Not for everyone! Three things Jenny does not do. November 03 2017, 0 Comments

Owning a business is tricky, in different ways, for everyone who tries it. In addition to competition, regular business routines and handling surprises or crises, you're often fighting yourself. Aspects  of your personality that didn't really matter in the good old paycheque days can throw things way off for an entrepreneur.

I've got a bit of a shady past as a people pleaser. I would double, even triple down on  efforts the more someone seemed not that into me.  (If you're not currently doing this, I do NOT recommend it, haha.)

It's taken me a few years of businesslady life but I am finally breaking out of this lifelong habit.  

So here we go.

Guess what? 

My flowers and I?

NOT FOR EVERYBODY! 

Hooooo hooooo feels good! 

Here's what I do not do: 

1. I'm not the cheapest in town.  With 3 big box stores, 3 grocery stores with floral departments, 3 larger florists' shops and a friggin Costco within a three minute drive, my one-woman shop can't compete on giant volume wholesale discounts.

I can't bang out 10 ultra budget weddings per weekend, or get away with selling plants below cost and counting on battery, leaf bag and paint purchases to bring up my bottom line.  

Instead? I tend to provide what one of my customers calls 'fewer, but nicer' flowers per bunch.  I try to mix it up with a few different bits and bobs every week, use local flowers in season, work in a garden style, and bring in some flowers you're not going to find at the bulk places.

I was tickled pink when the Costco lady stopped at my booth to ask  the names of my different flowers at a wedding show last year. 

2. I don't offer many plants.  This one hurts. I'm a plantswoman by trade, I got into floristry through a horticulture program. But live plants do not work well in my shared space with a bakery. Bugs near food? Ew!  The health unit inspector buys birthday cakes here- I am not messing with a good thing!

And I can't justify the prices I would have to charge to turn a profit. You can get plants below my wholesale cost at the big box stores 2 blocks away.  So plant availability is sporadic. And mostly limited to Christmas and Mother's Day.  Sadly, I am not for them. 

3. I don't use any 'wire service'. FTD and Teleflora? And the order-gatherer call centres who frequently dominate their listings? These companies take 20-30% of customers' money for 'service fees', and frequently call in orders from different time zones at lowball rates. This makes your flowers a) way too skimpy  b) way too late for the funeral. 

Wire service companies are responsible for the cookie cutter online catalogues that make every florist look the same, even though everyone's style and selection is different. 

Wire service membership fees basically charge florists to pit large grocery stores and order gatherers against themselves, while making everyone seem beige and lame and same. 

So I am taking a stand. 

Suck it, Teleflora and FTD. BOOOOO wire service. BOOOOOO!

Long story short: A few potential customers have become legit agitated and upset with me when I explain that I have no catalogue of happy face mugs, and I'm just going to look up a good florist in their loved one's town. With the internet. 

I AM NOT FOR THEM. 

The lady who needed to send funeral flowers to a small town in Nova Scotia, cried on the phone and told me 'God bless you, there are actually still good people in the world' when I looked up a well-reviewed local florist for her? 

I AM FOR HER. 

So, now that I have thrown my tantrum and refuse to do things... what DO I do? 

1. Something a little different, custom made for you! I used to say "not your Grandma's flowers"... but I've had a few ladies in their 70s and 80s tell their kids my flowers were the nicest they have received.  I wear that as a badge of honour!!  Grandmas welcome- if you're ok with getting a little natural and a little wild!

2. You like to support  small business? Baby, I'm as small as it gets! (that is my joke. I am 5'1.  It looks funny when I stand beside really tall people) 

Seriously,  I care about keeping as much money in local economy as possible- so I try to buy through local growers in season, Ontario(greenhouse) grown year round,  and order directly from florists in other towns so the money goes to their local economy instead of some corporation HQ in the States. 

3. While I'm not the cheapest wedding florist around, I know what it is to live the budget life! When you send me your inspiration photos and pinterest boards, I'll  focus on the flower and style elements that inspire you, bring in ringers where needed and cut out what's unnecessary. We'll  maximize your chosen budget, no matter the size, to best show off your style and venue on your big day. 

4. If you need something that I know is not my strength, I'm happy to recommend the best place for you.Obviously I'd love to put on my monopoly man hat and monocle and swim in a tub of gold coins, but at the end of the day, I want you to be happy with your flowers. And I can't make everyone happy, so I'll send you to the best fit for what you need.  As a much wiser florist than I once said " there is a florist out there for everyone".