It had only been three and a half weeks in 2017 from when I purchased the floral shop until Valentine’s Day. Two of those weeks I was shut down for renovation and trying to organize my mind and my ‘Lemon & Tulips’ brand and let alone many other things. I questioned myself if should even take on the task of being open for this love filled holiday, but I clenched my teeth and did it. I sold out.
I sold out because I looked at the previous owners 2016 purchases and decided to do the same. I was not thrilled by the flower choices because the Fryeburg floral shops had always been producing a traditional style with gypsophila, solid carnations, freedom roses, asters and dazzling the arrangements up with acetate ribbon in a colored vase. I am not bashing this look but it was not my style and not how I wanted to represent Lemon & Tulips.
2018 Valentine’s Day I was determined to make it my own but incredibly nervous. I was consistently questioning myself, ‘do I get the same number of flowers from last year?’ ‘did I grow a following and will I get more customers?’ ‘do I need more retail?’ ‘will my customers like my aesthetic?’. Valentine’s Day for a florist is agonizing. Sure, it is a moneymaker but the process is overwhelming and super exhausting.
In 2017 I ordered around 425 roses, this year, 2018, I increased it to around 800. I did this because I made an easy recipe of only tulips, antique carnations, roses, thistle, hypericum berries and accent flowers. That is all I wanted to keep things ‘this is what we have and this is the cost.’ My absolute biggest fear on February 14th is saying yes to all the orders and then suddenly running out and then apologizing to the customer that we could not fill their order. Disappointments and complaints is the worst feeling thinking that your business failed.
By having a mindset of not having enough flowers, I over ordered. Oof. Another big fear is to having to sit and look at perishable flowers. Now what to do with over $500 of wholesale cost of roses? I decided to break them up. Three buckets full of roses were giving to local businesses to give out to customers for free. The roses had a tag on each saying, ‘follow us!’ to try and boost my social media on Facebook and Instagram. I knew this would not do much and it didn’t. I received zero tags and follows for the free roses. Marketing is a tough cookie. I then chose to be selfish and make my own installation piece because why not? I could have sold my roses with a major price reduction but again I was having a fear that I would get more complaints of quickly dying flowers and that I looked down upon my quality control.
The best part of floral is turning your mind off and what others want from you and to just do want you want to do. To showcase that your mind is open and to be creative with what you have at hand. My concept was to create a ‘spring is almost here!’ design in my mother’s garden. All roses were placed in natural honeysuckle vines and will compost back into the garden. I had to learn from both my 2017 and 2018 Valentine’s Day with a positive attitude and hoping next years will be better.
Oh flowers, you expensive yet beautiful thing.