Last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts: Flower sales keep florists busy


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Floral designer Abbie Drage works flower arrangements at Brown Floral in Holladay on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.

Last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts: Flower sales keep florists busy

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At Brown Floral in Holladay, one of Utah’s longest-running florists, the atmosphere in the restaurant kitchen was buzzing on a packed night a week before Valentine’s Day.

Receptionists answer calls and orders on a rotating ticket wheel. Florists scrambled in and out of walk-in coolers, arms full of flowers. Designers cut the stems of the roses and pricked them into vibrant bouquets, which were finished and laid out on a shelf in the back ready for delivery.

Despite the store’s energy, the enchanting scent of flowers and leaves has a calming effect — but don’t let the scent fool you, because on Valentine’s Day, one of the industry’s biggest moneymakers, the floral work isn’t all roses.

“As we get closer to Valentine’s Day, we’ll work a little later, and then a little later, we’ll work all weekend and all night, and if that’s our job, we’ll probably have to stay until 2am. Have to make sure everything is Fresh and beautiful, and ready to go out on Monday morning,” said Tracie Drage, owner of Brown Floral, who took over the business in 2010.

Dredge is among a number of florists scrambling to prepare for what will be the second-highest Valentine’s Day in the country’s history, with Americans expected to spend $23.9 billion on Valentine’s Day, according to new U.S. research. National Retail Federation. With 37% of gift givers planning to pick flowers, the world could soon be overwhelmed with flowers.

“Flowers are such powerful human connectors. They help us speak what’s on our minds, but I may not be able to put them into words. A bouquet of flowers speaks volumes,” Drager said.

Floral designer Abbie Drage works flower arrangements at Brown Floral in Holladay on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.

Floral designer Abbie Drage works flower arrangements at Brown Floral in Holladay on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Supply side thorns

However, the February boom came against the backdrop of an ongoing supply chain quagmire that has created challenges for the import-dependent flower industry, where most of the popular seasonal flowers — such as carnations and roses — come from the U.S. Abroad, mainly in Central and South America, creates uncertainty for florists like Drage, who find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control.

“We’ve had some sleepless nights” since the supply chain problems started, “sometimes we have to ask, ‘What are we going to do now?’ But then somehow our suppliers helped us and we Got plenty of support until the next stage. Everything looks really good on Valentine’s Day,” Drage said, further explaining that it wasn’t just the perishable inputs that proved tricky.

“We’re having trouble getting wires. Spray paint. Easel for funeral arrangements. Weird type of stuff we have a hard time getting. So we have to be aggressive. When things are available, we grab them. But we are working hard to make it happen.”

Supply issues are also contributing to the soaring cost of romantic gestures, with the average price of a dozen roses up 22 percent from last year, forcing customers to try less traditional arrangements, including a variety of blooms.

“Wholesalers know they can get away with it. They know they can raise prices and we’re going to have to pay. We try not to pass all of that on to our customers, but some of it has obviously been passed on to our customers,” Drage said. “Rose is still the traditional gift flower, but because rose prices have gone up a lot this year, we’re seeing more mixed arrangements that include roses but add other flowers like hydrangeas and lilies,” Drage said.

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Purchases

In addition to supply-side uncertainty from around the globe, the industry also has to deal with domestic unknowns, which is unavoidable when a large number of your customers are notorious for making last-minute decisions.

“Men tend to put things off until the last minute. It’s not uncommon for men to call on the morning of their wedding anniversary and say, ‘I need to get my wife something by 3 o’clock. We help them because this That’s what we do,” Drager said, referring to an issue that also creates uncertainty for other retailers, considering that as many as 1 in 10 Americans will wait until the day to buy a Valentine’s Day gift. Their other half, according to a survey by retail industry group RetailMeNot.

We wish we had a crystal ball and then we could nail it. You can’t chalk it up to the last flower, or the last flower, there’s no way to do that,” said Drager, who still feels she’s “very good at guessing what we’re going to do after decades in the industry.” what needs. “

Roses were photographed in the fridge at Brown Floral in Holladay on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.

Roses are pictured in the fridge at Brown Floral in Holladay on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

At the Orchid Dynasty store, owner Lilly Huynh has also noticed this trend.

“If they just want regular roses because that’s all they know — then yes, these are going to be your last-minute shoppers,” said Huynh, who went on to point out that planning ahead brings some benefits in the industry “But if they’re someone who appreciates the art and craftsmanship of the products we make, they plan ahead. Usually they get the most beautiful flowers because we save them for those guys.”

Huynh encourages customers to order ahead and wants to make the holiday “not just a day, but a whole week of love” and consider a wider variety of flowers, as if from a seasonal food menu.

“I like to compare a flower shop to a restaurant because everything is perishable. It’s like creating recipes. If roses don’t work, maybe we’ll switch to something else. But we’re still selling palettes, nudes and subject, so as long as you understand your customer’s expectations, replacement is fine. Months due to difficulty finding labor.

While the flower industry has struggled to adapt to the bumpy economy of the pandemic, florists like Drage and Huynh say the ongoing uncertainty in the world is exactly why their work matters, believing that flowers are in a deprived world An important tool for maintaining relationships is about distance.

Drager cites flowers for work in the new remote workplace as an example.

“While we’ve reduced deliveries to offices since COVID, we’ve actually seen an increase in managers and owners trying to stay in touch with employees working remotely. Many owners and managers are sending flowers to employees at home , to bridge the gap,” Drager said.

“They appreciate people’s willingness to be flexible and encourage them by helping employees beautify their home office space. It’s really cool to see it still happening. It’s a message from the heart.”

Floral designer Abbie Drage works flower arrangements at Brown Floral in Holladay on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.

Floral designer Abbie Drage works flower arrangements at Brown Floral in Holladay on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

correct: An earlier version mistook the National Retail Federation for the National Retail Association.

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