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A View Point, As I See It

What I love most about going to Floral Expos and Conferences is the time I get to spend with other floral designers and shop owners. For the most part, I find them to be hard working, talented, thoughtful and extremely ethical.  

Take weddings for example; there are many elements above and beyond the retail cost of a flower that we need to be compensated for. Spending time helping them with their floral selections, typing up proposals, visiting locations, ordering and designing the flowers not to mention delivering and set up of all floral elements. I've said it before and I'll say it again, wedding work is extremely rewarding but nothing takes longer than the wedding flower process. 

We deal in a highly artistic, perishable product with both design and pricing largely left up to our interpretation. As for pricing, each owner has to operate their business in a way that not only covers their costs but allows them to reinvest in their staff, their equipment, their product line, etc. Just as in any business, we must follow good and fair business pricing and business standards. Our customers trust us to do the best possible job for them at the lowest possible price. I have always prided myself on not only making brides feel comfortable with the process but also taking the time to educate them on how and why things cost what they do. I’ve assumed that other wedding vendors treat brides and their families the same way but perhaps not.   

During a conversation with a fellow florist recently, they said something that I have to admit shocked me. They casually mentioned that they “add a few zeros” if the bride is having her wedding at a high priced venue or if she has spent “a lot” of money on her wedding gown. I think my mouth must have dropped open because I was honestly floored. After I recovered, I told them that what they are doing is wrong. What brides fear most is being taken advantage of. I expressed that the ethical thing to do is charge her based on the  flower selection, the size of the arrangements and the work involved to deliver and install the decor. These elements are what determine how much wedding flowers should cost her.  

I came away with that conversation shaking my head but also patting myself on the back. No matter how tight times have gotten, no matter how many times a bride might have been less than nice to me during a consultation, it has never occurred to me to take advantage. A bride might even expect me to do it but hopefully after getting to know me, they know that's the furthest thing from how I operate. I live for referrals, good reviews and thank you notes. Taking a short term view to make a little extra by adding some zeros… well, that’s just not my way.  
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