Florists often operate on small margins, so we always need to look for good new opportunities. Anything that adds value to your floral business is worth taking seriously. An important question to ask yourself is: what new flower experiences can you add to improve your business?
Some clever florist entrepreneurs have found success in organising flower classes and workshops. They use them to attract new types of customers, and increase turnover and cash flow: dynamics that are vital to a successful business.
Moreover, your flower classes and workshops can focus on any theme you like. Special days of the year, like Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day; specific plant materials and bases, or just the joy of seeing children work with flowers.
Do workshops or flower classes suit you, perhaps? We explain some of the positive and potentially negative aspects for you here.
Flower Classes: the good and the bad
For starters, hands-on flower classes have been gaining popularity in many countries. There is clearly a market for them. As the threat of the corona epidemic becomes smaller, group classes and workshops will see increased attention again. Now can be an excellent time to prepare for this scenario. And position your business accordingly.
Not everyone is enthusiastic, however. Some professional florists believe floral classes give away the tricks of the trade. They worry amateurs will learn some basic floristry skills, and believe they have what it takes. We all know, of course, that this is not how it works. Floristry is a trade that requires years of training.
Should you offer regular hands-on flower classes? Here are some tips from an expert to consider:
Advice from a Flower Workshop expert
In-store flower classes can take various forms. Instruction in basic floral arrangement, professional workshops using floral foam, or things like private parties and company events. What works for you is a personal matter. So consider it well, and focus on what you are passionate about.
People are always looking for fun, creative and social experiences. And most people simply love flowers. Can you come up with a basic business concept that combines having fun with friends and flowers? Then you’re off to a good start!
Professional florist Anna Boxberger of flower shop Zuckerblüte, in Germany, gives a workshop for her clients.
Surprising, mixed concepts are also trendy and tend to generate buzz. Always keep your target group in mind; what do they like already, and how can you benefit from that? Greenery and sustainability? Or how about a floral design + wine workshop? You can bet women will talk about it amongst themselves and spread the word!
Perhaps you like to work with children? How about a fun workshop for kids, where they get to play around with flowers and arranging? It can be a birthday event, an outdoor gathering, or just a regular in-house class you organise. Perhaps you can promote your services through a local school? In the winter season, how about organising a Christmas wreath workshop..?
Another essential point to consider: what will the participants in your workshops need, and how do you economically stock it? What will they like to take home after your class, and how do you sell those products as an add-on? Can you offer a flower subscription service, so that they can continue to practice at home?
For marketing, never neglect the massive impact of social media channels. Word of mouth is terrific, but don’t forget to use Instagram or even TikTok to showcase your events!
Challenges you may deal with:
Attendees will generally be women, but some classes may attract more couples and men than you expect. Company events may well bring in a mix of employees. How does this affect your setup? What will be a suitable location? Think about this ahead of time.
Getting a consistent number of attendees can be difficult. Having between ten and twenty participants generally makes sense: it’s enough to be profitable, but not too much to no longer be manageable.
Finally, if your participants get distracted, how do you bring their attention back to the floristry..? Being a successful instructor is different from being a good florist. But it can be a remarkable experiment, and you may just find the role suits you very well. Good luck!
Inspiration from workshops with professional florists:
Smithers-Oasis also regularly organises professional workshops to instruct florists in the use of proper techniques. In this gallery: creative designing with OASIS® BIO BLACK Floral Foam, featuring work by Cathy Devaud, Dylan Decamp, Fanny Provost, Jacques Castagne, Natache Ouamour and Quentin Choplain.