your head. But if you say, just do what you want to do, don’t make it too big.

Unknown Speaker 25:46
Then that’s all right. Sure. So yeah, every creative loves to work with people who just gives them the freedom, right? Yeah. All About that, right. And then there’s the other side of it. Like you ever get someone’s you haven’t, you know, just mumble, need your breath and be like, Well, why did you hire me if you’re gonna tell me exactly what to do? Step by step, right?

Unknown Speaker 26:08
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, that’s, that’s the tough part.

Unknown Speaker 26:13
Why do you need me You’re giving me such strict instructions. What’s the point?

Unknown Speaker 26:18
And then at the end of the strict instructions, like but you know, do whatever you think and like, No, I can’t now.

Unknown Speaker 26:25
What exciting, new things are coming up for you, for you and your business.

Unknown Speaker 26:29
So I know that

Unknown Speaker 26:32
the weddings that people are still pushing their dates ahead every day, I think I’ve talked to one more bride that. She’s like, no, I’m sorry, we have to move. But I completely understand. That’s no problem. But it is getting busier this year with the wedding. So they’ll start

Unknown Speaker 26:49
about a month they get really heavy. So right now I’m kind of like training some new staff. And that’s kind of exciting because there’s that one girl that’s been working for me for years, a million years. But I do have some new staff. So that’s, that’s fun. I like having new people to show how to do stuff. right way I like.

Unknown Speaker 27:14
Awesome. So Trinity inks from Nova Scotia. How can people find your business and how can they learn more about you, you can email me, Trinity’s or visit my Instagram page, just Trinity’s florals, and there’s like a link to my email on there as well or you can message me that way. That’s great training. Thank you for being on the show. Thank you very much. All right. We want to help your business bloom. Check out more episodes of flower shop secrets. Watch now on YouTube, like subscribe and ring the bell for new episodes.

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