We’ve covered a lot of handy tips and tricks for running your floral design business – from how to prepare for holiday shipping to how to run your Instagram account and even how to write an event contract.
But what about actually selling your product?
Today, we’ll go through a list of options for how you can move product through some less known or less utilized local routes. It is worth mentioning that there are so, so many options out there – each with their own list of pros and cons. We suggest going over our list of recommendations and exploring each channel, then curating 1-3 channels that best fit your business model and local market to start. You don't want to overwhelm yourself with too many sales channels at one time!
Ready to sell? Take a look at these options and see what best resonates with you:
Craft Shows and Fairs
Ok, ok. Craft shows are both pretty well known and used by many businesses. That said, craft shows are a perfect outlet for crafters and in an online world, anything in person is outside of the Facebook marketplace and Etsy "norm."
The good news with craft shows is you can be sure that every visitor is someone keen on shopping for crafts.
However, craft shows bring with them a volume problem. You won’t be the only crafter there, and maybe not even the only wood floral designer (look for juried craft shows to ensure you are!). So while the makeup of the audience is to your benefit – the sheer volume of other options is not.
Think of this like ordering food off of Seamless or GrubHub: people on the site are hungry so you know they’ll do business with A restaurant, but you’re competing with every other restaurant nearby for attention and sales. Luckily, we’ve got some tips on how to stand out at craft fairs.
Consignment shops are brick-and-mortar stores that take products from vendors, handle things like marketing and selling, and then send you excess profits (after they keep a pre-determined percentage for their time, labor and overhead expenses).
There’s a lot to like about consignment shops – it frees you from having to handle marketing while also allowing you to test local market waters and build relationships with a local vendor.
On the flip side, one store may not be a huge portion of your overall sales. Brick-and-mortar shops will have limited space for displaying inventory, so you might want to consider using this channel more for data on your local market and relationship building at first. But once you have those relationships and successes in place, these are an excellent opportunity for more passive sales (ie - you won’t need to be in the shop to get clients to make a purchase). You can find more about our thoughts and findings on consignment selling here.
One big theme you’ll see on our list is the appeal of local shopping. People like local products! Not only does it feel good to support your neighbors, but you’ll be getting a truly one-of-a-kind product (as opposed to a copy-and-paste product from a big box store).
A big source for local sentiment: festivals. Depending on the kind of festival, people may travel in from far and wide, and they’ll likely be looking for local souvenirs to mark the occasion. Think of the appeal of floral crowns at a renaissance festival!
These days, a lot of festivals feature markets for local vendors to sell their wares. Consider trying to get a booth in your next available festival. It will likely have the same energy of a craft show, but with fewer guaranteed-to-be-interested buyers (con) and much less crafting competition (major pro).
Farmers markets will have a similar vibe to craft fairs and festivals (that is: an outdoor local market). The big draw here, however, is the consistency. Many farmers markets take place on a regular schedule (weekly, bi-weekly, etc.) allowing you plenty of time to build relationships and give your customers a regular place to find you out in the wild.
Years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Germany in late November. Something we didn’t know then: communities in Germany set up Christmas markets that feature food, drink, crafts, and sometimes even rides.
Each market had their own hyper-local products. For instance, my husband and I enjoyed a few mugs of glühwein – German mulled wine. For a small fee, you could keep that specific market’s mug as a keepsake. To this day, we have a collection of those mugs proudly displayed on our mantlepiece. (Not unrelated sidenote - the glühwein also helped me want to spend all of my money on handcrafted items as Christmas gifts for my family!).
With the holidays coming, now is the perfect time to try to get into a holiday market. The benefits of being associated with a locality is huge. Even better: this is the perfect opportunity to start moving wreaths and other holiday-specific decor!
Cafes and Restaurants
A common trend for artists is to display their products for sale in local coffee shops, restaurants, and more. This creates a mutual benefit: the host business receives local street cred (so to speak) and interesting decor while the artist gets another potential avenue for sales.
This is absolutely a technique that could work for floral design. Check out your neighborhood and reach out to see if nearby eateries will consider hosting your designs. One final tip: see if there’s a way to personalize your craft with the business. Small mini bouquets in a branded mug would be perfect for this!
A famous trick that real estate agents often use when selling a home is to toss a baking sheet with vanilla extract drizzled on top into a hot oven. It makes the house smell like homemade cookies, which helps encourage the overall feeling of hominess.
There’s no reason why your flowers can’t do the same thing! Unlike working with a cafe or restaurant, we don’t recommend offering these for sale to potential homeowners. Rather, this is more of a business-to-business (B2B) transaction: you’ll be selling to local Realtors, real estate agents, and more.
Scope out local open houses in your area and drop off a business card. You never know what it could lead to!
Extra bonus - working with realtors and the like to help stage a home can build an incredible relationship with that person. And since most realtors provide their buyers with a housewarming gift when the closing papers are signed, you might just be able to secure a deal to create wreaths or other home decor pieces to be purchased by said realtor on the regular!
The wonderful thing about wood flowers is you can use them for anything. Of course, there will always be a time and place for the classics – bouquets, wreaths, centerpieces, and the like – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In other words: if it exists, you can put a flower on it.
If your creativity has led you to make hyper-specific goods, consider finding a shop that sells similar goods in order to sell your wares! As an example, if you are a wedding vendor, consider speaking with local bridal boutiques to share out a few bridal bouquets options for their brides to hold when trying on potential dresses. Their usual trick for the dress sale is putting a veil on the bride-to-be. Imagine the effect of a veil plus a bouquet!
And there you have it! That’s our current list of recommended somewhat out of the box outlets for your floral designs. There are many others out there and many others that may not have yet been discovered. Take a look around your neighborhood and surrounding areas to see where your flowers might fit in and help promote your business!