Flowers represent the best of human emotions – love, friendship, joy, celebration and so on. As creatives, crafting the floral products to support these emotions is our entire livelihood!
But there’s one key emotion that’s common for wood florists in particular to overlook – offering comfort in times of grief.
That’s why we are talking about how to create and market floral decor for funerals, memorials, and other occasions that benefit from the comfort provided by your art.
Not only will we discuss how to appropriately and respectfully get involved in this sector, we’ll also discuss why floral products for times of grief aren’t just important – they’re essential.
Why Are Flowers Essential?
The short answer is: the government says so.
When the pandemic first hit the United States, all non-essential businesses were temporarily shut down. However, this did not include florists. This is because it was recognized that flowers are both a comfort and a core human need in times of grief. As such, we feel creating products for those grieving is a worthy endeavor. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to incorporate this into your business strategy. We’ll walk you through the right way.
Before You Get Started: What You Need to Know
You might think that a gentle tone in customer service or good “bedside manner” (for lack of a better term) will be your most important asset here. Make no mistake: these are very high on the list of traits you’ll need. But in actuality, it’s speed.
Most customers order flowers for funerals and the like with as little as a 1-3 day lead time. Many people planning these types of events organize them quickly. If you’re going to open up this product line, ensure that you have the speed and bandwidth to supply your customers with what they need, especially if you are going outside of your local market to include shipping.
With that said, we recommend the following strategies to best create, promote and sell your products.
Keep Ready-To-Ship Items On Hand
Some clients looking for these products won’t be in the mindset of customizing colors, approving designs, and so on. Some will simply want a ready-made product to go out immediately.
So, try to keep some premade arrangements on hand. Keep the color palette simple and universal – think 1-2 colors, like reds and whites, or all pinks, all yellows, etc.
This is ultimately a low-risk move: with universal designs, potential customers could buy products for any occasion if they would like to do so. Also, as we all know, wood flowers have an extraordinarily long shelf life if kept in the proper conditions. This means you won’t risk losing inventory, which makes it a smart play for this line of business.
Offer Customizable Pre-Prepped Items
Some customers will prefer a slightly more personalized item as opposed to something off the shelf. The good news is, there are ways to speed up the customization process.
If you’ve ever watched a cooking show, you know they chatter on about mise en place – basically, doing all the chopping, measuring, and so on before the cooking process begins. That means that when cooking starts, it’s more about simple assembly, as opposed to doing everything at once. We recommend a similar strategy.
If you’re getting involved in this line of business: consider pre-making a casket spray (or bouquet or wreath) that has all the greenery and mechanics assembled – all you’ll need to do is add flowers of the customer’s choosing.
Also, consider having the most common colors and styles of flowers dyed, stemmed, and ready to insert in any product your customers might have in mind.
Consider Going Fully Customizable
Some clients may want a fully customized piece, starting from scratch and going all the way through to the finished product with their specific requests. Again, with a 1-3 day lead time this could be a tight turnaround for many. But here’s where it gets back to that essential essence: as you know, sola wood flowers are more or less permanent in the right conditions. Creating a forever piece to honor the legacy of those that passed is one of the more meaningful services you can supply to those in grief. These will likely live in the homes of your customers, perhaps for a very long time. This work is tough – but important.
Partnerships with funeral homes
Like any partnership, if you’re a preferred partner for a funeral home, there are pros and cons. On the one hand, you’ll get regular referrals. On the other, it can be a very competitive space to work in. Plus, funeral homes are likely to take a commission for the referral. Still, this could certainly be an important part of your outreach strategies.
A Very, Very Important Note Before Starting
Before accepting commissions in this sector, you must make sure that you yourself are in the proper headspace and emotional space to serve your customers.
If you’ve lost a loved one recently, we do not recommend offering this line of products at this time. Take care of yourself first and foremost.
Also, be firm with your pricing. These will be emotionally charged sales, and the last thing anyone should want to do at this time is haggle over dollars and cents. An easy policy to maintain is: these are my prices, yes or no. Your personal boundaries are critical.
Offering comfort during times of grief is so important. With the right strategy, you and your business can further establish yourself as essential – as well as a symbol of comfort for customers in need.