What unprecedented times we live in. After a dreadful summer of bush fires we now see the worldwide disruption and tragedy of the Covid-19 Pandemic. It seems no one is really safe from this terrible virus. The effect it has had on our way of life, our freedoms and in particular our business's has been quite an eye opener.
The flower industry has been affected in a massive way by this virus. In the beginning I was really unsure about how it would affect me as a small business, I just carried on as normal for a little while then things slowly began to change. With the restrictions, social distancing, hygiene regulations I began to see how this could have a negative affect on business. My husband started working from home due to health concerns and I realised that I would need to close the shop front of my florist shop so I wasn't exposing myself to the public and possibly taking home the virus to my family. So I shut the doors.
My phone & online flower orders picked up and I was delivering more than ever however, of course, shop sales completely stopped.
With Australia's international borders now closed, imported flowers were suddenly gone from the flower market. Australia relies on importing 80 % of its flowers. Why? Because growing flowers here is really expensive. The cost of land, rates, water, electricity and labour in Australia is expensive so (back in the day) it made sense to import from countries where it is much cheaper to grow and produce the flowers we need. Also it means we can get out of season stock year round, like roses which come from Columbia, Equador and Kenya and a variety of interesting and exotic blooms.
Flowers are imported on passenger flights which costs less than freighting it in on chartered planes and of course there are very few passenger flights at the moment. This situation looks likely to continue for at least 6 months.
Currently local growers are supplying flowers to the markets and it is wonderful to be supporting them and buying local. However demand outweighs supply and prices have risen. Added to that, with the wedding and event market shut down, many of these home based business have decided to 'pivot' and start selling via social media or website and the retail florist like myself now has to compete for stock with them.
Just to make it more complicated we are now going into winter and flowers aren't so abundant in winter. There is little variety and little in quantity which makes it hard to create gorgeous bunches (like the ones pictured here!)
Prices have had to go up and I have had to think a bit harder about what I can supply and so I have stocked lots of house plants including flowering plants such as cyclamen and am selling seasonal flowers 'en masse' (from $50) which means bunches of Stock, Tulips, mixed Pom Pom Gerberas, Oriental Lily's and mixed bunches now starting from $65. Not to mention there are some beautiful gift ideas which will be popping up on my Instagram and Facebook Feed's. I have been putting together gifts for customers who are ordering by phone.
I have also currently reduced the shop hours for Winter. The shop front is open Wednesday - Friday 10am - 3pm and is closed on Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays. Monday & Tuesday, although the shop is shut, you can still order by phone or online and I will deliver locally. Support from the locals and those phoning or ordering online from elsewhere has been overwhelming and is very much appreciated. So THANK YOU everyone.
If you want to keep up with what is going on at The Wildflower Studio please head over to the website www.thewildflowerstudio.com.au and sign up to my Newsletter to be first in the know about offers, new products, workshops and flowers.