Valentines Day Flower Buying

I have been in the flower business for about a decade. This is a short amount of time compared to some designers. But anyone in the business for more than two years can tell you buying flowers on Valentines Day is very tricky.

Avoid order gatherers

It is tricky because there are companies which appear to be flower shops to the person who is not in the floral business. These companies go by many names: FTD, Teleflora, 800Flowers, Ava’s Flowers, etc.

These companies are NOT flower shops. They are order gatherers; meaning they will take your order for flowers on Valentines Day (or any other day for that matter) and also take thirty to forty percent of the money you pay before sending the order to an actual florist in the vicinity of where flowers are to be delivered.

These companies also have advertisements which show a big beautiful arrangement online, with an order number. But these photos are staged. They may show an “all around” arrangement but it is actually one sided in the photo to make it appear more dense.

They quote prices which are unrealistic for the flowers shown. (I have literally made the “as pictured” arrangements received “by wire” where the shop made two to five dollars.)

Where the pricing comes from

Most flower prices fluctuate during the year. This occurs with all price points; from pompons and carnations to peony and orchids. It is not possible to have an arrangement available for the same exact price throughout the year if market price is taken into account.

Farms and distributors set the rate. They set them for different reasons, mostly supply and demand. But not the price gouging supply and demand some people think about. Sometimes the farm will have blight, civil unrest (yes, it happened in Ecuador in recent past), supply chain disruption (as it did during the height of the pandemic). Sometimes it is the time of year.

Save more than one thing

Most all of us would like to save money on the things we purchase. Many would agree to shop local. There are a couple of tips to help achieve both these goals. First, call your local flower shop and order from them. If you are unfamiliar ask a friend who buys flowers, ask me or use an internet search for the location where the flowers are to be sent.

Save money by ordering “designer’s choice” flower arrangements. This is when the shop will use what they have in stock in the theme or color palette desired. Allowing this type of freedom in design will typically result in a fresher, larger arrangement.

Florists often have a favorite out of city/state shop to send orders to and can do so in a “shop to shop” agreement. The originating flower shop will contact the out of state shop and order for you.

Always order or preorder as soon as possible for Valentines Day (or any holiday). Have it delivered before Valentines Day which will ensure fewer mishaps with contracted “day of” delivery drivers.

Understand the floral designer working a holiday has been working ten, 12 or even 15 hour days to prepare for that one day. They have been subsisting on one or all of the following, café con leche, espresso, chocolate covered espresso beans, some sort of energy drink, chips, sandwiches eaten while standing and working, possibly not eating at all.

There is a love hate relationship with Valentines Day for me. I love being able to provide more variety of bouquets because more boxes of flowers are ordered. I am grateful I am able to work late at home instead of at a flower shop. I enjoy seeing happy faces and offering an affordable option during Valentines Day.

The tough side for me is finding flowers which meet my price point, is beautiful and working long hours to meet demand.

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