While most are still recovering from the extended holiday and the new year, the wholesale flower world is gearing up for the biggest event of the year. Valentine’s Day is the high holy day for growers, wholesalers, and of course flower retailers which can make or break the year. Rose growers have been working for months to optimize the production of red roses to peak the first 2 weeks of February.
But along with all the retailers, thousands of organizations take advantage of the huge V-Day demand for flowers by running fundraising flower sales. Everybody from the local fire department to the school PTO gets in the action because the demand is high and the profits can be substantial.
So how exactly do they go about it? There are 2 essential decisions to be made which determine the rest of the process.
Will we PRE-SELL flower arrangements in the months or weeks before V-Day or will we sell them on-the-fly during the week leading up to the big day?
If you have an existing customer base and can take orders in advance, you remove all the risk and speculation. You need to determine the options you will offer for flowers, determine your costs and selling prices, and then place an order with a wholesaler for exactly what you have sold. The only downside to this approach is that you must get this all planned out 4-6 weeks in advance and get your order in before your wholesaler’s deadline. Many wholesalers stop taking orders the third week of January!
Alternatively, if you plan to sell the flowers during the week before you will need to estimate your demand. This can be easy if you have a history of selling to rely on. Otherwise you will have to join the rest of the flower world and speculate on how much you will need. Keeping your offerings simple will reduce your exposure. If you intend to sell to younger people, consider selling carnations as they are much easier to handle and less expensive. If the traffic is higher up the economic scale, plan to offer higher priced red and rainbow color roses. Keep in mind that red roses are the most expensive and in highest demand for Valentine’s Day.
Do we want to sell pre-assembled arrangements? or purchase bulk flowers that need to be arranged in advance by our organization? or will we sell loose flowers that our customers can arrange themselves?
If you have the time and manpower, you can make higher profits by purchasing the flowers, fillers, greens, and sleeves in bulk. Roses typically come in boxes of 100-200 depending on the size. Carnations often come in boxes of 350 and the greens and fillers can be bought by the bunch. You need to have the items arrive a day or two before you plan to sell them so they can be arranged. Also you will need to have buckets and a cool place to hydrate and store the flowers once they have been arranged. Most groups will assemble 2 or 3 different bouquet options to target several price points. These could range from a single red rose on up to a full dozen.
Finally, if you have the right venue that will allow on-the-fly sales a few days leading into V-Day, a fantastic option is to create a “build your own” flower market. The flowers of various types and colors are displayed in buckets and sold by the stem. A customer can then build a unique bouquet for the price they want. This works great in high traffic areas like malls and shopping centers. After the customer selects the flowers, the seller adds a stem of leather leaf fern, a stem of Gyp, and wraps them in a cello sleeve.
So which ever way you go start the planning for your fundraiser NOW! With profit margins averaging 100 to 200 percent, the potential for success is real!