Yesterday, CBS News shared a story on a new company that advocates “sharing centerpieces” from one event to another. On the surface, this may seem harmless, even smart…an attempt to appeal to the millennial mindset that values minimalism…But here’s the thing, flowers aren’t Uber or Airbnb.
As a lifelong florist, selling flowers to one client and then re-selling the same flowers isn’t just an ethical conundrum; it’s bad for business.
The sharing economy has its place, but as a floral designer for over 23 years I am simply not able to get around the fact that in this “sharing” business model the florist is contracted to RE-SELL the same exact flowers to another customer the following day. This is simply not how florists do good business. Once flowers are sold, that’s it!
Here’s what Forbes says about companies that are geared toward the sharing economy:
“What’s fascinating is that the company is rarely the actual service provider; instead, they act as facilitator, making the transaction possible, easy, and safe for both the provider and the user. They break down the barriers that otherwise exist to starting a business or a “side hustle” for many people and make it both easy and lucrative to participate in this collaborative economy.“
While it may be lucrative to sell the same flowers twice, it’s not reputable.
Reputable florists should not sell designs at full price to one client and then offer a meager 10% refund or buy-back on those flowers so that they can be picked-up and RE-SOLD for an additional profit the following day.
How many clients will now question whether that florist will re-sell their flowers after breakdown even if they don’t choose to participate in sharing with Client B?
Does this florist also sell old flowers? Where’s the line?
Florists sell each stem only once. That’s the transaction. That’s the business we’re in.
“Buying back” so we can re-sell the same stems is not an option for a brand with integrity…even if the idea behind it is to re-purpose or re-use. If you want to repurpose or re-use, donate the flowers to a hospice or nursing home, deliver them to a charitable organization or give them away freely to family, friends and waitstaff who dedicated their evening to serving your guests.Integrity brands deal in honesty. They rely on the trust of ideal clients to thrive. Click To Tweet
How can you have an integrity brand and sell the same flowers twice?
Even if you can somehow get around this fact, which bucks all trends of professional retailing, i.e. you don’t sell the same item twice, what does this say about the value you place on your own work?
How does one have an integrity brand and approach Client A regarding buying-back their centerpieces with the intention of reselling them?
How do you value your work and time and skill and provide a quote for $1,800 for centerpieces, and then tell Client A your work is only worth 10% of what they paid you, and then explain that you’ll then be re-selling the flowers they’re taking $180 bucks for and making an additional $900 on top of what they already paid you?
I’m serious. How does one do that?
You can’t. You simply cannot. You cannot and you should not.
Oh, and if a bride’s aunt wants to take home a centerpiece, she can’t….because the clients accepted 10 cents on the dollar from another company so you, their florist, can retrieve the flowers, refresh them and resell them.
If you’re not sure what I’m talking about you can watch a feature on the company below:
But wait, before you watch… Brace yourself, flower lovers. You’re about to hear flowers referred to as “so wasteful” and “just thrown in the trash”…not the kind of P.R. florists are really looking for, of course…
which bring me to another HUGE reason why this is bad business for florists; in order to sell this service, the company has decided to amplify the idea of wastefulness and the wrap that flowers are SO expensive, which means they purposefully use the exact opposite messaging than that of a floralpreneur who’s passionate about her/his craft and wishes to demand a higher quality and higher price for your work and your art.
You cannot sell “high-end” and “wasteful” in the same breath.
And you certainly shouldn’t list the full retail price of Client A’s centerpieces on a website, complete with inspiration photo, and then show the new “low, low price” Client B will pay for the same flowers. It does nothing but devalue your work and this is exactly how the sharing connection is made by this company; by showing how very much Client A pays and how very little Client B will pay.
An educated buyer would hear this offer and say, “hey, I’m paying $1,800 for my centerpieces, but I’m only getting $180….that doesn’t even cover the cost of my bouquet!….My florist, however is going to make another $900 off of the flowers I already bought….this doesn’t feel good…and I don’t get to keep any of these flowers!”
Click below to watch the story, yet again, blaming the florist for being “one of the most expensive parts of a wedding”…
The moral of the story….
Don’t compromise your brand and established reputation for the chance to make a quick buck….which by the way, won’t actually be quick at all. By the time a florist returns to Venue A around midnight to pick up the centerpieces, returns to the shop to rearrange or freshen the flowers, returns to the shop in the morning to re-deliver the flowers to Venue B….it’s been a very long weekend.
Keep doing beautiful work, floralpreneurs!
Value your time.
Value your expertise.
Keep raising the bar.
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