Top 3 Uncommon Resources to Amplify Your Floral Inventory Episode 20: Flower Shop Secrets

How are you preparing for the holiday rush?

For a second time, Stephanie Romanowicz from Foraged Floral of Cape Cod joins us in this special episode of Flower Shop Secrets. We talk about how to plan for Mother’s Day, how to work with wholesalers, and how to forage and shop from local farms. Let’s go!

Quick Summary

Key Takeaways

  • Preparing for Mother’s Day
  • Finding Dependable Wholesalers
  • Connecting & Shopping with Local Farms
  • Investing In Your Own Product & Foraging

More About Our Guest

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.

In her own words, Stephanie provides us with so many more practical tips and tricks for ordering and securing flowers in order to meet supply needs and demands:

“Local wholesale is great if you can shop the floor and pick out your blooms. Stay away from wholesalers that won’t let you inspect your products. Try unpacking with the drivers there and sending back issues as they arrive. This is easiest when you have extra hands on receiving days.

Find out what days they receive shipments. This is so important! Know what day they receive their different varieties and get them to your shop rather than sitting out of water or mauled by other shoppers. Always send your claims right away. I include a photo of the overall bunch as well as close ups of damage. Your profit margin is so tight this year. DO NOT PAY FOR DEAD FLOWERS.

We take advantage of ordering a lot of ship-ins. Our local wholesalers are not convenient and do not offer everything we need regularly. We have standing orders with farm-direct distribution companies to allow us some flexibility to shop local but also keep our favorite products available year round. We primarily use Hilverda DeBoer. We also buy direct from Mayesh; they have some great tools: flower library, planning tools and our favorite option, the budget “pull”. A color palette of flowers and greenery assembled by them with the best product you will find. It really is fun and exciting to have new or interesting products to try. We regularly shop our local curator of local flowers at The Floral Reserve. They ship nationwide!

Shopping Local farms

As things have changed around the world with farms closing or being destroyed by nature, our focus has been and will always be shopping our local farms. We have found most of them through word of mouth. Another resource is a garden group on Facebook in your local area. You can also ask the wholesalers at your local branch if they have any farmers bringing in local products. We have established a relationship with our local growers and commit to purchasing a quantity every week. For instance, we commit to dahlias for $200 a week from July to October. We commit to local assorted blooms from another farm for $300 a week. We place standing orders and pay additionally for delivery every week. This helps them plan year after year for production and helps us to have consistent fresh flowers. If you think wholesale flowers last… fresh lasts so much longer. One stem of anemone or hellebore can last a month!  If you are unable to find a local farm, I highly recommend placing an ad in your local paper or on craigslist and asking the community if anyone is willing to grow for you, that is if you are not committed to growing for yourself.


Investing In Your Own Product

This brings me to my next and probably most important section, for I am a new farmer florist and learning my way through this process. I have been growing and foraging my entire lifetime. I hired a local horticultural gardner who helped me establish a garden plan for under five hundred dollars on my two-acre space. Growing at home will allow me the flexibility and oversight as to what goes on with my crops. My investment this year in growing will be under five thousand dollars, but you can absolutely start smaller than that and purchase a few perennial plants each year until you can afford to get yourself more established. These plants will help you reap the benefits of their purchase the first year you buy them. Some of our favorites include: Pieres (commonly known as Andromeda), Lecothe, Abelia for year-round greenery. These hearty bushes will grow fast and allow you to cut often. Remember to cut using best horticultural practices; never shave or hedge your bushes this will damage the coveted ends that we florists delight in using in our vases. There is an amazing guide in Floret Flower Farms’ book “Cut Flower Garden” this book includes seasonal growing tips.


We forage constantly. In every season. Even with feet of snow, we can forage andromeda, white pine, juniper, and evergreens. In the spring, we find Daffodil abundant. We are sure to always collect from public land and never wipe out an area. Never take more than 30% of a section. We found this great tool for getting long stems to use in vases. In the summer, we cut tons of hydrangeas. This helps them grow bigger, more beautiful blooms the next year. Here is the advice we follow when cutting hydrangeas. 


Overall, we all have to be more conscious of ordering only what we need, ordering as consistently as we can and being a positive force in our community. We regularly share boxes of flowers with neighboring shops. We take trips to the market with or to get products for other shops nearby. We all share and spread love with each other. We talk like coworkers; we get together, we rejoice and despair with each other. My flower community gives me hope and joy every day. We have connected more this year than ever, and having to slow down allowed us to strengthen our bonds as we weathered this storm together. A rising tide lifts all boats.

Full Episode Transcript

In what world? Can you go in your backyard and save $100 in five minutes?

What’s up, everybody? This is Joe Vega, and welcome to another flower shop secret podcast and today I’ll be speaking with Steph Romanowicz from Foraged Floral in Cape Cod in Osterville, Massachusetts. Thank you for joining us Steph. 

Steph R  0:00  

In what world? Can you go in your backyard and save $100 in five minutes?


Joe  0:06  

So the big question is this. How can small business owners like us in the flow industry overcome the greed of order gatherers and bypass that the sefa games played by wire services?

How do we market sell and deliver flowers online? So we may break free from these antiquated practices and earn our freedom.


Joe Vega  0:28  

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. 


Joe Vega 

What’s up everybody? This is Joe Vega, and welcome to another flower shop secret podcast and today I’ll be speaking with Seth Romano. It’s a forage floral in Cape Cod in Osterville, Massachusetts. Thank you for joining us Steph. 


Steph R.

Hi, Joe. 


Joe Vega

So today is a bit of a historic episode for us because it is the first time we’ve ever we’ve ever had a returning guest. And we wanted to have you back because the last time you were on, you provided us with excellent, excellent insights, particularly around foraging. And with Mother’s Day rapidly approaching, we wanted to gain additional knowledge from you. You ready? Here we go. Awesome. So with with Mother’s Day quickly approaching How are you preparing for this year’s Mother’s Day? I started preparing a month ago. So for any shops who have not started preparing a month ago, that’s okay. I just have PTSD from last year. And my best focus of working through that is to over prepare. Um, we are stopping all of our shelves with bases, you know, triple the numbers we did last year. So we have them on hand we don’t have to worry about them. We have called our wholesalers we are shopping with multiple wholesalers this year instead of putting all of our eggs in baskets with one wholesaler. We are dribs and drabs all the best from the best people who provide it. And we are looking forward to record breaking sales this year with lovingly and we’re, we’re going to kill it this Mother’s Day. That’s, that’s great to hear. That’s a shameless plug. Great job now.


Joe Vega  2:15  

So you know, right off the bat, just for to provide our audience a little bit of value. I know you just told me everything that you’re doing for prepping but what what advice would you give other foreigners who may need extra help this holiday? 

Steph R.

Um, we have had great luck on Instagram, you know, just calling out our favorite customers and saying, hey, do you want to do some work behind the scenes leading up to Mother’s Day, our flowers are going to come in about six days before the holiday. Like I said in our previous episode, we do not chill anything, we have nothing in coolers we are fully fresh and fresh out. And six days is our magic number. It’s not too long, and it’s not too short. And if we have any delivery hiccups in terms of the products getting to us, we know that we have enough time to pivot, where last year we had so many issues with product flying into us with airport issues. And, you know, flights being delayed and things of that nature. We’re prepared this year to get stuff from our local wholesalers, which were not open last year, as well as getting clients. So we will be processing flowers Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We can call on our you know, local family and friends. We can post stuff on Facebook jobs, which is a great resource and just say, you know, day labor, X amount of dollars per hour, you know, I give my bonuses to delivery drivers. I tell them right off the bat, if you show up on Saturday and Sunday, you can extra 50 bucks just for showing up. So, um, that’s a good incentive to get people to show up on holidays when you’re super busy. And you don’t have the regular staff is just, you know, show people you appreciate them financially. Everyone likes extra cash. Absolutely. I would hope like I mean, obviously they they definitely appreciate that, right? Yeah, of course. But a lot of times you have people who are like on the fence about whether or not they even want to make it through your door. Because it’s a new experience for them. I’m coming from management background, I have managed people in all different, you know, work related zones. And I find that the hardest thing is just to get them to show up. So they might be on the fence for whatever personal reasons they have about whether or not they want to come and help out a flower shop that they’ve never worked in before that 50 bucks gets them here. Once they’re here. They’re in love. They come back every single holiday. We have five girls coming back from our mother’s day last Mother’s Day because they had so much fun. And what do you get your flowers from? Right? Because you have different sources, you have wholesalers, you you go foraging and there’s Can you talk about that a little bit? What resources we have three ways that our flowers come into the shop. Um, foraging is always number one. And we’ll talk a little bit about you know where to do that and we’re safe to do that. What


Steoh R.  5:00  

To check for when you’re doing that, um, but we do ship in and we do local. So last Mother’s Day, due to our state restrictions, all of our local wholesalers were closed. So we were relying entirely on shipments. And we built a great relationship during COVID with a company called healthcare data for their a Dutch flour line company. They also ship in from South America and from California. So they have a great vast network of growers and farms, and you’re ordering directly from a farm. So you’re not getting product that sits in a wholesale for five to 10 days and then comes to your store. It’s coming directly into your store from a farm, they cut it on Wednesday, it’s at my door on Tuesday. So if you think about the life of a dead flower, and how long you can keep it, it is exponentially longer when it’s fresh cut from a farm. So if we couldn’t can at all, and it’s possible all of our flowers would come from Elberta from schepens. Um, we also utilize another wonderful company in California called mash. And they do direct box lots from farms, they also will do what they call a poll. So you tell them a color palette and a value that you want to spend. And they will pull the best selection that they have on their wholesale floor and ship that to you. Both companies are incredibly, highly recommended by many florists in the industry for some of your staple items that you need. We also work very closely with the floral reserve, they are in Providence, Rhode Island, which is only an hour from us. And she sources from all local farmers. So as opposed to big farms across the world. We’re working with a network of farmers. That’s right in our, you know, very close proximity to our shop. And she works with I think 20 farmers, right in New England for anywhere from New Jersey to Maine, that ship into her hub, and she will ship out all over the country. So she’ll package up the best product that New England has to offer, and ship it to California to ship it to Wisconsin and ship it anywhere in the country. And what you’re going to get with her with semia and the team over at the flow reserve is exquisite products that you will not find at your wholesalers. These are boutique farms that specialize in things like we’re not kilos, hellebores anatomy, the quality is just outstanding. And the fact that it’s fresh cut means that you are going to have a longer based life and your clients are going to enjoy it for longer because it’s not coming from another company on an airplane to us, it usually just comes FedEx next day.


Unknown Speaker  7:53  

Sounds like these are wonderful sources. Yeah, absolutely the best of the best or I wouldn’t be sharing them. So even with all use different sources, no matter where you get flowers from timing is incredibly important, right? It’s all about the timing.


Unknown Speaker  8:06  

How do you how do you manage just in time inventory and ensure that you have enough and like what do you do when there’s a gap in that process? Typically, I mean, we get shipping every single week from Alberta. And we set a limit of how much we want to spend per week. And then we divide out that by like, you know our products. So if we get our products in Tuesdays and Thursdays, we want to make sure that we’re we’re replenishing. And so if we need 500 roses on Tuesday, we probably want to make sure that we have 500 more on Thursday, things of that nature depends on the volume of your shop. But we find that the recipes that lovingly offers as well as having a recipe in house for our regular arrangements that we use really helps us keep control of our like quantities and making sure that we’re replenishing so we know that if we’re selling, you know, 20 basses a day this is X amount of roses X amount of stock, X amount of filler flowers, and greens, XML and then we can kind of do it mathematically almost spreadsheet version of you know how much we’re going to need each week to fill our orders.


Unknown Speaker  9:12  

That’s great. So it’s sourcing sounds like a key differentiator for you. So you spent a great deal of focus on it. Is this one of the ways you remain unique to your customers?


Unknown Speaker  9:22  

I think we remain I mean any florist can source flowers. It’s a numbers game. It’s just basic, you know High School maths to get what you need into your shop and keep an eye on not buying too much so you’re not wasting your profits. Um, that I think what sets us apart is the quality and the people that we sourced from that sell us better quality heal. Berta has an absolutely amazing network of farmers that grow the best flowers in the world. That’s why we work with them. Anyone can buy a rose for $1.25 a stem at any flower shop


Unknown Speaker  10:00  

But the difference between me getting that flower from a farm that specializes in that breed and that variety of flower, the quality is exponentially better. You know, they’re testing that one variety for decades to make sure that they’re getting the most petals, the longest spaceflight life, the longest stem thornless stems, and the smells are just incredible. You know, people walk into our shop, and they say, Oh my god, it smells so good in here, they don’t even see the flowers from the front door. But before they can get to where we keep our flowers behind the counter, they can smell the quality of our flowers.


Unknown Speaker  10:37  

I think that’s what sets us apart.


Unknown Speaker  10:41  

That that’s fantastic. You guys also partner with local farms, right? Yes, what makes a good local farm better than another. So most of our specialty farms in our area, they will focus on working on five or six different crops that they are great at. They have like, like the international farms, they’ve been working with these specific varieties for so long, that they have really developed a sense over time of how to make them better, and how to produce the best possible quality. Um, if you’re looking for a local farm, I highly recommend getting on Facebook and looking at local gardening groups.


Unknown Speaker  11:20  

Look, recently, we’ve had a lot of like local farmers who want to grow dahlias, those have been very popular. They’re wonderful, but they have horrible baselines. And so, you know, be careful, because you might have a farmer who thinks that they’re the best at growing daffodils, daffodils have like a three day baseline, that’s wonderful that they’re great at it, but you need something that’s also going to be the same quality that you expect in your international and your local wholesalers. So um, you know, we try, we try and steer away away from like fat farmers, and look for sustainable farmers. Maybe you have a Gerber Daisy farmer, or a cow or carnation farmer, or


Unknown Speaker  12:00  

we have a woman up the street, she’s literally two seconds from us. And she specializes in lilies. And so we will work with any of those and give them the I think the best tool is to give them a set budget, say, you know, I want to spend $250 a week at your farm every single week. Either you can deliver or I can pick up, you know, work out those semantics, but keeping a consistent amount of money, not necessarily variety. Because, again, flowers are produce. So whatever is the best quality is what you want to offer your your clients, you don’t really want to cater to your clients, you want to cater to, you know what the farm is able to offer you and then your clients will end up understanding that they can appreciate the better quality versus, you know, they really love hydrangeas, that’s great. But this farm specializes in lilies and their lilies are astounding. And they work. You know, they work in a vase for 10 days. And who doesn’t want a lily who lasts for 10 days versus a hydrangea that’s getting flown in from another country for three days. So, you know, you kind of have to educate each customer that these farm flowers are very special and unique. They’re not something that you’re going to find in every flower shop, you’re only finding them here because we have this relationship with a beautiful farm right up the street. So that’s one example. But we have also like changed gears a little this year and tried to work with adding some perennial flowers to our own garden so that we can cut them for the shop as well. So that like long term sustainability is what we’re working towards. Great. This is an interesting point. It sounds to me like you prioritize what’s available from locally, and then you create a demand off of that. Yes, absolutely.


Unknown Speaker  13:46  

Okay, so that that’s the second way wholesalers local, but there’s also a third way, probably my favorite way. And that’s foraging, right? Yeah, I lost origin. So we are forged floral, that’s what we do. And moving towards that sustainability that we were just talking about. 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.


Unknown Speaker  14:20  

And, you know, we’ve talked about this in the past, but that bottom line is sometimes only 30%. So if 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 product when you have stuff right in your backyard. So this year, we made a list with a


Unknown Speaker  15:00  

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 shop with what we hope will be $5,000 worth of product for the summer. So we’re really excited about that. Yeah, so talk to me about that a little bit. You had somebody come in to measure the sun, technically, she hadn’t. I mean, she’s a professional horticulturalists.


Unknown Speaker  15:35  

She works in


Unknown Speaker  15:37  

her permaculture, which is perennial gardens and permanent, you know, adding to the landscape.


Unknown Speaker  15:44  

And I’m probably saying that wrong, because I’m so bad with gardening. But, um, yeah, she was very amazing. She had an app right on her phone to measure where the sun is at all times of the year. So we can get maximum sun exposure, or if it’s a crop that needs shade, to make sure that we’re not going to burn it in the wrong place in my garden, because I have a tendency to do that. Um, and then we talked about, you know, what products will last year after year and continue to flower and continue to produce. So making a smart investment for long term usage in our shop. So our list had and dromeda of course, because that’s my favorite green, lots of Andromeda. We’re doing three varieties of hydrangeas, whereas zone seven, so zone seven is known for hydrangea. Um, we’re gonna do some kameel. That’s an annual, but it comes back pretty prolifically every year. And it’s a great filler flower. It’s very similar to the Monte Cassino that you see in a lot of different you know, standard arrangements. Monte Cassino is like a staple. Um, it has a great fragrance. It’s great for all different things. So we’re excited about that. And then we’re also adding some Adobe into our shade gardens, which will cut year after year, and hellebore, my absolute favorite flowers, hellebore are going to be everywhere in our gardens, we’re growing six different colors. And those come back with 14 inch stems from last year we have this year. I mean, they just keep coming. So that’s going to be a great investment to add 20 more plants to our garden because we know that next year, it’s going to be 40 more plants. And the year after that it’s going to be 60 more plants, those plants divide and multiply every single year. So we are going to have such a great product to continue to offer our clients that’s growing right on our property.


Unknown Speaker  17:32  

It sounds like you’re very excited. I’m so excited.


Unknown Speaker  17:38  

Was there anything that you wanted to grow that you know, you couldn’t grow? Eucalyptus? Yeah, yeah, Eucalyptus is such a staple in in like the flower market right now. It’s so trendy. And zone seven is not great for Eucalyptus. As a perennial. It’s great as an annual. So when we were looking at planning our gardens, we just decided to Nix it off the list because we do not have a warm enough climate for it to come back every year. Um, you know, we may grow it in a small scale during the summer, but it will never be a sustainable crop for our climate. So, you know, again, it’s a little disappointing because I love Eucalyptus. And I know so many florists will use it. But I’m in zone seven. It just wasn’t logistic for us to invest in it and grow it long term. You obviously had the mindset of a florist, but now you have to have the mindset of a farmer as well. Oh, no, I cannot be a farmer. I’m so bad at that job.


Unknown Speaker  18:37  

But like I said, my investment with working with a horticulturalist was to have someone kind of manage it for me because that isn’t my hat. And I wear enough hats, you know, bookkeeper, schedule keeper, floral order, floral designer, floral delivery driver, like I have to wear all those hats on. So having someone come in and give me a map and literally Tell me where to plant everything. And then she’ll check up on it. Like, you know, every so often we can sign a contract with her to come once a week, or whatever we need. That investment is limitless, because I don’t want to be dividing hellebore. I just want to be cutting them. So I’m having, you know, finding those resources of not just a landscaping company, but a horticulturalist, someone who is an expert in growing plants and flowers long term where they need to be, you know, any landscaping company can drop pots into your ground. But if they die, what what happens then we really wanted to make sure that we were putting things in the right places because I have dropped pots in the ground and I have killed plenty of things. So investing in that expertise that I don’t have was, you know, so valuable to me.


Unknown Speaker  19:47  

Wow. So it sounds like you have so much more confidence because you have so many choices in terms of sources, especially after they start growing right and you’re absolutely I’m feeling great about this year. Yeah, yeah.


Unknown Speaker  20:00  

You’re definitely exceeding it. That’s great. That’s fantastic. Some fire it up. I’m ready.


Unknown Speaker  20:06  

Do you see yourself being a supplier at all to other event floors? Or something like that? Or is it just for for your shop? It just for this shop? Yeah, I mean, we always share, like, I share my schepens with a couple other local florists. Um, we’ll slip boxes of roses, that’s a great way to like, you know, gain a support system in a very isolated job is to, you know, work with your local florist. We went out last night with another lovingly florist that we, you know, we refer to you guys last year. And she said that, like our relationship, and her business has grown exponentially, because we work together and we can share little camaraderie stories about what’s going on that week. And hey, do you have an extra 100? roses for this? Or, you know, are you getting anything in this color, I would like to add something to supplement, you know, a wedding or event I have. So that relationship and other relationships that I’ve had, because, you know,


Unknown Speaker  21:07  

you just don’t close the doors. Just because you own a flower shop doesn’t mean that every other florist can’t be your best friend. And we truly believe that. There’s plenty of work for everyone. If every person in this community was ordering flowers every single day, we would need 10 more florists to help them. So it’s better to make sure that everyone in your community delivers a great product because then people want to buy flowers, then have, you know, a bunch of shitty florists and you’re the only good one because then you have too much work and you can’t do it. You know, and then people are mad because you’re over overextended. You don’t have enough staff.


Unknown Speaker  21:42  

Steph, I absolutely love your mindset. That that’s awesome. The way you think about you just gave me a great idea. Maybe we should host like, you know, foraging, get togethers, exploratory, you know, have lovely, lovely flowers get together for forage. Yeah, maybe we could have like a day of foraging, like what did you guys bring back from your foraging adventure? What everyone goes and gets, we should talk about foraging a little bit though. 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. So there are a lot of things you have to watch out for. You know, don’t wear dark clothes. I know it’s great to like have your black blue lemon leggings on and go out into the woods. But it’s not great when you have four ticks on you and you could get Lyme disease. Um, 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.


Unknown Speaker  22:52  

You know, 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. And 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 enough, like leaf structure and hardiness to grow bigger next year, you’re just taking enough for that week. Um, it 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.


Unknown Speaker  24:08  

So do you do you forage for mostly greenery or, or everything in between? Like, do you everything, I mean, well, 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’s 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 would love to do that. But um, you know, we’re looking for whatever season all right now flowering branches are going to be on our list for Mother’s Day, you know, 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


Unknown Speaker  25:00  

Easiest thing to find, um, but definitely seasonal flowers. Stuff Yo, yo, we need more time with you actually.


Unknown Speaker  25:09  

There’s a lot to cover here


Unknown Speaker  25:11  

after this was so sticking to the topic.


Unknown Speaker  25:17  

I mean, overall, like I could see the confidence and you know, especially now the floor industry is, you know, I’m hearing depending on where you are, but there is some there are some issues with the supply chain. Some of our work being lost. Last year, we from our ship ends, we lost $3,000 worth of product due to an airline, an airline literally prioritizing food Over Flowers, which I can’t hate. You know, we were in the middle of a pandemic, and they said, well, the food’s going on the next plane, not the not the whole carriage of flowers. So for us, it was it was so bitter because we were like, We just lost $3,000 for the products. How do we make that up. And then we also have local distributors who shorted our orders they were choosing prioritizing between us and other flower shops who was going to get their products, which because they had no time to plan to open their wholesales, they didn’t have enough time to order enough product for all of their floors. So they were trying to divvy it up between everyone that ordered. So last year was a huge wake up call for us, we could not plan to depend on these wholesalers forever, we had to be able to supplement our product by at least 30 to 40% in future coming years in order to account for any losses that we weren’t incurring from you know, just daily issues like you know, delayed shipments FedEx not showing up, you know, all those things with shipments and with wholesalers. You know, you might go to the wholesale and years past you could buy 30 buckets of Alstroemeria we went for for Valentine’s Day and they had not one sleeve of Alstroemeria because it didn’t get to them in time. So with the country moving towards shipping more things, it has dramatically impacted the flower industry because our availability is now so much less because they literally cannot get stuff onto planes and on to freight liners because they’re prioritizing other packages that are that are just as necessary. But you know, it’s impacting our our whole industry. Yeah, I mean, I’m not saying that this impacted the oil industry, but even even ships are getting stuck now.


Unknown Speaker  27:34  

I know there’s like a there’s a funny meme that’s going around our like Boston group that says do you think this is where all the accent decor is? Yeah. penta core is like so backlogged on shipping our stuff. It’s taken them like two months to get us our basis, which is why I ordered so early. You know, I kind of meant it as a joke, because I obviously


Unknown Speaker  27:55  

flowers being there is not is probably not high, but the basis certainly like Absolutely, I you know, definitely I mean, if I remember correctly, that that that ship affected that canal anyway affected 12% of the world trade. So that’s a pretty big. Yeah.


Unknown Speaker  28:11  

So it sounds like getting all these sources like it’s really smart for florists right now to diversify, where they actually get their flowers from. Yeah, don’t put your eggs in one basket. Like I was saying, you know, shipments are not going to be our primary source for this holiday, we’re going to spread it out between shipping wholesale and our local farmers, I reached out to four different local farmers and said, I have a budget, this is what I want to spend this my color palette. Are you able to accommodate that? I’ll come pick it up, or do you deliver, you know, and, and reach out to them very early, because I don’t want to be that jerk at the last minute looking for flowers because one of my local wholesalers or my shipping didn’t arrive, I’d rather have it lined up now. Um,


Unknown Speaker  28:52  

and the same thing with bases or bases came in two weeks ago, because during Mother’s Day, we literally could not get any basis, we were going to every grocery store buying mason jars, because we were out of bases and there were no basis coming. We just couldn’t get any. So you know, you have to be resourceful and think, think in advance. You know, if you go to the grocery store once a week, buy two cases of mason jars every time you go to the grocery store, because you don’t want to show up on Mother’s Day, in a pinch, expecting to see four cases and they have not because you’re not the only one looking for them.


Unknown Speaker  29:28  

Absolutely. So that the safe play here is to vertically invest and be your own best supplier. Absolutely. Yeah, my stock piles, I’m embarrassed. But I’m not going to run out and I’m not going to turn away my customers and that’s what they’re going to remember is calling everyone else and us being able to service them. Absolutely nice, smart. Absolutely. So Steph, thank you for joining us today.


Unknown Speaker  29:55  

Like I said we could put so much time together. I’m always learning. I love it. Well where could I


Unknown Speaker  30:00  

He’s going to learn more about you.


Unknown Speaker  30:02  

Um, well, we did put together a little blog post for lovingly to share and they can find out all of the details we listed resources and some other tips and tricks and they can look at the podcast or the information that lovingly is going to be sending out. Great. Thank you so much for joining us. Bye Joe. Take care. We want to help you a business loan. 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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