I have no advice this week. On the contrary, I clearly need it. Twice in the past few months I have ordered flowers from a florist. I have been disappointed twice. I once did not get the flowers I ordered. The other time, I didn’t get what I paid for, in my opinion.
Am I doing something wrong or is the florist to blame? I needed to know. So I got professional help, which the Lord knows I should do more often. I called three flower industry insiders to get the dirt off.
Meet my therapists:
Juan Palacio owns BloomsyBox, an online subscription flower service that he launched in 2015. Originally from Colombia, Palacio moved to Miami, Florida 24 years ago at the age of 21 and has started selling flowers imported from her home country to hotels in Miami. Today he ships over 100,000 BloomsyBoxes of fresh cut flowers per month.
Farbod Shoraka is CEO and co-founder of BloomNation, a 10-year-old company that connects consumers directly with approved florists across the country, then bends over backwards to let them work together. A former director of mergers and acquisitions, Shoraka, of Santa Monica, Calif., Had a client in the flower industry and an aunt who was a florist. “I saw the difficulties and a light bulb came on to find out how to fix it,” said Shoraka.
Sally Kobylinski is co-owner, with her husband, of In Bloom Florist, a large flower shop in the Orlando, Florida area that they have owned for 31 years with two locations.
I had long conversations with everyone about the value and the expectations. I shared my saga.
My first disappointment happened in February. I ordered flowers for my cousin’s funeral, which I was unable to attend due to COVID-19. The funeral home recommended two florists. I visited their websites and picked one that featured a beautiful arrangement called “Treasured and Beloved” that looked perfect. I called. I ordered. I paid $ 134.
What happened was not what I ordered at all. “They used half the stems and cheap filler flowers, in this case chrysanthemums, which is the older trick, because they take up a lot of space,” Palacio said.
The second disappointment came a few weeks ago. I ordered a small arrangement for my assistant, who was a college graduate. I went to a local flower shop. I met the owner and her daughter, who works there. I met their dog. I tried to make a good impression.
We discussed what I wanted. Because they had nice arrangements on their website for $ 60 and under, I suggested $ 60 as a price. I provided a vase that they thought would increase my flower budget by $ 5. Awesome. I asked if they had any peonies. They received peonies the next day. Perfect. They cost $ 7 per rod. Note. I figured, using Marni math, that this should cover four or five stems, plus a few background flowers.
The flowers have arrived. My assistant was happy. I was not. The bouquet contained only two peonies, four stems of mini green hydrangea, and alstroemeria, a cheap flower. I felt ripped off not only because of the number and caliber of the flowers, but also because of the lack of design. I can put flowers in a vase.
In both cases, I called the florists. The first blamed the false statement on the approaching Valentine’s Day. (That was in four days.) She offered no further consideration. I left a two star review. The second florist just said, “I’m sorry you were disappointed,” adding that Mother’s Day was that week.
My experts listened and then explained what was going on behind the scenes. It turns out that the fault lies with the florists, the consumers and also the industry as a whole. Starting today, I’ll be sharing their insider knowledge in a three-part series addressing each group.
So sit down with a glass of your favorite libation and learn by my side. We’re starting this week with eight petitions consumers want from florists:
• Tell the truth.
Be clear when processing orders. Tell us what we will get for our money and let us decide if we should pay more. If we ask you to match something featured on your website, let us know if you don’t have the flowers in stock and what you can do.
• Don’t bait and change.
Give us what we ordered. Florist # 2 told me about a customer who was upset because she ordered a bouquet of white daisies. The store sent a bunch of yellow daisies, which were “beautiful,” the florist said. Without a doubt, but the customer had every right to be upset. Ask us if any flowers in the desired bouquet have special meaning or if you can substitute them to achieve the same look.
• Don’t use the holidays as an excuse.
Cancer doesn’t care if it’s Valentine’s Day. The Mother’s Day and May graduations take place every year. Stock up and staff. If you are too busy to place my order well, please do not accept it.
• Don’t clean your cooler on my dime.
• Don’t forget to design. I can buy flowers and put them in a vase. I’m paying you to do something special.
• Limit your offers. Don’t put 100 retouched photos of floral arrangements you didn’t do on your website. Only post what you can realistically achieve for the price you say. BloomNation asks the stores it works with to publish only the arrangements the store has designed.
• Offer recourse. Beyond saying sorry for not being satisfied, offer credit, send alternate arrangement, offer to add flowers.
• Remember your job. We engage you to convey a feeling – love, hope, gratitude, sympathy, joy – through flowers. “Our job”, as Kobylinski puts it, “is to convey emotions by offering a design and an experience that does not take away at this moment. We cannot forget that the people are behind these orders. “
Join me next week to find out what consumers can do to get the flowers they want.
You can reach author Marni Jameson at www.marnijameson.com.