Imported flowers

The Cost of Imports

When I first entered the floristry industry, imported flower varieties were really only just taking off despite flowers being brought into the country for some 45 years. In those days you were paying premium prices for the stock, which was coming into the country in pretty small numbers, and the quality was hit and miss. The industry was in the midst of a major change back then. Wages and environmental factors as well as a market saturated with some lines was making it hard for Australian growers to survive. Many made the decision to leave the industry over the last couple of decades, while others adapted.

Imported Kenyan roses
An imported Kenyan rose. Source: Bagala Bros

Imported flowers have always had some risk as it is largely unregulated….and it’s BIG business. ABC reports that approximately $67 million worth of flowers are imported every year from Columbia, Ecuador, Kenya, Singapore and other destinations.

Last year, after the 2017 review found less than half of imported flowers complied with environmental safeguards, the Federal Government announced they would increase our biosecurity measures. These steps would include the flowers being fumigated in their country of origin before being shipped here. This would add costs to the imported stock, and in turn impact the product shelf life. Even now, stock arriving from South America can be over a week old before it arrives on the florist shop floor.

Harry's Wholesale Nursery imports 70% of the stock for their business
Harry and Stephen Papadopoulos from Harry’s Wholesale Nursery import 70% of the stock for their business. Source: ABC

So why do Aussies continue to import stock rather than use local products? Well, the answer is simple. As Harry Papadopoulos of Harry’s Wholesale Nusery puts it : “What we import are only the flowers that our clients demand and that aren’t available here, locally or interstate in Australia.”

The ABC reports that Perth based Florist Matthew Landers believes social media has paid a big part in this. Consumers see what they want, and if it is not available locally we are often able to import it.

The Papadopoulos family believe adding the extra biosecurity measures is unnecessary, and by implementing these changes, the stock quality will suffer. Harry’s Wholesale Nursery is a business that imports approximately 70% of its stock, any changes to our biosecurity systems will affect their business greatly.

Local rose grower Joe Nati
Joe Nati of Nati Roses, grows his roses locally and says any changes made to the biosecurity systems for imported flowers may have a positive affect of his business. Source: ABC News

Local roses businesses such as Nati Roses, have been growing their own roses for generations. For the most part, they grow old fashioned varieties of roses, that open all the way up, and are scented. This is what sets his business apart from the imports. As a local business he is also able to ensure his stock is fresh, and in most cases, what you buy today was picked the day before. He hopes that the rising costs of imports will be good news for his business. Along with other growers he would also like to see a Country of Origin labelling system brought in.

So what is the answer? Bernard Pollack of Pearsons Florist believes that local and imported stock needs to somehow coexist. Availability, quality, and quantity greatly affects why we need all options on the table. From an environmental stand point, it certainly would be better to utilise what we can produce ourselves. Aesthetically however, sometimes we cannot achieve what we need to artistically with the stock on hand. Event work, as well as Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day put great pressure on us to source great quality produce, in vast numbers and sometimes that just isn’t possible from our small pond.  And for a small business, we certainly understand the value of local, community support….but what happens if your business survival depends on offering the imports?

Love to hear your thoughts

Fwf X

Feature Image by Ivan Kashinsky via Smithsonian Magazine

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Looking for Valentine's Day gifts?

Are Aussies UNDERWHELMING Their Loved Ones on Valentine’s Day

Have you ever wondered if your other half lives under a rock come Valentine’s Day? Are you the only one in your friendship circle being overlooked at this time of year? Well,  in reality, you are far from alone. It seems that the Australian Valentine’s Day is the lite version of what other parts of the world enjoy.

So whilst there will be a influx of loved up pics of coupledom this week to scroll through on Instagram, do not feel left out. According to ME banks Love and Money survey, 81% of Aussies believe it is the thought that counts, and only 56% intend on celebrating Valentine’s Day this year. You may see more gestures of love than gifts on your IG feed, maybe a snap of a home cooked meal, or a walk along the beach and a bouquet from the local florist.

Love hearts.
Love heart cross stitch anyone? Source: Amazon

It also seems that love (or at least the gestures of love) fade as we age, with the 18-24 group spending up big on the days celebrations.

That in itself kind of makes me sad….how about you?

Valentine's Day gift ideas for those who have been married long term

We all know youth is beauty, and the younger versions of ourselves probably did fall head over heels far too quickly, declaring our undying love to the world within the first 10minutes. But as I age I find that there is something so attractive about people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s who have such a strong sense of identity and who have truly learned to love and value themselves. And isn’t confidence the most attractive thing?

What a shame it is that as we get older, people assume that the frivolities of a day such as Valentine’s Day are wasted. Doesn’t everyone love to feel loved and appreciated, desired, and adored? With our life experience we are better equipped to truly appreciate a partner’s efforts however small. And I bet we are also better at making our partner feel special and tailoring our efforts to their personality far better than our younger days also.

Older generations and love

I want to set you all a challenge: if your partner has stood by you through the hard times, the sad times, enjoyed and celebrated your success and giggled with you along the way, show them that it has not gone unnoticed. This isn’t to suggest you pick the biggest and most ostentatious gift or bunch of fresh cut flowers you can find on Thursday. I truly do believe it is the thought that counts. Choose well, give some thought to what they love. Write a heartfelt card message detailing the things you love about them.

And even if Valentine’s Day isn’t usually a day you celebrate, throw caution to the wind, get carried away in the spirit of it all. If you would like to chat to one of our amazing staff call 02) 9871-1666 otherwise you can check out our Valentine’s Day menu here. We will of course have a variety of fresh cut flowers, bouquets and arrangements made up for purchase on the day, so you can head in store to choose something special.

Enjoy lovers 😉

Fwf x

Featured image : splendour

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Red roses for Valentine's day

Valentine’s Day Is Coming- Don’t Miss Your Opportunity For Love

With one week to go until Valentine’s Day, it may come as a surprise to you, but florists are already starting to get busy and working extended hours behind the scenes.

For many florists, Valentine’s Day falls at the tail end of Chinese New Year celebrations, so don’t be surprised if your usually fresh faced peppy florist is looking a little worse for wear. Some of us are running on pure adrenaline, maybe with a little help from our friends coffee Cola or another source of energy 😉

That says ‘rose’ right? That seems like an appropriate thing for a florist to say right? 😉Source: Great Memorable Quotes.

Over my career in floristry I have been blessed to work for pretty awesome small businesses (and big businesses), with great management teams in place and strong organisational skills. When I was hearing stories of some of my floristry classmates working 24 hours straight, I was almost embarrassed to admit I had gone home and had at least 8 hours sleep before another round.

It may sound crazy but this can be a reality for many in the industry. And rather than this be a sob story, this is written simply to illustrate what our world can look like at this time of year and how that effects the way we work.

Like many industries working with fresh products, time is of the essence. And much like a wedding, birthday or funeral for that matter, on Valentine’s Day, you really have to deliver the goods on time. Like, sending Valentine’s Day flowers on February 15th isn’t really going to fly, if you get my drift 😉 That means, that the goods have got to be ready, right? And so next week your local florist will be working like a machine to make sure all those fresh flower deliveries are ready for Valentine’s Day, even if that means working through the night.

Market fresh roses
Flowers fresh from the market. Source: Starting with A.

In this week leading up to Valentine’s Day there are many other jobs that require attention. Have we received an adequate number of sundry items to fulfil the orders? Can we pre make the boxes, line them with our signature wrapping, and neatly stack them somewhere? Can we start making decorative ribbons? Can we soak floral foam and have containers filled ready to work in? Don’t forget all those boxed roses come with individual phials of water..better start filling them up too.

What about the pile of orders building up in the Valentine’s Day tray? Every single order has a card message on it…and for most small businesses, these messages are still hand written….so we try to stay on top of the pile as best as we can.

You can generally still order flowers for Valentines Day right up until the day, however my advice to anyone who wishes to order is to get in as early as you can.

Why?

Well, for a small business, we have to order our stock some weeks in advance, and once it is sold, it is sold. The reality is it is unlikely we will be able to secure more of the same products closer to the day as it is often already allocated to another business.

Bouquet of a dozen red roses
A dozen fresh red roses, a beautiful gift for Valentine’s Day. Shop our Valentine’s Day range.

Similarly, once a delivery run is full, an area will need to be closed off. Drivers can only physically deliver a certain amount of orders in any one day within the time constraints of office hours, or at a reasonable time at home addresses. What is the sense of biting off more than you can chew? If you overload a driver it is unlikely he will be able to deliver, and as a consequence, your business does not deliver in EVERY sense to your customer.

Its not too late to order, in fact, now is the perfect time….check out our Valentine’s Day range here.

Fwf x

Featured image: Wallpapersite

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