The question on everyone's mind, but no one wants to ask it. Why exactly do florists charge so damn much for a bunch of flowers?? I assure you, before I became a florist, I thought the exact same thing... I mean, they don't even last forever...
The truth is, they are actually pretty affordably priced. I totally understand that it can seem like a wrought though, which is why in the name of transparency, I thought I would go through and explain the charges for you.
- The Canberra Surcharge
Here in Canberra, we don't have a flower market. This means that we source our flowers from Sydney or Melbourne. Either we drive to Sydney in the early hours of the morning a few times a week, or pay someone else to do it. This is expensive in terms of petrol, car wear and tear, and time. Alternatively, if you are like me and are a sole trader, you use a Canberra flower wholesaler and pay a premium. A bunch in Sydney that would cost $10, now costs $15.
- The cost of a mix of flowers
Think of a dreamy bridal bouquet. It has a few white roses, a few natives, some eucalyptus, some daisies, peonies, lilies, violets and orchids. In order to create a bunch with a variety of blooms (which is what gives it texture and interest), I have to buy at least one bunch of each variety of flower used. That's because farmers don't sell flowers by the stem, they sell them by the bunch. So even if your bouquet has only one rose, I have to buy a dozen. Most bridal bouquets will have at least 10 different flowers, which means ten bunches of flowers for the creation of a single bouquet. This can be okay if we have other orders coming in that the left over flowers can go towards, but sometimes this isn't the case, so we need to charge accordingly.
When you buy a bunch of flowers, it comes beautifully wrapped, with paper, a ribbon and a card. All of this adds up. Even little things like the sticky tape and rubber bands need to be factored in when costing a product. If you are like me and you want your bunches to be luxe, you spend more on better quality paper, custom cards and fabric ribbon.
It's just a bunch of flowers! BUT there was a lot of labour that went into the creation of it. Flowers require prepping, which is time consuming and annoying (if I'm being completely honest lol). In short, this is the process of stripping leaves, weather petals and trimming each stem, one by one. Only after they have been prepped can we arrange the flowers, which can be relatively quick or very time-intensive, depending on the size of the bunch. Then we wrap them and write the little card.
Creating a bouquet is fun and creative, but make no mistake, it is still labour that needs to be accounted for. I have seen people argue that because it is creative, consumers shouldn’t have to pay for labour…. But I'm pretty sure you can all see how flawed that argument is.
- Indirect costs
This is the cost of all the overheads. If you own a shop, it is the cost of rent, bills, taxes etc. If you own an online store like me, it is the cost of utilities, the cost of running an online store, plus the cut that the website takes for each purchase. This is more depending on the type of sale, EG. Paypal and American express both incur an additional cost. You also have to pay for things like owning a domain, advertising (expensive!!!), registering a business, software (for bookkeeping etc), and website apps (things that make a website more user-friendly). For example, the calendar on my site that allows you to select a delivery date costs me an additional $20 a month.
- Delivery costs
Finally there is the delivery cost. Driving around Canberra to deliver flowers is costly in terms of time, wear and tear on the car, and petrol. There is also the time spent trying to find a person, waiting outside apartment blocks, and of course the risk of fines when we park in 5 minute zones, but no one answers the door. A lot of delivery companies have to factor in the cost of parking fines into the business structure.
- COVID-19 Update
A quick update given the current climate, is unexpected market changes. No-one could have planned for COVID-19 but we are all feeling the effects. For floristry, the main effect we felt was the price of flowers going through the roof. This was the result of imports being stopped and borders closing. A bunch that used to cost $8.50 at the supplier jumped to $17. The struggle to continue to produce the same level of work and maintain a profit has been real. Floristry is like that - it is subject to market forces that are unpredictable. You never know when there will be crop damage due to high winds, or fires, or a global-bloody-pandemic... But all of these factors change the cost that we pay for the flowers.
So there you have it! A summary of all the costs involved. As you can probably tell, there is a lot that doesn’t meet the eye in terms of pricing a product. So many factors outside of the flowers alone!
I hope in being totally transparent, it will give you a bit of peace of mind next time you buy flowers, so you don't feel totally ripped-off.
Love Coco xx