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A Valentine’s Day To Remember

Late last fall, I enjoyed an amazing week of learning during the first portion of the European Masters Certification program. I can certainly say that the course has given me a new way to think about flowers and floral design. The Europeans approach design differently than I have ever done. However, I am a self-taught florist. I have always just put the flowers where I thought they looked pretty. Now, I understand why they look nice there and what the purpose of the design is. I now appreciate why we should know the history of flowers and design throughout the ages. How can you know where you are going if you do not know where you have been?

What does this have to do with Valentine’s Day, you ask? Well, knowing where Valentine’s Day started simply makes you an expert on one of the floral industry’s top holidays. For instance, when someone says to you, “This is a stupid holiday created by Hallmark,” you can respond with, “Actually this holiday dates back to an ancient Roman fertility festival that was held in mid-February called Lupercalia…” Fast forward more than a dozen centuries and you finally get to the first mass produced greeting card in 1840. These days, 62% of people celebrate Valentine’s Day, accounting for more than $20 billion dollars!  Growers produce 220 million roses for the holiday and the average price consumers spend on a Valentine’s arrangement is $130 USD.

How do you decide what the consumer might be looking for if you don’t know the facts Sure, we know that red roses will be the number one seller for most flower shops. But realizing that the holiday’s average sale is $130, we can tailor our designs to accommodate this. That does not mean you can simply charge an extra $30 for the roses you previously priced at $100 , but rather you should include something else in the package, be it some unexpected flowers, distinctive design mechanics, a keepsake container, or an add-on gift like truffles, wine, or jewellery. Give fair value and you will always be rewarded.

Long story short: Create something with a one-of-a-kind feeling and consumers will go for it. People are led by the heart—they have been since the dawn of time and always will be. Look at the rich history of this day and realize that not much has changed with people. We love stories of love. And we love to celebrate love. And who better to relay this message than a florist?

Heather de Kok
Heather de Kok AAF, AIFD, PFCI is the owner of Heather de Kok Floral Design and Grower Direct in Edmonton, AB. She also founded The Maple Leaf Cup.

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