Becoming a flower farmer is the hardest and most rewarding experience you could have as a professional. The hardest part is deciding on a sales outlet for all the blooms that are produced. Our first and most enjoyable option at the Primrose Creations farm is our farm stand. It’s nothing special, but it brings joy to us and our community. As time has gone on, we have expanded our sales outlets and experienced some wins and losses. Not everything is going to be easy or financially rewarding. It’s all dependent on where you want your business to go, how much work you want to put into your products, and the size of the community you are selling to.
Let’s dive in and explore the sales outlets available for flower farmers across the world!
A farm stand is ideal for anyone who grows flowers as a hobby or has little time or money to spend on supplies and marketing. Unless you have access to a retail storefront, a farm stand on your property ensures the greatest security of your product. While cutting or working in the fields, the ability to monitor sales in person increases. In addition, to cut flowers, a flower stand lends itself to being the optimal location to sell extra seedlings, increasing profits and unloading extra inventory.
Landscaping around a flower stand can draw attention to individuals walking or driving by. Marketing made easy!
Even if you don’t have a flower stand, the same concept can be implemented on your porch!
Social media is a fun place to hold a flash sale! This can be part of an overall sales/marketing scheme or can be used to drum up sales during a lul in businesses. To run a flash sale on social media, these steps make it easy:
- Post pictures of what is available, the quantity, and the price
- 1st person to send the money claims the bouquet/arrangement
- This can be completed via programs such as Venmo and PayPal
- Once claimed, a time for set-up or delivery can be scheduled.
- 1st person to send the money claims the bouquet/arrangement
As with a flower stand, a social media flash sale can be beneficial for selling off extra seedings!
Website Ecommerce Store
Having a website for your flower farm is essential for success. Like it or not, technology is here to stay! Selling bouquets, arrangements, and straight bunches of flowers is easier to sell with an internet presence, especially when linked to an e-commerce platform. You can set limits on what is available and the quantity without having to be present for every purchase, an inventory system handles that for you!
Ecommerce platforms that are best for flower farmers include:
For better clout and legitimacy, join organizations that have a similar feel to your business and potential customers. Linking to them as well as all social media platforms with your business presence increase visibility on Google which may increase sales.
A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is popular among growers of all kinds. What started out as a food revolution is enveloping itself in the world of cut flowers. A CSA requires an upfront purchase of a subscription that will be delivered at a later date. By purchasing flowers ahead of time, a customer is investing in supplies and equipment that will be used to grow the flowers they will receive throughout the growing season. This sales outlet is often used by farmers to buffer their income during the offseason.
Subscription services can be whatever you want them to be! They can be offered as weekly, bi-weekly, or weekly subscriptions of bouquets, arrangements, or buckets of loose flowers. Aside from marketing CSA subscriptions to community members, don’t forget about local businesses!
Restaurants, hotels, and businesses may be more inclined to participate in a subscription service if you’re able to be flexible with schedules and purchasing timelines (i.e. monthly payments, ability to put delivery on hold),
Think paint & sip, but add flowers! Offering a bouquet bar can be a creative way to market your services to future clients such as brides. To have a successful bouquet bar experience, ensure the flow and set-up of the products are conducive to the space. Some clients may want to create their own bouquets or arrangements while others may want you to create arrangements and bouquets out of the products they choose. Either way, dividing flowers by type and charging by the stem streamlines the process.
This sales channel has the highest ROI (Return on Investment) but is also the most labor-intensive. If floral design is your thing but you’re not interested in everyday retail sales, weddings and events may be the most economic of all. Contact local wedding and event planners to propose a working relationship. As always, be flexible! Don’t try to do it all, it’s ok to say no!
While offering full-service wedding and event florals is high on the list of goals for most florists, don’t forget about the DIY bride. Marketing bulk and buckets of flowers to low-budget brides get your product in front of more eyes, unloads product, and increases business profits.
Brick & Mortar Stores
Consignment sales are most common in brick and mortar stores. Be sure to increase prices by 10-25% to account for the percentage of the profit the location will take as payment for your renting of sales space. These locations typically do best with bouquets and straight bunches of flowers since most purchases are impulse buys.
Selling to wholesalers and florists is ideal for those who don’t see themselves as creatives or don’t wish to devote time to flower arranging. This type of flower farm sale often requires a greater number of flowers planted, meaning growing operations need to be bigger or more limited in variety.
When selling flowers to wholesalers or florists, stems will be sold in higher quantities with a lower price per stem. To increase profits, consider growing higher-cost flowers with less emphasis on fillers. These flowers include harder-to-grow and harder-to-ship varieties such as:
Since florists and wholesalers are dependent on product availability, creating a trusting relationship is key to being successful as a local flower farmer. Under commit and overachieve.
Offering farm tours exposed potential customers and clients to what you have to offer. Seeing a farm in operation generates a buzz, encouraging individuals to spread information about your business through word of mouth. Coupling tours with workshops increase the value of your services and increases income and profit.
Planning on-farm events and workshops can be tailored to your strengths and include:
- Flower arranging seminars
- Wreath making workshops
- U-Cut flowers
- How-To-Grow workshops and seminars
Participating in pop-up flower shops with local businesses is a win-win for both the business and the flower farmer. Both benefit from increased foot traffic and marketing via social media, newsletters, word of mouth, and more.
Before committing to a pop-up shop, make sure the participating business fits with your brand.
- Does selling flowers at that location make sense for you and the business?
- Will traffic be consistent enough to be profitable?
Pop-up shops are meant to be fun and an addition to your overall business plan. With greater flexibility, pop-up shops can be tailored to your schedule and be as consistent as you’d like.
When most people think of a locally grown product, they initially think of farmer’s markets. These offer a wide range of products and are generally held on various days throughout the week. With several farmer’s markets a week to attend, there are plenty of opportunities to sell cut flowers and other related products.
While selling at farmer’s markets seems to be everything dreams are made of, there are some downfalls to them. Some markets require a seasonal commitment and may even require the signing of a contract. If you don’t like the way a market is run or are unhappy with sales numbers, you may be out of luck. Make sure to read the fine print!
Farmer’s markets also can be big producers of waste, especially when it comes to cut flowers. Unlike most fruits and vegetables, flowers don’t last long once harvested from the plant. Depending on the temperature, humidity, time out of water, and the amount of physical handling, flower longevity can be reduced significantly or may be unable to sell once a market is over.
A large amount of product and time must be invested in order to participate in a farmer’s market. If attending a Saturday market, a prep schedule may be as follows:
- Wednesday through Friday
- Harvest and store flowers
- Thursday and Friday
- Make bouquet and vase arrangements
- Price products
- Begin loading transport vehicle
- Load transport vehicle
- Unload at the market, sell, and reload
- Saturday through Sunday
- Go through products and compost unusable items
Some farmer’s markets may be saturated with farmers whole grow flowers exclusively as well as produce farmers looking to increase profits with value-added products as a result of cut flower growing. A crowded marketplace reduces demand for products and can increase pressure to raise product prices in order to turn a profit.
Make the best of it!
Regardless of where and how flower farmers sell their products, the end goal is always the same: to be profitable. Businesses go through seasons much like the plants we grow, embrace the changes and make the best of what’s ahead of you!