Growing Your Business with the Farmer Florist Model
If you have a passion for growing and a love for design, the farmer florist model would be an excellent fit for you and your flower farm. Discover the versatility of the farmer florist model. This business model can be molded to fit any size and adapt seamlessly to the changes of each season.
Some farmer florist services require specific varieties, colors, and event time frames. So, when creating your menu of offerings and flowers for the season, keep those details in mind. Off-season crop planning and marketing are important. They will be required for full-scale wedding services and holiday décor.
Popular Farmer Florist Services
Wedding Floral Services
Full-service weddings allow for higher price tags and high creativity but require a more significant time commitment. Weddings are something that even the seasoned Farmer Florist has taken years to master through training in design work, revamped organization, and lots of acquired skills.
I have taken seasoned advice by tailoring my wedding offerings to the scale of my availability and time commitment. If you are not ready to take on a full-service wedding, there are many other creative ways to acquire the skills needed to become a full design service.
Wedding floral options
1. Bulk Blooms:
A DIY option for couples who want a specific style or color scheme but don't have the budget for complete design services. Set a standard of stems per bunch - broken down further into focal, secondary, and accent flowers. Bulk blooms are a great way to introduce your business into the wedding world without significant commitment the day of.
Securing a contract with your customers before the season starts ensures they have their specific requests in before planting. I recommended establishing expectations before offering such services. Include an FAQ sheet, a thorough and exact ordering process, invoice expectations, and a contract with cancellation provisions.
2. A la carte floral arrangements:
This is for those with a set budget who want to take advantage of locally grown fresh-cut flowers. A la carte is not meant for brides who want complex floral set ups or require an in-depth consultation. A la carte is an excellent opportunity for those wishing to add key arrangements.
Establish a set catalog of options with pictures and include the prices. Offer the primary arrangements including bridal bouquets, boutineers, flower girl options, and bridesmaids arrangements. Again, setting clear expectations, ordering processes, and available options is imperative before offering this service.
3. Flower Bar:
Provide your clients with a beautiful display of buckets of flowers that their guests can pick and design their own arrangement from during the event. It is becoming a popular display similar to a custom dessert or candy bar only with flowers!
Flower Bars are a creative and intimate way to involve the guests and photographers. They add color to the event space and offer an unforgettable party experience. This type of display can easily go beyond a wedding and be offered for Bridal showers, baby showers, pop-up events, etc.
Benefits of wedding floral services
Weddings are a beautiful opportunity to highlight your flowers. You can showcase the couple's personality and create awareness of the fresh cut local flower movement at the same time. Wedding florals are a high dollar-making opportunity for your flower farm. It requires a high level of commitment but if you yearn for a solid creative outlet, working with all kinds of people, and love to think outside the box, wedding flower services are for you.
Tips for marketing to potential wedding clients:
Research bridal shows within 50-100 miles of your location. Set up a display with pictures, wedding flower options and signage. Fresh cut flowers at your booth are a wonderful way to capture the potential couples attention.
Talk to photographers. Focus on the ones specifically marketing for weddings.
Talk with well known event venues. Lots of private and corporate events flow through there year round! Put together a letter and drop it off, include business cards for their event planners. Including a flower arrangement can help you stand out in their minds.
Social media. It is a free advertising service. It can direct potential clients to your website or email for further questions or inquiries!
Think outside the box, talk with people and network. Don’t be afraid to share your business.
Consignment partners for selling cut flowers
Independent grocery stores are great consignment partners. People are already there for necessities. Designing eye-catching, colorful, and unusual arrangements to place near checkouts or entrances is a great way to encourage them to add to their purchase. Rural grocery stores around me do not have a floral department like those in larger cities, so locally grown fresh-cut flowers are a welcome surprise.
Food Co-ops are another option that highlight specialty producers, like local flower farms. They have a constant flow of traffic and their customers are there notably for organic and locally grown products.
Just note, these sales will be based on wholesale prices between you and them.
You must agree that they will hold on to your produce as long as the product is sellable.
When unsold product is returned to you, verify their sale count matches yours, or they will be invoiced for the entire count.
You then must agree on when to invoice and terms of payment. There are more business-type negotiations involved before dropping off your flowers.
Research questions and establish your expectations. When you go talk to these potential partners, you will be an informed producer.
If given the opportunity, try a small drop of flowers. Ensure their enthusiasm represents you and your business as well as theirs.
Disadvantages of selling cut flowers through consignment
Once your bouquets leave your hands, the selling, upkeep, and daily water checks belong to the establishment's employees, not you. Your business name will be on the wraps front and center as well as the buckets that are on display. The lack of control over how your business is displayed or perceived is one you have to be ok with.
Advantages of selling flower arrangements on consignment
Some advantages to consignment partners are:
-Effective way to get your products in front of the customer without the overhead cost.
-They have high standards for the quality of what they sell.
-Involvement in a market that strives to promote community health and social responsibility.
-Providing customers the opportunity to contribute to sustainable practices by supporting specialty producers. Injects money back into the local economy, and allows flower farmers to move our products locally.
Floral Funeral Services
While you cannot thoroughly plan for funeral arrangements during the growing season, you can succession plant various varieties in shades of white. Many funerals will use large and small arrangements with mainly white or muted colors and different amounts of foliage.
Some arrangements will be ordered specifically to honor the loved ones. So not all will be muted but the majority will be presented using lighter colors and shades of green.
As you design flowers for events over the years, take pictures of those completed floral arrangements for future reference. As you would with the a la carte wedding option, create a menu showcasing a few set floral designs and include pricing. In times of grief, a set of designs and prices help when decision-making may be most challenging.
Holiday Markets for floral arrangements
Seasons change and growing flowers is often not possible in the winter. Seasonal décor is a great way to extend your growing and selling season and extend your market share. Seeforaging for holiday décor for great ideas on creating beautiful things on a budget!
Fall and Winter markets are great ways to expand on creativity, showcase natural materials, and offer seasonal classes. You can even offer classes teaching others torepot their holiday bulbs. Although it may not be the height of the flower growing season, there are still creative ways to continue your farmer florist business model through the holidays.
The Farmer Florist Model is a great way to combine your growing and selling seasons with your passion for design. There are different depths of commitment and different levels of income to be made.
You, as a grower, can decide what you and your business are capable of and how detailed you desire to be. Whether it is full service weddings, DIY options, seasonal holiday décor or wholesale consignment. Your market may change over time, as your experiences change or you adapt to another business model.
Never underestimate the capabilities you have in each season to expand your market share, build on your design capabilities and add to your customer base. With the right eye for design, proper planning, and correct marketing materials, you can take advantage of all the income streams available in the Farmer Florist Model.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Stephanie Chow of Poppies and Petals Farm, a cut your own flower farm in Santa Rosa, CA. Her U-Pick flower farm is absolutely beautiful. She offered us a chance to see what running a farm designed from the soil up to have customers on site looks like.
This guide written by flower farming contributor, Lindsey Hofman of 605 Flowers, will walk you through some common winter foraging materials and how you can use them to create value added products for your flower farm.