Ideas and strategies for making the coming holiday your most efficient and profitable ever

By Nita Robertson, AIFD

Flowers and plants have long been the top gifts to express love and appreciation on Mother’s Day—cut flowers and arrangements, outdoor bedding and garden plants, flowering houseplants and foliage houseplants, in that order. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), other top gifts are greeting cards (not much of a “gift” in my opinion but still No. 2 in the rankings of top Mother’s Day “gifts”), which are followed by special outings and experiences, including anything and everything from brunches and spa treatments to classes and workshops, hikes and picnics, and even trips (in third place).

According to the Society of American Florists (SAF), Mother’s Day is the second-largest “single-day” holiday for florists, falling just behind Valentine’s Day, and it generates a significant portion of many florists’ annual revenue. And because it is such an important and busy holiday for florists, organization, successful marketing strategies, quality products, and exceptional customer service are key factors in not only maximizing sales but also creating satisfied customers.

Blue Jasmine Floral

A survey of people who purchase gifts for Mother’ Day, conducted by NRF, revealed that in 2023, those consumers planned to spend, on average, $274.02, marking the highest spending for Mother’s Day gifting in the survey’s history. Consumers in the 35-to-44 age group emerged as the top spenders, with an average spend of $382.26 on Mother’s Day. This presents a lucrative opportunity for florists, provided they approach the occasion with a selection of gifts that resonate with consumers in this age group but that will still be appreciated and desired by their older moms.

Holiday Insights from Successful Florists

Twisted Stem Floral Design, in Crystal Lake, Ill., is known for its “edgy yet elegant” offerings. The shop’s top sellers for Mother’s Day include modern bud vases and upscale, contemporary arrangements. Unlike competitors who typically cap prices at around $100, Twisted Stem has found success in offering higher-end options. According to John Regan, M.F.A., Ph.D., owner of Twisted Stem, the key is to present the dream and its associated price tag before assuming a client can’t afford it and/or won’t be willing to pay the price.

“[Industry icon] Rocky Pollitz [AIFD, AAF, PFCI] spoke at a Teleflora conference in the mid ’90s, and she mentioned that the biggest hurdle to selling higher was a sales staff that sold only at prices they themselves could afford,” Regan recalls.

John Regan, M.F.A., Ph.D
John Regan, M.F.A., Ph.D

“Our wraps are far and away the best-selling items for us,” notes Meg Blancato, co-owner and vice president of Native Poppy, a retail florist with two stores in Southern California—San Diego and Solana Beach. “One reason is that there’s a nostalgia about flowers wrapped in paper that resonates with people, and another is because whoever is gifting them knows that so-and-so ‘has a million vases at home.’ But the main reason, by far, is price. Wraps tend to be less expensive and, therefore, sell more. The two best-sellers for Mother’s Day last year were our classic wrap, named ‘Mum-Believable,’ and our all-peony wrap. Peonies are the most requested flowers year-round, and they are gifts from the flower gods that just happen to be in season during Mother’s Day.

Native poppy wraps
Native Poppy

“We do so much prep work and post-holiday analysis every year for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, and after eight years in the business, we feel like we have a pretty good handle on how to make those weeks go more smoothly,” Blancato continues. Here are four of her top suggestions.

RECIPES: “We write recipes only for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, and it’s a game changer for the volume we do. It really encourages efficiency by streamlining design guidelines.”

MENU OFFERINGS: “We create a specific ‘menu’ of designs for Mother’s Day, and we offer those items only for the weekend of the holiday. This narrows the options for our customers, and because the number of designs is limited, we’re able to produce more arrangements more efficiently and streamline our purchasing for those final days of the holiday.”

ONE COLOR PALETTE: “We offer almost the entire rainbow of colors and flowers year-round, but for Mother’s Day, we offer flowers only in a monochromatic single-color palette on the menu. This also helps with flower ordering and reducing waste.”

GIFT ADD-ONS: “We offer Mother’s Day-specific flower and gift ‘bundles,’ which makes online shopping easy for customers and raises our average-order value.”

“All of these things help us increase our profitability by enabling us to order only the ingredients we know we’ll use and the approximate quantity we’ll need based on projections for what we’ll sell,” Blancato concludes.

gift add ons
Native Poppy

Marisa Guerrero, AIFD, vice president of the family-owned Debbie’s Bloomers, a retail and event florist business in El Paso Texas, points out, “It takes lots of hard work to develop a reputation of trust in your community, and providing gorgeous, long-lasting flowers is one part of doing that. I recommend focusing on flower types and varieties that ‘speak to you’ but are easy to care for, and then designing them with your special flair.”

You’ve heard it a million times: Preparation is the key to success. “It’s as true for Mother’s Day as it is for anything else in life,” Guerrero continues. “Preparation begins the moment the holiday ends. Previous years’ notes will be worth their weight in gold (or profits) when you use them to streamline your processes for the following holiday. This information will aid you not only in purchasing flowers, plants, and containers and other supplies but also determining your staffing requirements and scheduling as well as what you are going to sell and how much you are capable of producing—and so much more.” Guerrero strongly encourages the hiring lots of extra drivers for Mother’s Day so that orders can get out the door quickly and be delivered in a timely manner. Wouldn’t it be great to have all deliveries out by 3 or 4 o’clock on Saturday afternoon?

Guerrero also advises that in the weeks and months before the holiday, “Gather everything you will need, and organize your workspace so that everyone will be able to move around and access essential supplies easily. Put any items that won’t be used during the holiday in storage. Create additional space for holiday designers to work, for production-line designing, for processing tons of flowers and for organizing deliveries by route. Furthermore, all sorts of tasks that can be done in advance, such as making bows, filling water tubes, bagging chocolates, folding delivery and flower boxes, and so on, should be started weeks ahead of the holiday. This will enable your design team will be able to work more efficiently during the week of the holiday, which translates into fewer overtime hours.”

Four Key Strategies for Maximizing Sales and Profits

DESIGNING IN MULTIPLES: Efficiency becomes paramount during peak seasons like Mother’s Day. Designing arrangements in multiple units at one time emerges as a reliable strategy to streamline operations and enhance profitability. Crafting a few standout designs that can be replicated with ease optimizes time, resources and labor. This not only simplifies the production process but also ensures consistency in the quality of the designs.

“If your clients love great vase arrangements, like mine do, order ready-designed bunches of foliage that are easy to cut and drop into vases,” Guerrero recommends. “Ready-made foliage ‘bouquets’ ensure that dozens of vases can be prepped for flowers in a matter of minutes, and it’s something that almost anyone can do. In 10 minutes, you can have 50 vases ready to be filled with flowers without breaking a sweat.”

SIMPLIFYING CUSTOMER OPTIONS: During the bustling week prior to Mother’s Day, simplification becomes a powerful ally. Making it easy for customers to make decisions more quickly can be achieved by narrowing the number of arrangement options you offer. By carefully curating an eclectic collection of designs, you can ensure that, even with a limited number, you will have options that will appeal to a wide range of tastes. This also will enable you to focus on perfecting key designs and streamline your purchasing of flowers, containers and other supplies, both of which foster efficiency and profitability.

“One quick tip is to create a QR code and post it several places throughout you store so that customers can view your selections while they wait for sales staff to help them,” Guerrero offers. “We also produce a small catalog in which we showcase our collection of holiday designs. Usually, it’s about 12 pages long and features 15 to 20 designs. The selections are the same as those in the Mother’s Day section of our website. We use Canva to create the graphics and use the catalog cover image as the QR code.”

PROMOTING EARLY DELIVERY: Unlike with Valentine’s Day customers, Mother’s Day shoppers are often more open to a range of delivery dates, and sending flowers early enables recipients to enjoy their floral gifts throughout the days or entire week leading up to Mother’s Day, transforming the single-day holiday into a multi-day-long celebration. This approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also gives you more time to fill more orders.

PROACTIVELY MANAGING INVENTORY: Anticipating popular flower choices based on historical data and market trends will ensure that you will have an ample supply of in-demand flowers. In addition, selling from on-hand inventory, especially as it gets closer to the big day, helps reduce the risk of having a great deal of excess stock after the holiday.

Jeanine Mesias
JMB Haute Floral Design

Mother’s Day Marketing Strategies

Early Promotion

• Start promoting Mother’s Day flower arrangements early to capture early shoppers and encourage early ordering.

• Launch teaser campaigns on social media and through email newsletters to build anticipation.

Mother’s Day Collection

• Curate a Mother’s Day collection of varying styles of flower arrangements, in a range of price points.

• Highlight special designs, personalized options  and gift bundles.

Social Media Campaigns

• Run engaging social media campaigns with Mother’s Day-themed content, such as polls, contests and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your flower arrangements being crafted.

• Leverage the power of social media to showcase your Mother’s Day collection of arrangements.

• Encourage customers to share their Mother’s Day experiences and tag your flower shop, for increased visibility.

Email Newsletters

• Send out regular email newsletters featuring your Mother’s Day collection, promotions and ordering details. Include captivating visuals and compelling copy to entice customers.

Collaborations and Cross-Promotions

• Collaborate with other types of local businesses, like spas, salons and restaurants, to offer joint promotions. Create package deals that combine your flower arrangements with services or products from your partner businesses. For example, customers who purchase a certain value of flowers could receive a discount voucher for a spa treatment or a free appetizer at a nearby restaurant.

Online Ordering and Same-day Delivery

• Ensure your online ordering system is seamless and user-friendly.

• Promote same-day delivery options for last-minute shoppers.

• Ensure seamless and timely delivery by promoting flexible and early delivery options.

• Send delivery notifications to give customers peace of mind.

Gift Certificates and Flower Subscriptions

• Introduce Mother’s Day gift certificates, allowing recipients to choose their preferred flowers, plants or other gifts.

• Offer “tickets” for upcoming workshops you may host, including a discount for multiple ticket sales.

• Promote a range of flower subscription options, with weekly or monthly deliveries for a specified period of time—one, three, six or 12 months.

gift certificates for floral workshops you may offer.

In-store Promotions

• Create dazzling Mother’s Day-themed displays in your store and windows, including a section of specially curated gifts for the holiday.

• Create and publicize exclusive in-store deals and promotions to attract walk-in customers.

Customer Testimonials

• Encourage satisfied customers to post positive reviews and testimonials on Google Reviews (you’ll have to establish a Google Business Profile first); your Facebook Business Page, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, Trustpilot, Foursquare for Business or other business review websites you choose. Make it easy for happy customers to do this favor for you by providing them with a card on which you list your preferred review sites and instructions for accessing them. This will also serve as a gentle reminder for them to actually post a review.

Community Engagement

• Participate in local community events or sponsor Mother’s Day-related activities to increase brand visibility.

Leading up to and following the holiday, track the performance of your marketing efforts, analyze customer feedback and adjust your strategies accordingly for future holidays.

Jeanine Mesias
JMB Haute Floral Design
woman holding flowers
John Regan, M.F.A., Ph.D.,

Tips for Navigating the Mother’s Day Rush

Plan Ahead

Start preparing well in advance by ensuring you have enough inventory, supplies and staff to handle the increased demand. Anticipate the volume of orders, and make sure you have streamlined design, sales and delivery processes in place. Refer to past data for accurate predictions of sales and staffing requirements.

Early-ordering and -delivery Enticements

Encourage customers to order their Mother’s Day floral gifts at least a week in advance, and provide incentives for them to do so—discounts, free add-on gifts, free delivery, etc. Apply the same concept to promote early deliveries—May 6-10, for example.

Extend Store Hours

Make it convenient for customers to call and visit your store by extending your business hours during the week of May 6—say, till 7 p.m., and be sure to promote this heavily. Being open for additional hours can help alleviate the last-minute rush by giving customers more time to shop and order during the week prior to the holiday.

Extra Staff

If possible, hire extra staff to assist with sales and customer service, design and delivery. Providing friendly and immediate service can more than offset the cost of doing so by enriching customers’ experiences whether they order in store or by phone.

Streamline Deliveries

Organize your delivery routes, areas and times to maximize efficiency. Utilize delivery management software to help streamline the process and keep track of orders.

Communicate Clearly

Clearly communicate cut-off times for ordering, delivery schedules and any special instructions to customers, as well as explanations for your policies. Be careful, though, to not be too restrictive; after all, it’s all about customer convenience. Make sure your website, social media platforms, and in-store signage provide all the necessary information. This will help manage customer expectations and avoid any confusion.

Suggest In-store Pickup

Present to all customers the option for them to pick up their orders from your store, and consider offering them an enticement for doing so. This can reduce the strain on your delivery resources. Make sure, though, that the process will be quick and convenient for customers by allowing them to choose a pickup time, establishing a designated pickup area in your store and even offering curbside pickup.

Mom and daughter


The history of Mother’s Day can be traced back to ancient times, but the modern celebration as we know it today has its roots in the early 20th century. Here’s a brief time line.

In centuries Before the Common Era/before Christ (BCE/BC), the Greeks and Romans feted goddesses of motherhood such as Leto, Cybele, Ceres, Rhea and Gaia, and later, throughout the Common Era/Anno Domini (CE/AD), Christians have honored the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ, on various days, some of which have carried forward into modern times.

In the 16th century, the English began celebrating “Mothering Sunday” on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Originally, it was more about the church than mothers—a day when people returned to their “mother church.” Over time, it evolved into an occasion to honor mothers with gifts and visits—most notably in the early 1920s, when Constance Penswick-Smith, inspired by the efforts of Anna Jarvis in the U.S. (see the next paragraph), created the Mothering Sunday Movement in the U.K.

The modern Mother’s Day in the United States began with the efforts of Anna Jarvis. Following her mother’s death in 1905, Jarvis campaigned for a day to honor all mothers. Her efforts led to the first official Mother’s Day observance in 1908, which she organized in Grafton, W.Va. Jarvis worked tirelessly to have Mother’s Day recognized as a national holiday, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day, making it an official U.S. holiday in the U.S. May 10, 1914 was the first official national observance of Mother’s Day in the United States.