Attention to detail and proactive marketing can increase sympathy bouquet business

Most florists I know enjoy designing sympathy arrangements. As a flower shop owner, funeral work can be an important part of your income stream, but as a designer, sympathy arrangements are oftentimes an opportunity to make a larger, fuller design and flex your creative muscles.

All funeral arrangements – from casket sprays to memorial wreaths to showy floor pieces to “something small and nice the family can enjoy” – involve a level of personalization and care that’s specific to sympathy work. (And if we’re being honest, sympathy work is satisfying because you get to create beautiful work, yet you don’t spend months and months planning the designs, like you would with a wedding or event.)

Have you been to a funeral without many flowers? I have, and it was noticeable. Not just because I’m a florist, but because beautiful flowers add warmth to the environment, and they are a visual tribute of the love and joy experienced in life. Funerals should have flowers.

At times, grieving family members are looking for a very specific floral tribute to honor their loved one-the logo of a favorite sports team in white carnations, for example, or the exact shade of pale pink roses once carried in a bridal bouquet 50 years ago. But most of the time, while some color and flower preferences may be requested by the customer, floral designers get to create sympathy work from the heart and even have a little fun, too.

I often talk to florists who tell me they love sympathy work and really want to do more of it, but when I ask them what they’ve done to market their funeral work, the answer is usually the same – nothing!

So how can you capture more funeral business? Here are five tips:

  • Build a relationship with local funeral homes. Go to the source and find out what your customers really need from you. For example, is it flowers they need or service with empathy and compassion?
  • Create a portfolio of sympathy work that includes prices so customers can see the style, size and cost of what you’re offering. (We all know that funerals are expensive so don’t make them wonder how much this is going to cost.)
  • Enhance your customer service experience for funeral work. Create a comfortable area for clients to peruse your portfolio, and give them undivided attention when taking their order. Offer condolences and reaffirm that you’ll take good care of their order.
  • Different cultures have different funeral customs so if you live in an area where you can cater to local customs, then make those offerings clear.
  • Finally, remember this: funeral work happens on short notice! Florists have to be able to get fresh flowers quickly to fill orders if you intend to add sympathy work to your floral services. Always handle sympathy orders with empathy and keep doing beautiful work!