A DELICATE BALANCE: HOW TO MAINTAIN OR GROW YOUR SYMPATHY FLOWER BUSINESS
The sympathy flower business has long been a mainstay of florists, but in our current situation, things have changed dramatically. As a result of COVID-19, much of the grief and bereavement is now done at a distance.
Now, more than ever, with the restrictions put in place in most funeral homes, flowers are even more meaningful to those who are grieving. While nothing can replace a warm hug or a gathering of loved ones to offer comfort, flowers can send an important message of love and support.
To that end, there are many ways you as a florist can assist those in such a delicate situation, and by doing so, maintain a strong sympathy flower business.
- Network with Funeral Directors. Perhaps the most important thing you can do right now is to reach out to funeral directors in your area and discover their needs. Are they holding memorial services in person or at a distance? Are they televising more services these days? How are they helping families, and how can you assist them? Based on what you discover, create, and provide materials that they can share with their customers about your products and services.
- Offer a variety of designs. Many customers choose traditional designs for memorials or funeral services, such as crosses, wreaths, and the like. However, there are those customers who would prefer to have an arrangement with a bit more creative flair. Be sure to appeal to both the traditional and the more contemporary customer with your offerings.
- Customize arrangements to make them more personal. When you discuss sympathy flowers with a customer, ask them about the person to find out what made them special. Did they have a favorite flower, color, or hobby? What was their occupation? By incorporating as much as possible about that person into your design, you’ll provide a unique way for grieving family and friends to remember their loved one.
- Showcase collections for impact. When designing arrangements for a memorial service or a funeral, create collections of arrangements. A themed collection makes more impact, particularly if the service is shared remotely. An example would be a casket spray, an easel-mounted wreath, and two table arrangements, all with the same flower types and colors.
- Suggest other options than “please omit.” The growing practice of people requesting something different than flowers has undoubtedly cut into the sympathy flower business in some areas. Often, when customers feel unsure about what to send to a service, they choose to send nothing at all. It’s essential to educate your customers about the power of flowers to provide comfort, peace, and calm at such a difficult time. Use your website to provide this information, as well as creating marketing materials that you can give them when they come to your shop.
- Create unique sympathy arrangements for homes. So many people won’t be able to visit with the bereaved, and flowers can provide much-needed comfort from a distance. Show your customers as many options as possible for sympathy flowers that can be delivered to homes, so that they can choose something personal and meaningful.
Use these tips to assist both those providing the services and those who may not be able to attend. You’ll be doing something that genuinely helps in such a difficult time.