Christmas and New Year celebrations are mostly complete. Sure there are lights up and some folks are to celebrate in the coming days. But things are going forward.
This was a weird one; more than it being the first full Christmas on my own as florist. (Last year FlowerFive was closed from Christmas Eve to after New Year.) Historically the florist busy season is marked by Thanksgiving; continues to gain traction until it’s opus on Mother’s Day.
COVID 19 brought a lot of uncertainty. Will folks travel? Will people buy gifts? Will they send flowers? Surprisingly yes. The Tampa population did all these things.
Assuredly the average person is unfamiliar with the fact that a florist reserves flower orders days, if not months ahead of time, e.g. I am pre-booking flowers from my supplier now for Valentine’s day. I reserved Christmas wreaths as well as red carnations back in September.
COVID must still be messing with the supply chain because half of my 700 red carnations which were ordered for Christmas went MIA for a week. When my reservation went missing I called every wholesaler in town and there was nary a red carnation to be found. The city was bereft of red carnations.
Christmas was busy for FlowerFive. But I still over ordered carnations. Apparently, I doubled last year’s order instead of increasing it by 25% or so. This was good and bad. As you may know FlowerFive strives to only order the number of flowers which are needed for the week then donates leftovers to charity and/or discounts the $5 bunches to LWL’s (last week’s leftover’s at $3 each.)
Christmas 2020 FlowerFive donated $200 worth of flowers to Tampa General Hospital and University Village Nursing Center.
Christmas Eve day was so busy I asked my husband to bring me all the bouquets I had made for the Chocolate Pi flower buggy stop. This was a catch 22. While it was great the flowers had sold out at the AM Starbucks Seminole Heights flower buggy shift it meant there were no bouquets ready for the Chocolate Pi stop slotted for 12:45pm.
At noon I was frantically making bouquets to take out to Chocolate Pi by 12:45pm. I realized even though I was working as fast as I possible; there was no way I would make it. I had to make the hard decision to cancel the Chocolate Pi buggy shift. Instead the flower buggy was back out at Starbucks Seminole Heights at 3:30ish with a fresh batch of $5, $10 and $15 flower bouquets.
Being essentially self-employed for many years and growing up in the service business, I know an integral part of building a loyal customer base is being predictable and having a schedule which is posted well in advance. Please accept my sincerest apologies if you were unable to get flowers because of this miscalculation.
I also learned it is best to use specialty items up. Never save them. Hours were spent on picking pine cones, ribbon, and millimeter balls for bling on the bouquets. In my effort to save them for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day many were left unused…only to be packed up until next year.
Let me wrap up and let you know I appreciate each and every one of my patrons. I want you to know it is my goal to provide a cost effective, easy way for you to treat yourself and your loved ones with fresh, long lasting flowers throughout the year…weekly, semimonthly or monthly.
Please share the FlowerFive service with your family and friends. You will be bringing a smile to so many folks…the one you give the flowers to—even if it is you. It will also allow me to donate flowers to those who need a boost and you will be helping a small business thrive despite the pandemic.
Thank you for your support. I wish you happiness, health and success in the coming year.
Linda Quinn, Chief Petal Pusher at FlowerFive