Florist Vivien Hollingsworth gives KBB the lowdown on how she prepares for Valentine’s Day.
While millions of Aussies will be waking up on Wednesday morning with a feeling of love in their hearts, for florist Vivien Hollingsworth from Flos Botanicals, Valentine’s Day starts a day earlier.
Rising at 2am on Tuesday morning, Hollingsworth will head off to the markets at 3am to select all the fresh flowers she will need to prepare.
“Then all day Tuesday I’ll be making up pre-ordered bouquets — with my extra staff in tow — and locking in delivery times,” Hollingsworth tells Kochie’s Business Builders (KBB).
“We won’t stop wrapping until the store is full and all of our pre-orders are done, so it’s a long day. On Valentine’s Day morning, it’s another early start to wrap all the bouquets we’ve made up and get them out the door.”
Valentine’s Day is one of Hollingsworth’s busiest days of the year, surpassed only by Mother’s Day; and as the stats below show, there is a huge spike in business on the day.
Fortunately, Hollingsworth says it’s easy to plan for the onslaught of special orders and deliveries.
“When you know you’re going to have to cater for 10 times more than your usual trade on just one day, you can pre-plan a lot to help things run more smoothly,” she says.
“I’ve had my extra staff members locked in for months, we’re pushing pre-orders and advertising special Valentine’s bouquets on our website, as well as pre-booking our couriers for when we’ll be busiest. I’ve even got a couple of extra card readers on hand for queue busting during the peak purchasing times.”
Interestingly, with Valentine’s Day falling midweek, Hollingsworth says demand for delivery is almost double than if it fell on a weekend.
“We do get a consistent stream of phone and online orders from people at work during the day, but the peak times are definitely the early pick-ups from people on their way to work, the lunch-time drop-ins and then the mad dash after work (which is by far the busiest) before people meet up to celebrate.”
For centuries roses have been considered the epitome of Valentine’s Day flowers but recently Hollingsworth says more customers are becoming less traditional and opting for different floral arrangements to express their love.
“Well, the red rose is iconic. But what I’m finding is that more and more people want mixed floral arrangements and something a bit different. Customers will usually ask for colour palettes like pink or red, so I will include some roses but also populate the bouquet with lots of natural native blooms. The natives have definitely risen in popularity over recent years, not only do they have a lower price point and last longer but there has been a plethora of great florists pop up and put really cool arrangements together, which has helped show them in a new light.
“Orchids and plants of all kinds are also becoming more popular, especially as more people see Valentine’s Day as a day to share some love among all their friends, rather than just to celebrate partners. Again, people love that for a similar price they’re getting something a lot bigger that’s going to live longer.”
If you’re thinking of heading to the florist to purchase a last-minute gift for a loved one, Hollingsworth says you should be prepared to pay around $50.
“Some people spend a lot more, with higher-end bouquets pushing over $100, but you can also pick up some smaller blooms starting around $10. Anything that has to be imported, like some roses, is also going to cost a bit more. Flowers that have just come into season, like tulips, are also dearer so you won’t see as many of them around this year.”
However, she says if you are looking for a great bunch of flowers, your best option is to pre-order.
“Pre-order, pre-order, pre-order!” she stresses. “Pre-order a couple of days in advance if you can, especially if you want a delivery. Couriers can’t guarantee same-day delivery for late purchases on Valentine’s Day — it’s just too manic. And if you forget to pre-order, make sure you get to the florist as early as you can. A lot of bouquets will be shipped out before noon, so if you leave it to the last minute you’ll only have the leftovers to choose from — if any.”