Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breaking Up is Hard to Do or Why Sprout is so Picky

I was not happy when the tulips I bought recently came packaged this way. Most of you are going, "Huh? Isn't that how tulips come?"

But those of you who are florists will see the barcodes on the wrappers and think - "I can't sell those."

I can't sell those because that's how consumers expect their supermarket flowers to come, barcoded and ready to scan at the checkout. I can not look like I sell supermarket flowers. In a lot of minds, supermarket flowers and florist flowers are essentially the same thing, and packaging like this doesn't help to make a distinction between the two. My business hinges on the fact that we are decidedly NOT the same.

I've also been having some quality issues with this same vendor. I've been doing a lot of reading on line and sharing with other florists and it seems like a lot of us have been currently experiencing quality issues for at least the past 6 months. The excuses on the vendor end abound - it's been cold in Florida, it's been rainy in California, there was a freeze in Ecuador, the economy is hurting, the trucks are behind. I get lots of ready apologies, and I have no problems getting credit on anything I return, but I don't want credit. I WANT GOOD FLOWERS!

Some florists right now are probably saying to themselves, great Cathy, why are you sharing the problems? No one wants to hear the problems, they make us all look bad. Well, I want you to continue to love and enjoy flowers. You have the world at your keyboard and I don't want you to pause and reconsider your options the next time you're thinking about buying flowers.

I want you all to know that quality matters to me, as I know it matters to you, so much so that I broke up with one of my vendors last week.

It was a sad moment for me, as this company was really there for me for nearly 10 years, especially in the beginning when I was buying 2 bunches of greens at a time. I always get good service and I enjoy the camaraderie of folks who have been doing this for far longer than I have. I hope things turn around for them and we can go back to working together to bring you great stuff.

But they have to make decisions that are right for their business.

And I have to make decisions that are right for mine.

So for the time being, we ask that you place your orders for anything custom a week in advance as I will be going to the Boston Flower Exchange on a different day of the week.

And please bear with me while we make some changes! It's for all of our good!


PayneMorrison Florists said...

What a great post. Just goes to show how similar all florists are that really care about the industry. I feel your pain all the way out here in Phoenix.

Cathy R said...

Amen on 'quality matters'. We've long considered our purchase dollars as 'votes' and vote for the growers and suppliers who consistently deliver what we need with no excuses - because there are certainly no acceptable excuses when we're facing customers to whom we've promised specific, quality flowers.

Sometimes a supplier break-up is their best wake-up call to take a hard look at they way they run their business. More than once, we've seen companies turn around and have rewarded their re-commitments with return business. Hopefully, that will be the case with your supplier.

In this economy, none of us can let poor quality slide by - even out of a sense of loyalty.


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