What Is the Current Product Landscape for Floral Greenery?
Since the pandemic broke out in early March, trying to predict the future has been the popular topic in floral circles. When are events and weddings going to return to normal? When is flower availability going to become consistent again? When is consumer confidence going to return to the highs of the past few years? While we’d love to tell you we have the answers to those questions, we do not. What we do have, however, is a strategy that will help us and you navigate this roller coaster of a season together.
Strategy 1: Order early with a 2-week minimum cancellation notice in place.
Many florists and wholesalers are holding on to orders until the last possible minute trying to protect themselves in the event of a cancellation. This is not the best strategy to be successful with filling orders or creating the look your customers want with little-to-no substitutions.
What last-minute ordering does is create chaos, stress, additional time on the phone finalizing substitutions, and (in worst-case scenarios) a failure to create the look and feel your customers were promised. On the farm level, flower farmers and foliage farmers are both trying to recover from lost production, predict future production, ensure product freshness and limit post-harvest product losses. And boy, is that tricky!
The Alternative Solution:
Order early and insist your wholesaler places your order with the farms early, too! This allows the farms to have a better idea of what they need to harvest each week or bring in from other parts of the world to fill your order accurately.
Set a calendar reminder three weeks ahead of the event and reconfirm the order with your customer. Remind them that this is the no-cancellation point. Allow them a few days to check with the various parties involved and give them a deadline to report back to you with confirmation. Another best practice is to mention final payment at this time, too. This timeframe allows the wholesaler or vendors you have placed the order with to proceed with their preparations so they have everything you requested while giving them the confidence that any cancellation would come prior to any actual harvesting or cross-farm purchases.
We live in a fast-food/Amazon Prime environment and that mentality has infiltrated the floral industry in a huge way. But right now, farmers have just gone through product dumps like never before and we are all “gun-shy” over harvesting.
Strategy 2: Source field-to-vase items.
We are a Florida farm. We cross-dock or broker items from Italy, Holland, South America, California, Washington and other parts of the world. We have no control over other farms’ product availability, price or product quality until it gets to our dock. While we have solid product quality checks in place when there are issues with a product, it’s rarely replaceable in that same week. Bringing products from around the world often comes with a 7 to 12-day order lead time, as well. Under normal circumstances, that would not be very challenging. With floral volume across the country off its normal mark and with local areas fluctuating between being shut down, opened back up and closed again — being able to predict a weekly volume for our event and specialty items is particularly difficult.
The Alternative Solution:
Ask your wholesaler for farm-grown recommendations from their vendors. Our Alpha Fern garlands cover a huge variety of products from around the world, but there is a home-grown section of our website that will help you get started. If it grows on our farm or in our area, then we have much more control over availability, quality and pricing consistency.
We know “field to vase” technically applies to every farmed item around the world, but would it not be awesome to know that field to vase didn’t come with a stop at four to six different locations first?! Shoot for a three-step field-to-vase supply chain: farm (1) to wholesaler (2) to you (3)!
What Are Some of Our Favorite Farm-Grown Garland Combinations?
Cocculus, Podocarpus (Weeping pictured) and Magnolia
Cocculus and Olive
Cedar (Carolina Sapphire pictured), Cocculus, Olive & Pittosporum
Our Products Are Always Backed 100%
Our products are always high-quality and well-maintained by our team. We know our foliage is of the highest quality and we offer a 100% guarantee to prove it, so our customers always feel confident in choosing Alpha Fern. It is just an easier guarantee to keep when the greens are from our farm!