A true challenge in the small business world is persuading customers to find more reasons to spend money with you. Within the floral world, this can be difficult – after all, flower-giving occasions are both well-known and historically established. Anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day – they’re all annual, seasonal locks. Every florist is advertising around now, and your goal is to stand out from the usual campaigns.
In order for your business to truly offer an alternative in your market, consider potentially untapped events, and demographics. In this blog, we’re going to study one such occurrence and it fits right in between Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. So break out your over-the-top attire and get ready to dance to ABBA because today – we’re taking you to the high school prom.
Fun fact - national prom day is March 31st!
Here are some reasons why focusing on prom business could be a huge win for late-March sales…
The Deliverables are Smaller
Your most likely requests are going to be couples looking for two corsages, two boutonnières, or one of each. That means just two small pieces could check one couple off of your list. In other words, it’s work that’s short – but satisfying.
You Can Plan Ahead
Since these are made out of wood flowers, these can be dyed/painted (and possibly assembled) weeks ahead of time. This will give you a huge leg up on fresh florists who, by nature of their business, have to wait until the last minute to create. You have some time to plan ahead. And with time, you can create a better, more leisurely customer experience.
Smaller Pieces can have Great Margins
You don’t have to watch Shark Tank to know that in any business – it’s all about the profit margins. And the cost-per-piece of prom-related deliverables can be pretty low (including your labor). As a result, you should be able to net some tidy margins on prom pieces.
Now, we think all of those are amazing reasons to get into prom florals. Healthy margins on a scalable business in between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. What’s not to like?
As with any strategy, there are some things to keep an eye on as well. Those include:
Quantity Is The Name of the Game
Because these are smaller pieces, you won’t be able to get a significant pay day out of just ONE grand piece. You'll need to commit to a lot of smaller deliverables but at the same quality as your current output. You’ll need craftsmanship and speed, which are often at odds in creative endeavors. But to succeed and profit – this is the way to go.
Quick Turnarounds can be Expected
While you can create ahead of time, as detailed above, that doesn’t necessarily account for customer demands. Customers will still expect premium work on an expedited timeline (ie - late orders because they forgot to order early*). If you’re signing yourself up for prom work, the expectation will be speed.
*To help alleviate this, you want to get out in front of your audience early and often to promote prom season sales!*
Custom is Key
Personal expression is key, especially at this age. Customers are going to want their flowers to be fun, funky, and customized. In addition to bracing for speed and volume, you’ll also want to mentally prepare for a lot of custom requests.
Now, I can speak with a decent amount of experience on this. You see, I got the idea for a prom-related initiative because I have done flowers for a prom before.
Well, sort of.
In 2020, just before things shut down, I was contracted to create florals for the company that my husband works for. While these were working professionals, they decided that their yearly event would be themed after an 80s prom. And so, I was hired to make a boatload of corsages and boutonnieres (75 of each to be exact).
The kicker? I had 1 week from the time the order was placed to order supplies, dye the flowers, prep the greenery/ribbon, stem flowers and ship the items. Oh and I had an exact day that everything needed to arrive at the hotel where they were having their event. Not one day before, not one day after. I learned a lot about myself (and shipping) then.
Back to the good stuff. The vibes, the colors – everything was joyous. I painted with vibrant pinks, greens and blues. I listened to 80’s classics (I love a good synthesizer and saxophone solo moment) and pictured side ponytails in my mind while I painted.
Now, I got it done. And my client adored it. Here we are, 3 years later, and people still talk about it (according to my husband anyway!). Overall, it was a massive success with a generous payday attached (corporate events are likely high pay for high, stressful effort).
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t really specifically underscore the amount of effort that went into this. We’re talking roughly two weeks of non-stop crunch. I barely slept (I’m a night owl by nature but most sleep came in 3 hour shifts) and my giant hands were super cramped from all the small, detailed work. Not to mention the stress of guaranteed shipping by UPS and checking tracking every hour until the packages finally arrived to the hotel. Thankfully, on time and undamaged.
Was it worth it? Well, that depends on your context. For my personal tastes, it was a bit repetitive (even though I made sure every corsage and every boutonniere was unique in one way or another). But if you’re a workhorse that can create high-quality items quickly and without compromising quality – then prom-related projects can be a huge part of your business.
Our advice? Think over everything above and consider if prom business is right for you. And if it is – today is the day to get started on advertising and getting the word out!
Thanks to Infillion for the amazing photos from their corporate prom event mentioned above!