Recent Posts

Follow Me

Exotic Flowers in Boston

What Florists Can Learn from Baseball Hall of Famer Bill Veeck

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Jun 24, 2015

I know. I am sad to say that not many of you are baseball fans. But watch a game with me sometime and you might become one. See I like baseball. No, I love baseball. Over-paid, self-indulgent babies on the field you say? I say, watch the 6-4-3 double play while sitting on the first base side and I will show you a visual masterpiece.

I not only watch the game, I am absorbed in its history. I am a lifelong Red Sox fan, but I am a fan of Major League Baseball even more. Fred Lynn, Dale Muphy, Ron Kittle; just names to some, but to me these guys were a pleasure to emulate in my childhood. While learning the game, I also learned a lot about its Hall of Famers. Bill Veeck (1914-1986) never played Major League Baseball, but he certainly left his mark on the game and my approach to the floral industry. 


Some know Veeck as a Hall of Famer. Some recall that Veeck was responsible for planting the first ivy on the walls of Wrigley Field in Chicago. Some know that Veeck owned the Cleveland Indians (1946-49), the St. Louis Browns(1951-53) and the Chicago White Sox(1959-61 & 1975-81). He even was the President of Suffolk Downs horse racing track in East Boston, (1968-71). Many sports business students know Veeck from his books. His most famous, Veeck as in Wreck, I have read four times. I have a copy at my desk at work and in my library at home. I have owned first editions and signed copies too. But, I always want to share the book's wisdom, so these valuable copies rarely stay in my possession. 

Last night, I found another passage in the book and had to share its relevance with my floral, hospitality and business colleagues. What Veeck wrote more than fifty years ago about selling tickets applies to any restaurant, florist or retail store


Chaper 7 - Every Day was Mardi Gras...

The best way to tell you what we did to draw these crowds is to tell you what we did not do. We did not open the ticket windows and expect the citizenry to come rushing up with their money in their fists. We have never operated on the theory that a city owes anything to the owner of a baseball franchise...

Exactly, Veeck hammers a valuable lesson for every florist. Our clients owe us nothing, we do not sell insulin and they do not need our flowers. We, however, need them to buy flowers from us at the price we have deemed valuable.

...There is nothing owed to you. A baseball team is a commercial venture, operating for a profit. The idea that you don't have to package your product attractively as General Motors packages its product, and hustle your product the way General Motors hustles its product, is baseball's most pernicious enemy.

Appearance, attitude, humility, gratitude and accountability are the traits he espouses. Like baseball, people want flowers in their life. They do not need them. Take Bill's lessons to your storefront. Note, the importance of also operating at a a profit.

I connect with Bill's wisdom. Bill was even an avid gardener. Decades ago, Bill suggested a store where you can buy plants, flowers and books in the same place. They did not have that then, but places like Terrain in Westport, CT offer that now. He was not only a Renaissance man, but a visionary.

You might like to know, the apple does not fall far from the tree. Veeck's son Mike is also an author and owner of multiple minor leage baseball teams.His philosophy of Fun is Good, has infected many lives with happiness. Mike's son Night Train (Bill's grandson) is also a chip off the block. Night Train works for the White Sox and has even guest blogged for us.I suggest making his acquaintance on Twitter. He is a great guy.




Tags: Baseball, Bill Veeck, Floral Indusrty, Floral Management, Baseball Hall of Fame

Exotic Flowers in Boston Gets a Nod in the SAF Weekly Sales WakeUp!

Posted by Rick Canale on Sat, Sep 14, 2013

Exotic Flowers in Boston is a long standing member of The Society of American Florists (SAF). Every week, SAF offers sales advice to those in the floral industry via their Sales Wake Up email on Saturdays. This week, Exotic Flowers is honored to be featured by writer Katie Hendrick.



Five Focus Points for Success

Boston retailer Rick Canale says in a recent blog post that e-mail confirmations are a basic and simple but effective way to make a great impression.

by Katie Hendrick
Ever wish you had a report card to measure the impression your shop makes? Consider this blog post the cheat sheet you’ve been craving. It comes courtesy of Rick Canale, owner of Exotic Flowers, the 2008 Floral Management Marketer of the Year winner.  

Here are a few highlights he insists his staff executes:

  • A thorough customer experience: email confirmations for orders and delivery, logoed polo shirts, logoed vans, “please” and “thank you” in every conversation, courtesy phone calls, personal handwritten notes
  • An emphasis on special occasions: employees should teach customers that flowers make all occasions more special — not just Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and anniversaries
  • Upscale packaging: tissue, gift boxes and ribbon improves presentation immensely
  • A dynamic storefront: the shop strives to have something exceptional to create buzz, be it new or exclusive variety of flowers in the window or a celebrity arranging flowers (Baywatch star Traci Bingham helped out during Valentine’s Day 2013)
  • A strong social life: the shop regularly updates its blog, Facebook page and Twitter account with three objectives: entertain, educate and engage. Equally important is what happens when employees leave the store. Running errands in a logoed shirt and a logoed van is outstanding advertising.

Tags: Baywatch, Floral Indusrty, SAF, Floral Management, Marketing, Traci Bingham

Five Ways Florists Can Sell More Flowers

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Aug 22, 2013

red roses delivery in boston resized 600 As florists in Boston, we are facing a fast changing economy. If the gift business is a pie, a florist's slice gets skinnier every day. We are getting bombarded by the supermarkets, the internet and the box stores. The consumer gets savvier and more demanding every day. What can every florist do to recapture market share ? Here are five tips from Exotic Flowers in Boston that have brought us increases in sales since the economy changed in 2007.

  1. Customer Experience - Email order confirmations, delivery confirmations, how your staff dresses; are your vans lettered ? How is your staff treating the client. As professional florists, we must look and act like professionals. How many times a day are you saying 'please' and 'thank you,' - not enough. Are you reaching out to clients with courtesy phone calls and personal hand written notes ?
  2. Special Occasions -  Florists are in an occasion based gift giving business. Our average male clients gets flowers three times per year;Mother's Day, Valentine's Day and his anniversary.  If we can get that person to buy just one more time for Christmas, Thanksgiving, or a birthday then we can increase sales by double digits.
  3. Packaging -   How are your flower arrangements and bouquets presented? Hopefully you are treating every purchase as a gift. packaging resized 600 Tissue, gift boxes, and ribbon are all small extras that can set your florist a world apart from FTD and Costco. Take a look at J Crew, they even provide gift bags for gift cards. Are you making the gift wrapping a show ? Think of the man who shines shoes, that snap of the towel is purely show and does nothing to shine a shoe.  
  4. Storefront -  do you have a dynamic storefront ? Do clients feel welcome ? Are you a member of the community ? Do you offer new varieties of flowers to create interest ? Are you enticing a return visit with your service and product ? Forget the coupons. Clients that are loyal on price are not loyal for long. Create buzz and offer the unexpected. On Valentine's Day 2013, we had former Baywatch star Traci Bingham at the store helping clients. Customers are still talking about it six months later. 
  5. Social Media - take some time and engage your clients on line. Blog to entertain and educate. Share digital images regulary. Join the conversation online. Most importantly, leave the store. Go to the bank. Be seen transacting business in your community and do not be shy about driving your lettered company vehicle. It is some of the best advertising you can do.

Tags: Floral Indusrty, Boston Florist, FTD, Floral Management, Marketing

Exotic Flowers in Boston New Year's Resolutions for 2012

Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Jan 04, 2012

new years flowers resized 600
  • New Exterior Signage for the Exotic Flowers flagship store, design studio and garden center on American Legion Highway in Roslindale / Boston. These black and gold signs will include our telephone #, name, and highlight our partnership with FTD; reminding our clients that we send flowers worldwide.
  • 'Boots on the Street' - the staff at Exotic Flowers will be actively involved in the Boston community. Our sales staff will be seen throughout the Boston area asking for the sale and servicing our flower and plant buying fans.
  •  new year flowers in boston resized 600
  • Our vision statement remains focused on 'Reaction Guaranteed' - we will also resonate our marketing message of 'Starting your own traditons.' We feel that creating memories is such an important part of everyone's lives. What better way than starting a tradition than incoporating the scents and sights of fresh flowers ?
  • A new eBook on how to plan your wedding. This eBook will take Boston area brides on a step by step process in planning their wedding.
  • A new children's book that focuses on the floral industry. We are hoping this book will return Exotic Flowers in Boston to the Floral Management Marketer of the Year.
funky flowers in boston

    Tags: Floral Management, New Years Resolutions, Marketing

    Exotic Flowers in Boston Nets Top Story from Floral Management

    Posted by Rick Canale on Mon, Jan 02, 2012

    The following notification has been taken from the Society of American Florists (SAF) Member Wake Up email on 12/31/11


    Sales Wake Up resized 600

    Best of Floral Management’s Hands OnIf you think Sales Wake-Up is the only place where SAF members can get innovative ideas for increasing sales, then you likely are not reading the monthly Hands On column in SAF’s Floral Management magazine. It’s a treasure trove of best practices, management tips and, yes, sales ideas. As we bid 2011 farewell and get ready to ring in another year of Sales Wake-Ups, we want to pay tribute to you, our loyal readers, by gifting you with our top five sales-boosting stories from Hands On: 

    No-Fail NeW Year’s
    > Resolved to start 2012 on the right foot? Take a step forward
    with these practical changes, culled from a review of New Year’s
    resolutions for florists and small retailers.
    Invest a higher percentage of your marketing budget in
    packaging. One year ago, florist Rick Canale resolved to shift
    Yellow Pages ad dollars into monogramed bags and cellophane,
    as well as interior and exterior signage for Boston-based Exotic
    Flowers. The exterior signage, in development now to replace
    two illuminated “relics,” “will pay for itself the first year,” he said.
    “The new signs are grabbers.”
    Canale also updated the staff uniforms: “The polished look
    has made a huge difference in the psyche and approach of staff
    when we all dress in the same color” (maroon), he said. Even
    seasonal personnel will sport matching, logoed jackets for
    Valentine’s Day deliveries.

    Exotic Flowers in Boston remains an active marketer in the floral industry. We are proud to share our ideas. Honored that our ideas are shared with our colleagues. And Exotic Flowers in Boston is confident that our business ideas not only benefit our growth as a Boston Florist but benfit the entire floral industry.

    Stay tuned for more exciting marketing ideas from Boston's Premier Florist as we start planning a new entry for the Floral Management Marketer of the Year.

    Tags: SAF, Floral Management, Marketing

    Boston Florist to Judge 2010 Floral Management Marketer of the Year Contest

    Posted by Rick Canale on Tue, Sep 14, 2010

    Floral Management Marketing JudgeBoston, MA - September 2010

    Rick Canale, the Managing Director of Exotic Flowers, Boston's Premier Florist and has been chosen by the editorial staff at Floral Management Magazine to serve as a judge for the 16th Annual Marketer of the Year Contest.

    Floral Management Magazine is published monthly by the Society of American Florists (SAF), the Association provides marketing, business and government services for the entire floriculture industry. Floral Management Magazine is a member benefit of SAF.

    A $5,000 cash prize, sponsored by Design Master color tool, Inc., as well the the opportunity to be on the cover of the October 2010 issue of Floral Management.

    What Makes a Winner?
    Judges look for unique, innovative and successful marketing efforts. It can be a single campaign, or a series of promotional and advertising efforts over the course of a year or more.

    Rick Canale won the contest in 2008 and has been asked to return as a judge for this years contest. Rick is one of seven judges from the floral and media industry.

    "I am proud to serve the industry and my peers. This year's contestants inspired me in my own flower shop. The contest is a great opportunity for the floral industry to implement some marketing savvy in their own operations. I cannot wait to see the results at the SAF Convention in Orlando. " - Rick Canale



    Tags: SAF, Rick Canale, Floral Management

    Boston Florist Writes Viewpoint for Floral Management Magazine

    Posted by Rick Canale on Wed, Aug 18, 2010

    Rick Canale Floral ManagementViewpoint By Rick Canale

     Admit it. You’re probably not paying
    your sales staff enough. In our industry,
    sales reps, on average, earn about $9-$12
    an hour, compared to the $15 to $20 an
    hour designers pull in. How can we ask our
    salespeople to sell $500 funerals or $100
    arrangements, when they only average
    $20,000 per year as full-time employees?
    Designers command the highest
    wages (outside of management) in a
    flower shop. Why? They have a unique
    talent and years of training and education.
    Are they worth it? Of course — an
    accomplished designer creates wedding
    and party referrals and controls your
    cost of goods. However, without an experienced
    salesperson invested in your
    services and designs, those skills are
    wasted. The sales reps are the lifeblood
    of a flower shop. They establish and
    maintain customer relationships — and
    they have the potential to destroy them,
    too. They can increase sales with a mere
    suggestion: “Would you like a balloon
    with that order?” (For a $50 arrangement,
    a $5 balloon addition equals a 10
    percent increase in sales.) And they can
    sour a relationship with a surly response
    or failure to listen.
    The power a salesperson has over
    your shop’s image and sales is no small
    thing. Recognizing it is crucial to fair
    compensation. Do I want a gum-chewing-
    baggy-jeans-wearing student trying
    to sell a $200 funeral piece to a grieving
    life partner? No. I want a uniformed,
    well-groomed, well-paid professional
    with a business card and experience.
    Experience is key; training is only a minor
    factor. True sales skills come from experience.
    Good sales reps also forage for
    their own clients. They use Facebook and
    Twitter and attend cocktail parties and
    charity events to foster relationships —
    personal and professional. Often, these
    relationships develop when they are not
    even on the clock. If shop owners don’t
    compensate them well, how can we expect
    to retain them?
    A talented salesperson takes on the
    role of a consultant. Expert consultants
    learn as much as possible about what
    they sell: where it comes from, how it is
    prepared and how to care for it. Premier
    sales reps not only offer upgrades, but also recommendations,
    with a
    personal touch.
    These recommendations
    build rapport
    and establish
    trust. An expert
    floral consultant
    leaves no detail
    unnoticed. We are in a business of details
    and it all begins in taking the order.
    Some shops and consultants, including
    Team Floral of Tulsa, Okla., are big
    fans of commissions. Many shops’ financials
    prove this incentive program works.
    At Exotic Flowers, though, we do not
    practice this. Veteran Entrepreneur and
    Inc. magazine columnist Norm Brodsky
    offers an argument against sales commissions:
    People who are motivated by
    commissions have the means to maximize
    their pay, potentially at the expense
    of other departments like operations
    and billing. Instead of base plus commission,
    Brodsky recommends paying
    a salary plus a three-part bonus tied to
    the success of the individual, the team
    and the company. A veteran entrepreneur,
    Brodsky’s experience has led him
    to subscribe to a few other controversial
    business ideas, including: don’t hire family
    and friends (Google “Firing Carlotta,
    Brodsky” for more) and competition is
    good for business (Google “The More
    the Merrier, Brodsky”).
    Almost all retail companies rely on
    sales reps and customer-service agents.
    The key is to have all your employees
    work together for the growth of the
    company. At Exotic Flowers, our top four
    sales reps have 100 years combined
    experience, and we flaunt that fact in
    our marketing materials. The public is
    tired of sales clerks who just collect a
    paycheck — and sales reps are tired of
    playing second fiddle to designers, when
    it comes to pay. Now is the time to differentiate
    our industry from other retail
    organizations. Let’s do that by leveling
    the paying field.
    Rick Canale, president of Exotic
    Flowers in Boston, was named Floral
    Management’s 2008 Marketer of the
    Year. E-mail:

    Tags: Boston Florist, Rick Canale, Floral Management

    Subscribe via E-mail

    Contact Us for All Your Floral Needs