Florists for Change ?
A lot of Buzz in the floral industry has been about Florists for Change. Who are they ? Why are they meeting ? Are they game changers ? Are they revolutionary ? Before I present Exotic Flowers in Boston's position, I would like to recap a call I received yesterday from an established flower shop in Manchester, NH.
On the morning of September 7th, 2011 an order appeared on our fax machine (yes people still use a fax machine and not for spam). The order arrived from a high profile flower shop in Manchester, New Hampshire who we have been doing business with for decades.
Usually this NH shop sends orders to Exotic Flowers via FTD and our orders will print on our printers. This order however was a bit different. The usual items were there like flower recipient, Beth Israel Hospital, fresh flowers, card message, sending shop etc.. This order also had a credit card # on it ( I am not going to into the PCI Compliance issue here). The order also stated that Exotic Flowers in Boston give a $60 value but give the NH flower shop a 20% discount.
At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we get this request a lot. Mostly from florists and those who do flowers out of their homes that choose not be in FTD or Teleflora. At Exotic Flowers we are happy to take any credit card order, but do not offer a 20% discount for those who choose not to belong to a wire service. Sorry, just not something we do.
What made yesterday unusual was, the NH shop had been sending us FTD orders for years. When our rep Shannon Rizza called their shop and explained that a discount was not an option, their sales rep explained that it was something they had just started doing. Their rep in turn got their boss to ask for me and what follows is the conversation:
NH Shop Owner: Is this Rick ? The guy who writes and appears in all the magazines ?
Me: Yes, but you can call me whatever you want. I respond to most anything.
NH: do you know this order will represent more $ in your pocket ?
Me: yes. but we choose not to fill credit card discount orders.
NH: But you would have filled this as an FTD order and lost 30% of the order.
Me: I know, but we do not fill wire orders to make money. We fill them because we send a lot of orders and hope that you will do a nice job on our orders when we send them to you.
NH: so you are not a Florist for Change ?
Me: who said that ? I feel if you were really a florist for change then perhaps I should be getting 90-95% of the order.
The conversation went on and ended with me recommending a shop who I knew could help him.
Which leads me to; is Exotic Flowers a florist for a change ? Of course. We believe the customer service in the industry is fractured. But change begins in your shop first; then at a national level. Exotic Flowers believes in working with FTD, SAF, Teleflora and BloomNet to have a collective set of guidelines for all florists. Start with business ethics, honesty, integrity. If all florists work within the walls of their shop, the rest should take care of itself. FTD and 1800flowers are not going away. Florists who fill those orders are not going away either. My job as a traditional retail florist in Boston is to be the florist for my community.