Creative Ways to Cut Business Costs and Increase Value

Every business is different.

But every business is the same in that saving money and increasing value is a huge goal.

In this episode of Flower Shop Secrets: Summer Survival we chat with Stephanie Romanowicz and Trinity Ings about the creative ways they cut costs while increasing the value of their product and brand by Foraging for their Floral Inventory.

  • What is it?
  • How does it work?
  • How can you safely and sustainably make it work for you and your business?

Our Lovingly Momentmakers share their tips, tricks and insights into the world of foraging.

Give it a watch!

How Can I Apply This Idea of "Foraging" To My Own Business?

“Foraging” doesn’t just apply for floral businesses! 

Finding unique and inexpensive ways to not only personalize your product but also save both you and your client some cash is never a bad idea.

The best part about every business—they’re all unique.

Reducing supply expenses is one of the best places to start for any business. Whether your business is in florals and gifting or software and computer chips, creative ways to cut down expenses are always available. Look outside of your typical suppliers and come up with unique and cost efficient ways to keep prices low. 

Your marketing strategy is such an important aspect of your business. It’s how your customers, both current and prospective, see you. Both Stephanie and Trinity don’t just use their floral foraging as a way to cut costs and save resources, but they also use it to their brand’s advantage by offering a unique, one-of-a-kind product.

Focusing on quality because quality sells. Higher quality and a solid reputation allows you to charge higher prices, which equals higher revenue and a healthier bottom line. Stephanie and Trinity set an incredible example of focusing on quality, both in their products and their services. Satisfied customers increase sales through referrals and repeat purchases!

Some Quick Floral Foraging Points

Creative Solutions, Saving Money for Client and Market Demands

“You can save your shop a couple $100 every week by foraging by growing sustainable flowers in your own gardens, or in your backyard of your shop, on your roof of your shop, anywhere.” –Stephanie

Foraging for your floral inventory doesn’t just help save money for both you and your client, it also provides a unique touch to each piece that you couldn’t get anywhere else. 

“You know, that can really help you over time, create a better product for your client because it’s fresher. And because it’s your own product. And also, you know, give your shop the sustainability to not always be so reliant on a wholesaler to ship in.” —Stephanie 

Unique and Authentic Arrangements for Your Brand

When you forage, you’re more likely to use things you wouldn’t typically find in a floral arrangement. Things like blueberries from the backyard, grapevines, all of these unique pieces increase the value of your product because it’s not something you would typically see, it’s different. 

Foraging Tips, Tricks, How-To’s (and Precautions!)

  • Wear bug spray! 
  • Make sure the area where you’re foraging isn’t protected wildlife (you’d never want to go into a state forest and take anything)
  • Don’t take more than 30% from wherever you’re taking it from. The 30% rule is so important because you’re looking for something that’s sustainable. Taking 30% away from a plant will help it grow 60% next year.

More About Our Guests

Stephanie Romanowicz from Foraged Floral of Cape Cod

Though foraging requires careful attention and staff training to identify what natural surrounding greenery is suitable and safe for orders, it is also a helpful practice to turn to in a pinch – like, when you run out of purchased product, you can turn to your parking lot or neighbors’ backyard to create beautiful, unique arrangements.

On top of creating one-of-a-kind foraged designs and supplementing materials for sustainability, Steph also shares her advice on how to build a strong brand and serve customers within her Cape Cod community, stressing that she’ll do just about anything for her clients.

Steph is a huge supporter of The Floral Reserve, a great resource for any florist nationwide looking to import the best quality locally grown flowers while supporting small flower farms in the Northeast. 

In true Foraged Floral of Cape Cod fashion, Stephanie forages to meet inventory needs. In this episode, she also reminds us of certain precautions when foraging, such as the importance of wearing lighter clothing and bug repellent on foraging trips, being careful of ticks and other harmful pests, and remaining sustainable and mindful, taking only what is needed.


Trinity Ings of Trinity’s Florals in Nova Scotia

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.

Despite unexpected challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Corrine and her team continue to run Details Flowers with optimism and forward progression, always keeping open communication with her customers and keeping their needs in mind.

Full Episode Transcript

I love foraging because it is the fastest way for me to save my money. I can go out into the woods and cut 12 branches off of an Andromeda bush and save my shop $100 worth of greenery for that week.


Steph  0:00  

I love foraging because it is the fastest way for me to save my money. I can go out into the woods and cut 12 branches off of an Andromeda bush and save my shop $100 worth of greenery for that week.


Joe Vega  0:15  

Lately, I have noticed more and more florists are starting to forage for flowers. But what exactly is foraging? And how can I assist you in saving money? Where do you go forage? How can you throw it in a safe and environmentally friendly manner? In this episode of flower shop secrets sermon survival, we will learn the answers to those questions from some savvy business partners. Let’s go. It’s summertime in the floral industry, which means plenty of opportunities to grow your business. Our goal throughout this mini series is to not only help you get through the season, but also gain valuable insights from professionals in the industry, the floral community and our Lovingly team. Welcome to Flower Shop Secrets: Summer Survival. Watch now on YouTube, like subscribe and ring the bell for new episodes. 


Question for you what is foraging,


Steph  1:09  

we go out into the woods and we find all kinds of things sticks, greenery, flowers, anything you can get your hands on and incorporate it into your arrangement. foraging is something I’ve been doing since I was a little girl.


Joe Vega  1:24  

Can you tell me more about that


Steph  1:25  

my mother has been a teacher for 45 years. And she is a strong proponent of outdoor learning. And so as a child, we would go out into the woods and we would pick up birds nests said all kinds of crazy things. And we would make these little terrarium out of them. And I just thought that it was the coolest thing. And now I get to do it for a job.


Joe Vega  1:49  

Okay, so you just go out to the woods and you just go foraging for things that you can bring back to including your arrangements. Yeah. That sounds awesome. Like how do you pick which woods to go into? Like, how does that work? Do you have your favorite spot or like, yeah,


Steph  2:04  

we have spots. Um, I literally keep field notes. If I see a pack of daffodils, and it’s, you know, in a state forest or in, you know, public land, I’ll put a note in my phone and I know to go back there.


Joe Vega  2:19  

Do you keep the space secret? Like if you find a good time? 


Trinity  2:22  

Yes, Ido. 


Joe Vega  2:23  

Oh, there you go.


Trinity  2:25  

I do. Like you’ve picked that. Where did you get it? I’m like, I just found it. I don’t know.


Steph  2:33  

I worked for I worked for a designer who’s been in the industry for 25 years, and she has a parking lot behind a business that she goes to every weekend and cut screens for high end weddings. I mean, like the $1,000 weddings and all the greenery is from the side of a parking lot. That’s,


Joe Vega  2:51  

that’s inventive. That’s pretty cool.


Steph  2:54  

We have beautiful gardens on my property. And you I do cut a lot from home. Um, but my neighbor’s yard have beautiful blueberry bushes and I’ll cut blueberries when they’re in season, just things that you wouldn’t expect to be in an arrangement or what makes them so much more interesting.


Joe Vega  3:13  

That makes for some pretty unique arrangements. Then


Steph  3:16  

next week, we’re going to go out and get daffodils for our daily arrangements. And we have a big garden of daffodils, tulips, hyacinth muscari. Everything that seasonally available is what we want to offer our clients right now they may have it in their garden, but most of our clients are not going out to cut it. And we do offer that as a service. We’ll come to your garden and we’ll help you you know plan with someone a cutting garden and arrange your own flowers. That’s we’ll love to do that. We have like almost like a scavenger hunt type list of like what we want to get for different weeks. I’m always greenery greenery is the easiest thing to find. But definitely seasonal flowers. It’s hard to know what’s safe and what isn’t. So having someone to guide you and let you know what’s really great and lasting arrangement is so important. It can be dangerous. We got really bad poison ivy as a team last year. You have to be careful, I’ve pulled so many ticks off me this year. It’s crazy. You know, definitely wear like bug deterrent when you’re going foraging. I am very lucky that like a lot of places that I forage are right in my neighborhood right in my backyard. So I don’t really have to worry too much. But anywhere you see big animals like deer, wild animals is where you’re going to see bugs that could hurt you like parasites. You know mosquitoes you have to be careful of definitely cover your arms, cover your face, cover your head. Make sure that when you go out into an area, it’s not protected wildlife protected, you’d never want to go into a state forest and take anything and when you do forage you never want to take more than 30% from wherever you’re taking it from the 30% rule is so important because You are looking for something that’s sustainable taking 30% away from a plant will help it grow 60% next year, so you’re not, you’re not taking so much away that it doesn’t have enough like leaf structure and hardiness to grow bigger next year, you’re just taking enough for that week, I would break my heart if I was throwing away greenery that I had forged myself. So I always think about that, like in terms of my waist, don’t get greedy. Just take what you need. Because you can always come back and circle back and grab more if you need it. It’s right here for you. But if you take too much, it won’t be. So that’s another important, like, you know, lesson about foraging is just being mindful of how much you take.


Joe Vega  5:40  

So since since you are foraging at that level, how do you keep your design on target when you have variation of flowers? You because not everything blooms on schedule at the same time, right? No?


Trinity  5:50  

No. So I mean, you know, I just kind of I just know when something is going to be in bloom, you know, and I kind of know when, you know, depending on the weather, like I know, when all the peonies are going to be blooming and where the local ones are, you know, like I just kind of, I have that kind of schedule in the back of my mind. That part is easy. That part comes easy. Just knowing when to cut stuff and what’s in bloom, and when and when I can get what I need and how to keep it fresh.


Joe Vega  6:22  

Do you feel like you’re getting more business? Because you forage?


Trinity  6:25  

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. So you would you describe your designs as uniquely Cape Breton?


Joe Vega  6:51  

are you creating a unique brand for your work,


Trinity  6:54  

I do have a couple this summer, and they’re 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 on some wall, I think I can do that. Because I can get local for you. 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 the 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.


Joe Vega  7:33  

Because you’re you’re not doing it for every day and is for a particular event. Do you like Plan A foraging trip? Like, a few weeks before the event? Like how does that work? What is what is the logistics? If I do I


Trinity  7:47  

make a schedule for myself like, okay, Monday, I’m going to do this Tuesday, you know, if I know something is happening on on a weekend, I’ll say Thursday, I’m going to go cut all of this, and this is how much I need a bit. And you know, so I really wait till as close as possible, unless it’s just like some bear branches or some grapevine. And I know I need to make like a larger structure. Because there are some people who grow grapes, grape vine, and you know, they have their like, I just cleaned out my garden come get all the great, fine. So it’s it’s nice, because people know I do that. And no one’s everyone’s fine with it. Like, you know, I do tell the brides and stuff sometimes I do have to, you know, find stuff. But I do that. Yeah, so people will call me and they’ll say, you know, I have this? Do you want it? You know, are they they know, they spied something, you know, they’re like, I saw a patch of whatever here, you know, go grab it. Because they know I got lucky.


Joe Vega  8:44  

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?


Trinity  9:00  

Is there a sense to that? Or, well, um, 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 a little add ons. And especially if I have like I said, especially if I have to make like a larger structure for their ceremony or something. I do tend to walk out of the woods even close by with a large pile of branches. There was one bride that just this past year, she had a small ceremony and she had this moon shape kind of built. And I was like 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 gonna be at from the woods.


Joe Vega  9:52  

And they’re fine. 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. Is this 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.


Trinity  10:10  

Um, 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, when if something does happen that that you need to go find something, I think it just kind of just should go for us. You know, you have to, you have to be creative, you have to be on top of things. And you have to like, like 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.


Joe Vega  11:01  

I’m sure they appreciate that. Yeah, I think so. Yeah, absolutely. So what percentage would you say I know, you probably have to guess what percentage would you say is foraging versus, you know, getting flowers from wholesalers? What would you say that is


Steph  11:19  

between 60 and 70% is the wholesaler and the rest gets covered by just me find and so you can save your shop a couple $100 every week by foraging by growing sustainable flowers in your own gardens, or in your backyard of your shop on your roof of your shop anywhere. You know, that can really help you over time, create a better product for your client because it’s fresher. And because it’s your own product. And also, you know, give your shops and sustainability to not always be so reliant on a wholesaler to ship in or to go and get products when you have stuff right in your backyard. This year, we made a list with a local horticulturalist and she came to our two acre property. And she came out with a sun meter and follow the sun all over our yard and found the best spots for us to grow in raised beds, and to incorporate perennial flowers and greenery into our existing gardens to supplement our flower shops with what we hope will be $5,000 worth of product for the summer. So we’re really excited about that.


Joe Vega  12:27  

Sup, guys, so my son, Noah and Noah, say hi. Say hi. He’s half asleep. We’re on our way to Cape Cod to go to go in forest for flowers. It’s going to be interesting to see how it goes. It’ll be a lot of fun. I know. You’ll wake up soon.


Steph  13:06  

Look at that one out there. eautiful can crow native raspberry look beautiful today to see careful.


But these will all have berries on them.


Mushroom cube. Let’s see we’ve got beach plum back there. This is what I would be putting


Joe Vega  13:32  

English ivy and the Spanish ivy. 


Steph  13:34  

Yeah, I mean,


they just don’t have a very long baseline out of water so I can cut them and sell them to a client because I’m calling them today or tomorrow. But they won’t chill them and then rehydrate them they don’t live like that. They don’t have as hearty of a base life. They’re not commercially grown. Either Beach Club. Most of us have the first few. The first few Yeah. We do. Yeah, I mean, but the first few is really why I would stop at this particular area. But there’s white pine over there. There’s Holly. Um, I mean, there’s a ton of stuff I could use Not right now in this season, but yeah.


Joe Vega  14:19  

So this is just so the kids can look at turtles?


Steph  14:23  

Yeah, this is so the kids can look at turtles


Joe Vega  14:26  

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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