When you’re buying something, do you want the best, or are you happy with faulty, substandard or shoddy?
Flowers are usually for a special event, they’re for a gift, a wedding, funeral, celebration, it’s not a time for making do. If you want to stand out as THE flower farmer to buy from, you need to have good quality control and sell only the best.
But what does that mean if you’re a flower grower?
In a commercial flower wholesaler, flowers are graded against recognised criteria and the stock generally looks like this:
Stems are bunched in regular numbers
Bunches are tied with tape or elastic bands
Bunches are cut to a regular size, usually 60cm
Bunches are wrapped in plastic, labelled and branded
Bunches are the same variety, often the same colour, with straight stems
Flowers are at the same stage of development
They are not conditioned and usually sold out of water
Question: So do our flowers need to meet the wholesaler’s criteria to be good quality?
Answer: Only if you’re selling to a wholesaler!
Each customer needs a tailored product and we need to develop our own sense of what quality is. This can be different for each grower so long as it’s consistent, easily explained to your customers and included in terms and conditions.
My criteria for quality flowers for a wedding florist is as follows:
Freshly cut in the past 24 hours
Colours as requested
Robust and vigorous
Showing movement and life
A variety of shapes and textures
Cut to be at their best in 48 hours
Will last until the event and at least 24 hours afterwards
No mould, disease, browning or droop
Conditioned and in water
The most important criteria is that they are what the florist has ordered. If the order is for a bucket of dried brown material (known as #lovelydeadcrap on Instagram), a bucket of fresh and sparkly dahlias won’t pass muster at all.
Create your criteria, understand what you and your customers value about your flowers and do your own grading when you cut your flowers. You’ll quickly begin to recognise blooms that aren’t good enough for sale. Your reputation is the basis of your business, don’t risk damaging it. Only the best are good enough for your customers. Sell top quality flowers and your customers will do your promotion for you!
Where you can find more information
Cutting and Conditioning is Module 9 of The Business of Growing Flowers
Managing Customers and Suppliers is Module 5 of The Business of Growing Flowers
Where can you find further information