Christi Lopez—The Business of Flowers
I'm just gonna ask it...HOW DID YOU DO?
Really, how did you do yesterday? Did you kill it for Valentine's Day? Was it your best ever in sales or did you struggle with your deliveries? Order too little roses? Or, for that matter, did you order too many?
It's time to decompress, my friend! Not only do you want to take a load off your feet, but you want to do a brain dump of all that went on while it's fresh on your mind. I know, you don't want to think about it, right?
No matter if it's your first experience with this holiday or your 50th, it's always good to take some time and write down how it went. When I had my first Valentine's in my brick and mortar store, it was crazy! No one told me really what to expect. For the first ten years of my business, I worked out of a basement. I kept a few notes, but I didn't need to think about how each year went since I only had a few deliveries on my plate that day/week. But, my first one in my shop? Well, let's just say, it was a doozy!
I purchased Bergerons in 1997 (more on in another post!), but I didn't have any notes on what to expect or how to manage it in a physical location where I would have people walking in and having deliveries to make. How did I do it? Well, I called my wholesaler and asked them for advice. Granted she didn't know what to tell me really, but she sold me her most expensive roses (I had to have the best in town), and I ordered large quantities. Well, you can guess what happened on that...I overordered BIG TIME! Honestly, I overordered on RED, and didn't order any other colors of roses, which now I know to order some others too!
But besides that, I realized that I was W-A-Y understaffed...understaffed on drivers, helpers, designers and on hardgoods. You name it; I wasn't prepared. My hubs (who was my boyfriend at the time) and I were out delivering until 9:30 p.m. Yep, you heard me, people were getting their flower deliveries AFTER their dinner! I had so many customers that were mad at me. They were calling the shop, but of course, I didn't have a cell phone for them to reach me, because I was out on the road. My mom was answering the phone letting them know that we were still out delivering.
The next day, I reimbursed people for their orders if I had delivered after 6 p.m. It was the right thing to do. Of course, I apologized when I made the delivery in person, but I also knew that I couldn't let it go without giving their money back. I overpromised and under-delivered. NEVER AGAIN!
That next day, I sat down and started a "holiday notebook." This notebook was about my holidays. I did a brain dump of everything I could think of. I made an Excel spreadsheet of the flowers that I had ordered. I noted, what sold, and what I should have gotten. I noted what I overordered and how many deliveries I had — made notes about what type of staffing I had that day.
AND, I read up in the floral magazines about trends for Valentine's Day, not just design trends, but business trends. What do you mean, you ask? Well, I learned that there would be days of the week where Valentine's sales would be higher than others. For instance, did you know that generally, sales will be more significant when Valentine's falls on a Tuesday-Thursday? People like to send flowers and make a splash at work to show off especially if they know that they aren't celebrating until the weekend, so flowers are a gift of choice for many during the week.
Each year, as I entered the information for a holiday, I noted sales trends and certain things started to come to light. I realized that men usually purchase red 90% of the time unless they know their significant other likes another color. 80% of women prefer another color other than red! Crazy, right? But, who is my customer? Mostly men on this holiday, so I still order heavier towards red, but I always ask, "What color does she like?" instead of "What color do you want to send?". This way, it makes them stop and think, and to this day, I send out a higher amount of colors in roses other than red. For that matter, I sell so many other flowers other than roses too. Because I ask, "What flowers are his/her favorite?" Because it's great to subtly remind them that they are sending to someone else and not sending what they want to receive!
So the phrase for today is "brain dump"! Do it! You won't be sorry. Use the old pencil and paper or choose to start a notebook in Evernote. I love Evernote now as it lives on all my devices and I can add notes to it anywhere! But, back in the day, my notebooks were my bible!