|Poised for imminent relocation|
General selling options for flower growers as far as I can see are: direct to customers either as individual orders or at markets and fairs; wholesale to market or florists; to shops as bunches for resale; to establishments such as hair salons, bed & breakfasts, restaurants/cafes for prettifying their premises. All of which give different levels of returns, of course.
|Early summer mixed bunches ready for sale|
I have to concentrate on finding retail outlets to sell on bunches or places who want to use fresh flowers on their premises and on getting my name known in the local area for direct sales. These may be the most difficult options as I have to do all the legwork, getting posters and flyers out into the world, passing on business cards, giving away freebies to friends and visiting what I think are businesses who fit the customer profile. Many people say how pretty the flowers are, how interesting the business sounds and wish me good luck but 99.9% of the time the compliments don't translate into sales, regular or one-off. Which is a little disheartening. It doesn't help that the product has such a short shelf life, I suppose. However, last week I had two orders for bouquets, one from a previous business card & freebie recipient and the other from a person who'd bought a bunch of my flowers at the local shop I sell to. Which is more than a little encouraging!
|A precious direct sale!|
|A wonky stemmed bunch posing by the back gate|
I also have to consider the market I'm selling to. My corner sweet shop takes a few bunches of sweet peas two or three times a week for which I charge a minimal price because it's no effort for me to deliver and because it's a local corner shop - people don't go in to spend big money. The wholefood shop likes stocking my flowers because they're attractive outside the shop but there is a limit to how much the shopkeeper is prepared to pay because he knows how much he can sell a bunch of flowers on for. In direct sales it's hard to know what to charge. I'm not a florist so I can't charge florist prices and anyway, the point is that I am a local grower selling to the local area. It may well be that I underprice and overfill but so be it! I'd rather people were happy with getting value for money and maybe that will encourage word of mouth growth of business.
While I ponder on all this, this song from the distant past seems suddenly relevant : If I grew them, who would buy my sweet red roses?