10 tips for getting the arrangement you want

I like to receive flowers. I like to send flowers. They are beautiful. They convey an emotion. And after they fade, they’re thrown away, so they don’t add to anybody’s clutter.

But when the flower company cancels the order, you don’t get a second chance on one-off occasions. So I interviewed three industry experts to find out what consumers like me are doing wrong and what we can do to increase our chances of getting the flowers we want delivered.

Florists have had a tough year, said Juan Palacio, founder of BloomsyBox, a Miami-based online subscription flower service that ships more than 100,000 boxes of fresh-cut flowers per month. Bad weather in South America, where most of our nation’s flowers come from, and COVID-related issues have combined to cause a severe shortage of flowers.

Florists have felt the “pandemic pinch,” said Sally Kobylinski, owner of In Bloom Florist, a large Orlando-based flower shop. “We felt the impact on our supply chain, where we ran out of flowers, plants and durable goods (pots and vases), as well as labor. “

Additionally, flower orders came to a screeching halt last year, when many celebrations failed.

While you might think florists would bend over backwards to rebuild their businesses, some have fallen back into bad habits.

“Take what happened to you,” Palacio said of the distorted funeral arrangements I told you about last week. “The florist didn’t want to say no to the order. The store had flowers they thought they could replace. They saw that you live far away and that you probably wouldn’t be a loyal customer. It’s sad, but it happens.

But maybe not for long.

“The flower industry is going through a major shift,” said Farbod Shoraka, founder of BloomNation, a 10-year company that connects consumers directly with licensed florists. The increase in online orders has caused the number of independent florists in the United States to drop from 30,000 ten years ago to 10,000 today.

“The new generation of florists understand that the bar has been raised,” said Shoraka. “Those who want to stay in business are consistent with what they show and deliver and provide a good experience. Sadly, you still come across those sleepy florists who won’t be around for very long if they don’t step up.

Last week I gave florists some tips on what drives customers crazy. This week, my experts offered drinking tips to help us get the arrangements we want:

Order directly in store. When you order through a service, like Teleflora, FTD, or 1-800-Flowers, you are working with a broker who takes a cut (often 30 percent or more) and chooses from stylized, photoshopped images that florists try to emulate. . what they have in their cooler. “They often don’t have the flowers or the ability to conceive,” Shoraka said. Florists are forced to waste money or save money. “It is very rare to order through a broker and be surprised in a good way.

Ask what’s in the cooler. Asking a florist to imitate a photo in a flower catalog is not the best practice, Palacio said. Instead, call the florist to ask what’s fresh in the cooler and discuss what to do with it.

Discuss the replacements. “The substitution of flowers is by far the biggest frustration,” said Shoraka. Brokers at wire service companies don’t know what florists have in stock, but take orders anyway. When working directly with the store and like an arrangement featured on their site, ask, “If I ordered this, should you substitute flowers?” “

Order well in advance. If you want an arrangement with a specific type of flower, order well in advance of the delivery date, Kobylinski added. “Tell the florist that the flower is important to you and let them know if it is not available.”

Be candid about the budget. Ask the florist exactly what you will get for what you spend. If that seems too meager, adjust either the budget or the expectations.

Only work with physical stores. Today, many florists work from home and don’t even have proper refrigerators, Kobylinski said. Look up the name of the store and make sure it’s a real florist, not just an email address. Call and ask for your route.

Buy from your grocer. If you don’t have to send flowers, buy them at the grocery store. Costco, Sam’s Club, and Trader Joe’s get flowers as good or better than your local florist for about a third of the price.

Pay with a credit card. Don’t pay by cash, check, or debit card, Kobylinski said. The best hammer you have is your credit card company. If you charge for the order and something goes wrong, they are holding the purse strings and can protect you.

Read and leave reviews. Before choosing a florist, check out the store’s online reviews. If you’ve had a bad or a good experience, write a review.

Build a relationship in the store. If you can, walk into the store and speak directly to the florist. Become more than a name and a phone number. “If you have a good relationship with a florist, you are golden,” said Shoraka.

Next week, we’re going to dig into the dirty little secrets of the floral industry that every consumer should know.

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