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Want to Run a Flower Shop? What You'll Need -- and What You Won't.

Want to Run a Flower Shop? What You'll Need -- and What You Won't.
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This story appears in the August 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

"Floristry has been glamorized as a luxurious, hobby-like career. But we deal with 4 a.m. alarms, tired bodies, a perishable product and difficult clients. We work weekends and holidays -- especially holidays," says one of our experts, Heather Williams. 

If you're looking to run a flower shop, here is some industry insight on what you will and won't need. 

What you’ll need:

1. Multiple products or services.
Flower sales are heavily impacted by the economy and trends. Insulate yourself by diversifying: Offering door-to-door delivery; selling nonperishable goods like cards, candles and ceramics; building out your event portfolio; and hosting flower-arranging classes.

2. A resale certificate.
Depending on your state, it may be required to receive tax-free wholesale goods.

3. Relationships with local businesses.
Drop off a free arrangement once a week at a coffee shop or restaurant frequented by people you would like to be your customers. Just ask the manager to keep a stack of your business cards next to the arrangement and to pass along your name if guests ask.

4. Regular clients.
“In the beginning, I focused on acquiring weekly accounts with restaurants, hotels, residences and marketing agencies,” says Bess Wyrick. “It was easier to control my buying when I had standing orders.” 

…and what you won’t:

1. A floristry certification program. 
It is not a legal requirement, and many of its teachings -- and types of flowers used -- are outmoded. You’re better off apprenticing with a skilled florist.

2. Lots of equipment, or a retail space. 
To start, buy a fridge, a hardwood table, vases and pruning equipment, and build your brand from home.

3. A price that beats the supermarkets’.
Not possible. Don’t sweat it. “Supermarkets sell flowers,” says Amy Backman. “We offer an experience, design, expertise, quality and a range of uncommon flowers.”

The market

$31.3 Billion
Amount Americans spent on “floriculture” items in 2015.

What a startup flower shop might expect to make in sales in year one.

Your social strategy

You couldn’t have a prettier product to push, so maximize its promotion via visual platforms.

A few ideas:

+Facebook Live
Take your followers behind the scenes to a wholesale market.

Show how to make an arrangement in 15 fast-forwarded seconds. 

Offer discounts to followers who tag your bouquets in a post.    

Edition: October 2016

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