"I'm now chomping at the bit to make changes", said one florist following last year's Vision conference. This year's event promises to be just as thought-provoking, inspiring, empowering, and interesting with a breadth of topics from costing and logistics to marketing in the digital age, targeting millennials and 'sexing up floristry'... Yes Vision '16 is set to have it all!
To book your ticket to this year's conference which takes place on April 17 in Leicester, visit bfa-vision2016.eventbrite.co.uk.
Here’s a snippet of what went on last year in '20 Things we Learnt at 2020 Vision' part two. Read part one right here!
When Paul Poelstra, founder of Flowerweb, took to the stage at last year’s Vision conference he explained that every single stage of the flower chain adds value to the end product; from the farm to the importer to the florist plus everyone else in between. He said “In the past, the only people able to change the system by cutting out middle man were supermarkets, but now, the internet is turning the industry upside-down and quickly.”
Paul really stressed that a florist’s secret weapon is storytelling. “Florists can differentiate themselves by telling stories and sharing information that supermarkets can’t.” By finding out the back-story behind where your flowers come from and who your growers are, you can share interest among customers. For example, if your roses came from a Florverde Sustainable Certificated grower, why not share the fact that by buying them, your customers will be helping vulnerable children in Colombia.
Paul also pointed out that times are moving quickly, so today, anyone, anywhere can see what’s available online. So the whole order line has become far more transparent. In the past, florists could only see what an exporter had bought, now florists can see what exporters can buy and at what price. “More transparency means more power to the grower, because they can now track exactly where their flowers are going and can decide who they’re selling to and at what price.”
The conference generated much enthusiasm from the floor, with florists sharing a wide range of their own business tips. For example one florist said, “It’s essential to have a good website. You’d be surprised at how cheap and easy it is to do. Our website is invaluable and means we get a lot of online orders out-of-hours. In fact 60% of our online orders are placed out-of-hours, and many of the calls we take begin with customers saying ‘I’m looking at your website…’”
On discussing business expansion and sending orders afar, one delegate explained, “We have a courier company to box and send flowers, it’s very profitable.” Another took the mic and said, “We have a turnover in excess of £300K per year, and we’re able to be creative. We’re not stifled by products laid out for us. We’re in a very emotive business and everything we do is a part of us.”
Images of different designs are becoming more and more important as flower businesses become more web-friendly, online competition grows stronger and Instagram rapidly expands. Our delegates shared photography tips, “We go to the woods and take photos with an ordinary camera and they look good!” Another said, “We have a blank background in the shop, we make a bouquet and leave it there to develop through week so its flowers can open up and we can photograph it at its best.”
BFA President Brian Wills-Pope shared an empowering statistic in his speech, “Florists DO have power. 7,000 shops and studios makes us twice the size of Tesco and its branches.”
Mike Bourguignon, ninth generation florist and Managing Director of Florint – International Florist Association, spoke last year on what makes up an association’s DNA. He explained that membership benefits, networks, government relations and education are all part of joining an association, stressing that the role of education is essential for the development of future florists, common national standards, added value for floristry and a supply of workforce.
*In 2016 Mike will be taking to the Vision stage again, but this time sharing his wisdom on selling to millennials, ‘The blooming future – florists, consumers and the new change’.
Manfred Hoffman spoke on behalf of the FDF German Florist Association and stressed the importance of moving away from traditional perspectives. He said, “We should focus on innovative strategies, new marketing concepts and unusual floristry techniques, combinations and designs. Florists have a creative, professional level that is far from the simplified mass product of supermarkets.” Each company is unique and individual. Consumers really love this right now so make the most of the surge in popularity for independents.
Delegates shared tips, tricks and motivation from the floor throughout the conference. Everyone loved Dennis van Wonderen’s clever marketing ploy, who had a sign outside his shop saying, "Today’s offer! Buy 2 bunches for the price of 2 and get the 1st bunch free!"