Floristry Business

Keeping It Local

Words by Nita Robertson, AIFD, CFD

Selling locally and regionally made products, including unique artisan-crafted décor and gifts, is a perfect match for almost any retail flower shop. By supporting local and regional artists, craftspeople and flower growers, you’ll not only be supporting your local economy but also offering your customers a range of speciality options and, most likely, creating an additional revenue stream.

Today’s consumers recognise the benefits of locally made and grown items, and demand is higher now than ever before. Shoppers are often willing to pay a little more for the perceived quality and benefits that come with such products, including stimulating their local economy and creating jobs while, often, providing less of an environmental impact.

The “buy local” movement was gaining traction even before the pandemic, but momentum has been building even more since then. As a retailer, you should consider this expanding niche in your area.

Hand-made candle

Both locals and out-of-towners love to buy local products. Partnering with local and regional artisans and suppliers can help set you apart from all types of other retailers, including your floral competitors. Popular locally produced items you can offer at your flower shop include not only fresh cut flowers but also artisanal skin-care products and soaps; candles; gourmet delicacies, chocolates and other sweets, spices, sauces and flavoured oils; jewellery; textiles; pottery and tableware; and all forms of artwork for home and office décor.

It is important to remember that big stores tend to lack personality, quality and atmosphere. And by shopping local your hard earned pounds go straight back to your community helping to provide jobs, boost morale and generally create a buzz for the region. It’s a great feel good factor for your customers to be part of a local movement and to feel they are helping to make a difference with their purchases. And nothing of course is mass produced which means that the quality will be so much higher, and they are prepared to pay more for that.

Developing a strategic partnership with another local business is a great tactic for increasing your regional footprint, by building brand awareness among a new audience. It could be a business that is either in or allied with the industry or one whose values align with your own. 

Marketing Local/Regional Products

If you’re going to sell local and regional merchandise, you will want to market the items locally, both in store and online. It’s a good idea to train and, possibly, incentivise your staff to suggest specific local items as add-ons to all orders, to both phone and walk-in customers. 

Additionally, creating a business account on Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can help you connect with a local audience. Sharing tips and articles is an excellent way to drive local engagement and get good reviews of your business.

Offering “Locally” Grown Flowers

It is also important to research cut flower farmers in your area and use local blooms, whenever possible. There are probably many unusual botanical treasures that grow seasonally in your area. And be sure to promote those flowers as local seasonal blooms and educate customers on the origin of the flowers.

To get more involved with and support local businesses, take time to research products generated in your area, and enquire of those companies and artisans about carrying their products in your shop. Is there a local chocolatier or baker you can work with in your area to create a special gift? Are there locally handmade soaps and spa products? Candles? Pottery? Artworks? The possibilities are endless. Finding the right fit for your business and carrying unique local products can diversity your business, attract new customers — and ultimately add to your bottom line.