Talk about instant inspiration and return on investment. Two days after attending the Society of American Florists’ 1-Day Profit Blast in St. Louis, Kim Brannan was back at Stems Florist setting up a terrarium bar, a new in-store concept she’d heard about during the event.
“SOOOO excited to announce the Stems’ Terrarium Bar is opening Wednesday! Stop by anytime and create a terrarium that is ‘Uniquely Yours’!” wrote Brannan on the shop’s Facebook page just two days after Profit Blast.
Alongside the text? Some truly gorgeous shots of the shop’s new area. Customers were clearly enthusiastic about the addition to the store — the post was shared more than two dozen times and customers were clamoring for more info.
“Two people have already stopped by and we booked a private session for five people for next week,” Brannan said, noting the bar only officially opened Wednesday morning.
It’s an exciting outcome that doesn’t surprise Derek Woodruff, AIFD, CF, PFCI, one bit. Woodruff headlined the St. Louis event with his presentation, “Tiny Houses, Big Design Opportunities,” sponsored by Syndicate Sales. The session touched on topics such as connecting with millennials and creating in-store experiences, including terrarium bars, that set florists apart from mass market competitors.
“Florists used to be a necessity,” Woodruff told the more than 60 floral industry members from 13 states who gathered in St. Louis for event. “You had to call a florist to send flowers to a funeral or you had to go into a florist to get anniversary flowers. Nowadays, it’s different. If you don’t evolve and bring in experience, the florist dies out.” (Woodruff also shared his experiences in sourcing and marketing plants to customers in the July issue of Floral Management.
Beyond Woodruff’s presentation, attendees also got valuable info on social media marketing, the secrets to finding hidden profits and best practices in customer services, along with a Supplier Showcase. See photos from the event, here.
“Profit Blast opened my eyes to a much bigger game I could be playing in my boutique floral business,” said Kelly Jurotich of The Crimson Petal in St. Louis. “The classes offered practical and affordable options to grow my business to a more successful and sustainable company. I cannot wait to implement many of the ideas I had, and recommit to my social media presence.”
Cory Parolin of Irene’s Floral Design, also in St. Louis, agreed. “It was well worth the investment of time and money,” Parolin said. “I learned a lot, especially about the marketing and business ends of the business, and it’s always great to meet other florists and compare notes.”
Highlights from the day include:
Personalize that pitch. Crystal Vilkaitis has worked with thousands of business owners to help them save time, gain confidence and increase local exposure, foot traffic and sales via social media. Vilkaitis presented “The Social Selling Mindset,” and argued for more personalization in social media marketing. “So often brands post pictures of what to buy, instead of asking [customers] questions,” she said. “Go back to your social media over last several months and see how many times you ask questions.” Another tip? “Add your name at the end of your replies to comments,” she suggested. “This works extremely well for local independent shops.”
Stop stuffing. During “Treasure Hunt: Finding Your Hidden Profits,” financial advisor Derrick Myers, CPA, CFP, PFCI, said many shops fall into a profit-sucking cycle when it comes to cut flower inventory. “Flowers come in on Monday,” he said. “On Thursday, it’s looking like there are some extra flowers, so designers start putting more flowers in the arrangements, but at the same prices. Friday, the arrangements are really getting stuffed, so all of the flowers get used. Then the buyer sees an empty cooler on Saturday and orders the same amount for the next week.” That cycle leads to lost profits, inconsistent work and ultimately dissatisfied customers, Myers said. The solution? Inventory control and recipes. “Flowers dying in the cooler are way better than flowers being overstuffed into an arrangement,” he explained. “That way, you know you overbought and will adjust for the next week.”
Yes, we can. In “Delivering the ‘Wow’ Factor,” Art Conforti, PFCI, owner of Bloomerang Solutions, argued that customers don’t “always have to be right, but they have to feel heard.” At the flower shop he ran for three decades in Sarasota, Florida, Conforti pioneered an always-say-yes policy that he has since shared with other industry businesses. “At Beneva Florist, you’re not allowed to say no,” he said. “You must always say, ‘yes we can.’ If the call the day before Valentine’s Day and request delivery on the holiday, the temptation is to say we can’t get it done. Instead, we say, ‘I understand you want flowers delivered. Due to the orders that came in before yours did, we’re completely committed. However, I can create a beautiful arrangement for you to pick up in the store.’” The message: Find a way to get to yes.
Couldn’t make it to St. Louis? Don’t worry! Additional SAF 1-Day Profit Blasts will be held in Boston on Sept. 23, sponsored by Jacobson Floral Supply; and Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 4, sponsored by Bill Doran Company. Want an even more immersive educational experience? Join SAF members from around the county for SAF Palm Beach, the association’s annual convention.