Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Take Your Love for Plants Up a Notch and Open a Flower Shop

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Turn your plant obsession into a revenue-generating profession by starting a floristry business from home. Here’s how to do it sustainably.

Floristry is a hobby that has been enjoying an increase in popularity since the pandemic. And in the face of the climate crisis and an unstable economy, it’s even more noble than you may think. Should you start a floristry business of your own?  

Why get into floristry?

Engaging in floristry harbors several environmental and health benefits that are often overlooked. Firstly, it can contribute to a greener environment. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, promoting cleaner air and fostering a healthier ecosystem. Moreover, by utilizing locally sourced plants and sustainable materials, floristry can have a smaller carbon footprint, thus supporting a greener planet.

From a health perspective, immersing oneself in greenery has been found to alleviate stress. Interacting with plants can significantly reduce both mental and physical stress by lowering the heart rate and decreasing levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Furthermore, the act of arranging flowers enhances one’s creativity, offering a therapeutic outlet to express oneself through the medium of nature.

a man smells yellow flowers
Photo Courtesy Fulvio Ciccolo

Beyond personal health benefits, the floristry industry can also promote community well-being. Many florists participate in “Petal it Forward” initiatives, where they give away flowers to encourage acts of kindness, fostering community connections and spreading positivity.

How to start a floristry business from home

Whether looking for a full transition to floristry or making it a lucrative side hustle, you can easily get started in a matter of days. Here’s what you need to do in order to start your own home floristry business.

Supplies and sustainability

With the legality of your business sorted, you can start to think more about exactly what it is you’re selling. Which flowers will you be sourcing or growing, and what kinds of arrangements will you offer? If you’re growing your own supplies in your back garden, you might consider fencing off an area specifically for stock – for both privacy purposes and the adequate protection of your plants from the weather. As a business, and a local one to boot, you may be able to come to arrangements with local suppliers of ancillary equipment, whether gardening tools or pots and planters.

Florists can purchase flowers from wholesalers, growers, or local flower markets. Put these items on your to-do list:

  • Attend trade shows and industry events. These events bring together many suppliers, so you can explore their offerings and negotiate deals.
  • Use the Wholesale Florist and Florist Supplier Association’s wholesale florist finder tool. This tool can help you find wholesalers who are invested in the industry.
  • Search online for the types of flowers sold wholesale in your local area. You can also look up grower associations to find specialists.
carbon footprint of roses
Flower bouquet | Photo courtesy Polina Kholodova

Some of the best places to buy wholesale flowers in bulk include Amazon, Fifty Flowers, Global Rose, Sam’s Club, Etsy, Costco, and Faire. 

Spreading the word

All that’s left to do, with the bones of your business all but sorted, is to start advertising yourself. To do this effectively will require a little expenditure on branding; a good logo can go a very long way! As a local business, conventional marketing tactics like flyering and postering can be incredibly effective. 

However, if you are running an online business, social media marketing is very much your friend. Promoted posts can help you expand your reach, while posting regular content on platforms like Instagram and TikTok can increase engagement and sales.

Budgeting for success

Naturally, all of this will command some form of budgeting. Financial considerations are key to both short-term business success and the longevity of your business – and there are more costs to consider than the cost of growing and supplying stock. For example, if you intend to open a physical shop front, you’ll need to consider overheads such as electricity and heating, not to mention rent. Running an online storefront can be better for the budget, but might also incur other costs relating to point-of-sale and your website domain.

Registering your business

Before making any further arrangements, it’s important to address the legal elements of starting up a business: namely, registering your business formally. If you are operating alone, the best route would be to register as a self-employed ‘sole trader’. As a sole trader, any business income is treated as personal income and taxed accordingly, while any business expenses can be deducted from your total income before tax; this is all reconciled via an annual Self-Assessment tax return. 

The alternative would be to formally register as a limited company. This would be the correct route if you had intentions of hiring staff, as you can enrol them in PAYE. However, this form of registration can cost more overall, and generate more administrative responsibilities too!

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