Despite the existence of a flower called an “Easter lily,” the spring holiday has not been the boon to florists that it once was.
In 2015, the last time SAF surveyed retail members about Easter sales, 41 percent of respondents reported significantly fewer transactions than the previous year—a downward trend that’s held steady for much of the last decade. Some attribute this to a general decline in church attendance. Many blame grocery stores’ increasingly broad floral selections (and low prices) for encroaching on florists’ territory.
Josette Vest, owner of Bloomers Floral & Gift in Bloomfield, New York, refuses to concede the holiday. To get customers thinking about Easter flowers, she’s hosting “Wine and Design,” a BYOB flower arranging class, the evening of April 11. The class of 12 will make an arrangement for the following Sunday’s celebrations. “These will be tall and cool pieces,” she said. “They’re not your grandma’s baskets!”
Vest is no stranger to teaching—she’s given demonstrations at a nursing home and garden club—but this is her first time hosting on her own turf. She’s confident that the homey atmosphere, decked out in spring ornamentation, will get customers excited for Easter and convince them that flowers enhance the holiday.
“My shop is pretty small, so participants will be able to see it all—plants, flowers in the cooler, cards, gifts, etc.,” Vest said. “The problem is that we don’t get walk-ins any more. I’m on the main street of a small, one-light village that’s become very quiet.”
Besides inciting appreciation for Easter flowers and décor, Vest believes exposing people to floral design in a relaxed setting with snacks and adult beverages will make them think of Bloomers as a fun and engaging business worth visiting regularly.
For more ideas for hosting a design class, check out “That’ll Teach ‘Em!” You’ll find best practices whether you want to work with kids, groups of girlfriends, or aspiring florists.