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  • Pricing and Selling a Flower CSA | How Start a Flower CSA Part 2

    June 27, 2024 8 min read 0 Comments

    Six paper wrapped bouquets ready to be delivered to flower CSA members

    Pricing & Selling a Flower CSA

    Pricing and selling can be two of the biggest challenges for the flower farmer—at least, I know that was my case! Naming a price and attempting to value our flowers, with the sweat and tears we poured into them that no one sees, makes pricing uncomfortable. Yet, we must face this hurdle head-on when growing cut flowers for profit. 

    Let’s see if we can make that mountain of pricing and selling a flower CSA more into a molehill.

    Providing a positive experience for our flower CSA members begins with their making the purchase. Today, we will share our insights into providing a lovely experience to flower CSA members so they will sign up and return for years to come. 

    We have been offering a flower CSA for seven seasons, and many members have been with us since the first year. We have also welcomed many new customers along the way. If you are still determining what a flower CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is or are questioning how to construct one, read our blog on Structuring a Flower CSA.

    In this post, we are going to go over how to value and sell a flower CSA by:

    • Pricing your flower CSA
    • Creating a pleasing online flower CSA product
    • Protecting yourself
    Female farmer carrying a metal crate of paper wrapped bouquets in glass jars for flower CSA deliveries.

    What Should I Charge for My Flower CSA?

    Pricing is usually one of the bigger hang-ups for many flower farmers. Ideally, by the time you are ready to take on a Flower CSA, you have an idea of what price points sell in your market and have determined if you can be profitable at those points.

    Our Flower CSA included our premium mixed bouquets and members get those premium bouquets at a discounted price since they pre-pay in bulk ahead of time. For example, we sold the same-sized bouquet at farmer’s markets or our flower pop-up sales for $35, whereas our Flower CSA members pay $28. 

    Once you have a price point that works for your market, create your product around that price point. The bouquet should be the appropriate size and value for what you are charging. 

    If you need help pricing flowers, look at local wholesalers’ availability lists or other growers offering a similar product. When writing this in May 2024, the popular price range for a flower CSA was $25-35 per bouquet.* Depending on where you live, you may need to charge more to be profitable. 

    Farmer carrying a large metal bucket of snap dragons to add to flower CSA bouquets.

    Some variables to consider when pricing your Flower CSA:

    • Cultivars used
    • Size of product
    • Bouquet or Arrangement 
    • Delivery or Pickup 
    • Quality of product
    • Your skill level in growing and designing flowers
    • Season of the flower CSA, such as spring versus summer

    Selecting affordable and prolific varieties that fill up space is a great way to give a full mixed bouquet without overstuffing it. Fewer stems mean less product and labor, which increases profitability. 

    Also, remember your COGs (Cost of Goods Sold), such as bouquet sleeves, flower food, and rubber bands, the items that go into creating the actual product. 

    Pricing is more than a one-and-done thing. It is an evolving part of business. The market is constantly moving, and expenses shift as the economy moves. Keep your finger on the economy's pulse to avoid being unprofitable by underpricing or overpricing your flower CSA.

    Once pricing is determined, it’s time to determine how the customer can purchase a Flower CSA from you. 

    Jessica Chase of Sierra Flower Farm carrying a bucket of dahlias through her flower field.

    How Do I Sell My Flower CSA?

    There are two main ways we have taken sign-ups/sold our Flower CSAs:

    • In-person sales at a pop-up or farmer’s market
    • Online sales

    Let’s unpack these two sales outlets for a Flower CSA.

    In-Person Sales for Your Flower CSA

    In the early years, before we had much of an online or social media presence, we would take signups while at a pop-up or farmer’s market. We would have a form for them to fill out and would accept payment on the spot. 

    For potential customers on the edge of purchasing, we always hand them a business card and direct them to our website so that they can purchase there. 

    Whenever you are selling flowers at an in-person event, having these items to either finalize a Flower CSA sale or to be able to follow up later is important:

    • Sign up form, digital or paper, to capture essential details for new members
    • Business cards
    • Email sign-up list

    A customer investing in your Flower CSA is investing in more than the flowers; they are investing in an experience. They are also investing in the movement of Local Flowers and the resulting cultural and climate benefits. To learn more about how to talk to your potential customers about the importance of local flowers, read our article on Finding Your Cut Flower Market.

    In person, I can create an experience for the potential Flower CSA member by adding extra flowers to a bouquet they are purchasing or giving them a small bouquet as a “thank you” for buying a flower CSA at the moment. 

    Selling a Flower CSA in person is a great way to get started, but most of our sales happen online these days.

    Selling Your Flower CSA Online

    Even though the checkout is online, I still need to create a personal and unique experience for my customers that mimics the care and attention they would get from me if they ordered in person. 

    Without physically seeing our bouquets in front of them, we rely on the following:

    • Photos of gorgeous flowers
    • Descriptions with wording that showcases our personality
    • Clear, concise, and relevant information

    The potential customers need enough relevant information to decide if purchasing one of our Flower CSAs, either for themselves or a loved one, is a good option for them. We have sold many Flower CSAs across the United States, with family members and friends purchasing them as gifts for their loved ones local to our area. 

    Out-of-area buyers and local buyers alike need to know:

    • The pickup day and time for bouquets
    • The pickup location(s) 
    • The price, length, and time frame of the Flower CSA
    A farmer florist trimming zinnias for flower CSA subscription bouquets.

    These details need to be laid out clearly in a condensed version.

    I cannot emphasize the benefit of being concise for your product information. A customer should easily and quickly scan the description and the options, then be able to purchase the Flower CSA stress-free. 

    A wall of text may lose your potential customer’s patience and interest. Since most online visitors will be skimming the page, make use of lists, visuals, and tables to display information.

    Your online flower CSA product should include the following:

    • Photos relevant to your flower CSA product
    • A brief description of the flower CSA
    • Pickup location, days, and time for your flower CSA
    • Variants of options, if applicable, such as number of weeks or weekly versus bi-weekly
    • Price
    • Terms and Conditions

    Let’s discuss creating a beautiful and hassle-free experience for customers to purchase your flower CSA online.

    A bucket of dahlias in a flower field waiting to be included in flower CSA bunches.

    Make Purchasing Your Flower CSA Online as Convenient as Possible 

    A frustrated customer will not make a purchase. 

    The checkout experience should be simple. If a customer gets frustrated figuring out precisely what they are purchasing or the purchasing process becomes cumbersome, you will most likely lose that sale. Make the purchase process seamless and pleasant and keep that sale. 

    Do this by:

    • Keeping your online storefront tidy
    • Making the checkout and payment process easy

    Having a website with a user-friendly storefront is advantageous. Make it easy for your customer by accepting various payments such as PayPal, credit/debit cards, and Apple Pay so they can conveniently pay with their preferred method. On your end, this may take a little extra time to set up, but in a world where people don’t want to have to dig out their physical bank cards, it helps. 

    Keep Your Online Storefront Clean

    When a customer visits your online storefront, you are on the homestretch of making sales. Your storefront will make or break your potential customers to click further to see your flower CSA product offering.

    You should hide your past offerings and products from the public view on your online storefront. It is confusing and frustrating to sift through all the various products listed on the storefront for a customer to figure out which one is the correct one to sign up for. Your product storefront page should not used as your portfolio; once again, you can have a separate Flower CSA FAQs or photo gallery page.

    Once your product is created, it’s time to do one last crucial part: protect yourself.

    Dahlias in pinks and creams being harvested for bouquet subscriptions

    Photos Sell Your Flower CSA 

    Flipping through glossy magazines can tell you one thing: beautiful product photos sell. The pictures for your Flower CSA should be attractive and relevant to your offering. For example, if you sell a Flower CSA that runs June through August, you are best off skipping photos of bouquets of hellebores or tulips. 

    You may find Flower CSA members who become disappointed that they never received any tulips in their bouquets. All the disclaimers and descriptions in the world may not avoid this potential scenario. Instead, show photos of the actual flowers you plan on using for your Flower CSA bouquets. 

    With free or paid programs, you can also edit phone photos to look more professional — but all the editing in the world can't solve a rushed or poorly laid out image. Take the time with your pictures and try to hit the “golden” hours (around an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset) to capture photos in the field.

    What do I do if I don’t have photos of my flowers? 

    Photos are enormous in making sales; if you don’t have them now, they should become your priority for the next season. 

    With that said, if you don’t have photos of the exact bouquets or any bouquet, that’s okay. Share images of your field and the process of growing the flowers. Use what you have to create a connection with your potential customers. Everyone likes the Hero’s Journey; share yours.

    I will caution against using stock photos or borrowing from other grower friends since those show someone else’s product. Your Flower CSA customers invest in you and your story. It is more than just the flowers. 

    Related: Flower Farming 101

    A large bunch of flowers wrapped in paper and sitting in a glass jar of water delivered to a customer's front porch

    Terms and Conditions for Your Flower CSA

    Terms and conditions are essential. They are the contract between you and your Flower CSA member. 

    What happens if a member forgets to pick up their bouquet or their bouquet dies prematurely? 

    What happens in the case of crop failure, etc.?  

    Your terms and conditions should list all these “what-ifs” so the customer knows. In our purchasing process, we have it set up that a box runs down our terms and conditions that they must accept to finish purchasing the Flower CSA. Our terms and conditions always state “all sales are final” at the end. We also restate these terms and conditions in our welcome email to them.

    Captivating Your Market: Pricing and Selling Your Flower CSA

    When pricing and selling your Flower CSA, remember that you are selling yourself and your story. There are pretty flowers that are much less expensive from the big box store or even a grower selling down the street from you! This reality is not something to be discouraged over; instead, embrace it and share why you and your blooms are worthy of their hard-earned money. 

    Don’t oversell spots, which could lead to you becoming overextended, which can hurt the quality of your service and products. Provide a lovely, personable experience with a high-quality product, and you will have Flower CSA members return for years to come. 

    Now that you have priced your Flower CSA created a product, and figured out your terms and conditions to protect yourself, join us for our next blog, where we discuss how to market your Flower CSA.

    *Based on our own polling of 25 different US-based flower farmers offering a Flower CSA in 2023-2024

    Written by: Jessica Chase, Sierra Flower Farm, Photography by: Graham Chase, Sierra Flower Farm