“Established niche should be complement, not competition, to brick-and-mortar florists.”
For years, home-studio florists have represented a growing portion of the floral industry. It’s a simple fact that home-based florists are here to stay.
The world runs via the internet, and home-based florists greatly benefit from this “trend.” (I put the word trend in quotes because home-based floristry is certainly nothing new, and there are no signs of website-driven businesses slowing down.) Whether operating from a kitchen, basement, garage or some other off -site non-retail warehouse space, a talented floral designer doesn’t necessarily need a retail location if he or she has a website to serve as his/her online storefront.
I’ve noticed several florists expressing negativity toward non-brick-and-mortar businesses lately, and, frankly, it’s understandable that those who follow the traditional business model and work hard to cover monthly operating expenses might feel they deserve an extra level of respect and trust. However, the idea that home-studio florists are “less than qualified” or flat out “unprofessional” is not necessarily true.
Should people run a home-based floral design business without a business license or an understanding of industry norms? No!
But the barrier to entry into any business is greatly reduced by the omnipotence of the World Wide Web, and hobby florists can easily find resources to help them transition into bona-fide floral resellers.
So what makes a florist a florist? Is it training? A storefront? A passion for design and service? A wholesale source for flowers?
Of all the things that make a great florist truly great, the physical location in which one works is fairly low on the list. Now don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing more beautiful to behold than a truly well-maintained flower shop. The scent, the colors, and the flowers on display in the cooler all make the flower shop experience as special as it is. As a home-based florist myself, I greatly lack this sensory first impression with clients; however, what I lack in storefront I make up for in other ways. And one thing I know for certain: I do not compete with local flower shops.
Home-studio florists should complement traditional brick-and-mortar shops; not compete with them. I’ve never worked for a flower shop that does what I do, and because of that, I feel confident saying that I do not compete with flower shops. Instead, I refer business to local shops any time I can because I don’t do what they do. I don’t service the community or come to the rescue with a last-minute anniversary arrangement. I don’t make daily deliveries to the hospital to cheer sick loved ones, and you can’t count on me for same-day delivery to the funeral home. However, I do offer outstanding service and attention to my wedding clients in a way that many flower shops don’t offer with the same level of joy and ease.
There is room for more than one business model in the floral industry, and acknowledging the professionalism of floral designers who operate in different spaces is the best way to move the industry forward as a whole.
So remember to pay your taxes; get proper training, schooling or certification; get licensed; and keep doing beautiful work!