As the CEO/Ambassador of the California Cut Flower Commission, I speak to a lot of florists from throughout the country who tell me that they love California Grown Flowers, but they just don’t have the access they would need to make a greater offering to their customers. I use the term “access” to describe a variety of reasons that can be mentioned by a florist that range from transportation costs, their wholesalers don’t often offer enough California Grown, price or specific varieties of flowers that California may no longer grow in great quantities (like carnations). However, the demand for “American Grown” products is on the rise, especially when it comes to food. So, with more and more people making “buy local” decisions with their stomach, buying locally grown flowers is a natural connection that more and more people are making.
“Ten or 15 years ago, the organic label was more important to our customers,” Gallo told The Huffington Post. “But we started to feel, over the last five to seven years, that our customers were more interested in buying produce that’s local.”
So, to help encourage you to “turn the petal” and make 2013 the year that you offer and promote your homegrown flowers to your customers, I offer you these three reasons to consider:
1. Encourage People to “Buy Local,” Because You Are Buying Local
Are you asking your customers and members of your community to “buy local” and shop at your store, but offering foreign flowers? Mind this detail! I’m not saying that every nut and bolt in your store has to be “Made in America” or every flower, but if you’re a local florist, complement and build your brand on offering and promoting locally grown flowers. Connect those dots and let your customers know that you’re taking care of these important details for them and thank them for buying local. They’ll thank you.
2. Because its Trending: Origin Matters
I get a lot of questions on what the new flower trends are, what new varieties are coming out, etc. That’s what our industry talks about. However, consumers don’t ask these questions. They look at price, appearance (not to be confused with quality) and now they want to know where it comes from. Increasingly, “origin matters.” So, why not get ahead of this curve and help your customers identify with where your flowers are coming from; feature the farmer. There are not so many farms in the United States that you can’t be on a first name basis with the farmers that you or your wholesaler are buying from.
Consider this statement from the author of the “50 Mile Bouquet” Debra Prinzing when she says, “Flower farmers are the new rock stars.” Associate your store’s local relevancy with these farmers in the field and sell the authenticity of your local store by selling locally grown flowers.
3. Because it Makes a Difference
This year, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to be of service to someone else throughout the year. Not just one time, but pick a person and help them with whatever they might need all year long. I want to make a difference in someone’s life in 2013. What kind of resolutions did you make for 2013? Are you focused on make a difference this year? Did you know that simply buying locally grown flowers could make that difference? In this economy, that one decision could make a big difference in the life of our farms here in California and throughout the United States. According to a recent Economic Impact Report that we commissioned, it found that $.92 of every dollar our farms earn goes right back into our economy. Now that is the kind of return on investment that this country needs right now!
You Can Do It!
Going local certainly needs to be a conscientious decision. It needs to be done with purposeful intent. It needs to be done to tie who you are and what you want your shop to represent and be known for in your local community. With foreign flowers representing 80% of all flowers sold in the United States, you’ll certainly differentiate yourself. When you focus on buying local, you’ll be able to standout with offering and promoting flowers that are unique, fresh and environmentally friendly. However, depending on where or who you buy your flowers, you’re going to have to ask for locally grown flowers. Make it known to supplier that you want to go local in 2013 and insist that they source locally grown. Depending on who you are buying from today, you’re request for change will likely get some push back, but don’t be discouraged. They can do it and you can do it!
So, make this year the year that you buy local, because you know that origin matters and that with each locally grown flower you buy and sell, you’re making a difference in 2013.
Is buying more locally grown flowers your goal in 2013? What opportunities are you seeing? What challenges will you face?
Consider using the following hashtags when you’re promoting local: