Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 98

Question:

Have you ever had a bride bring a proposal from another floral designer to a consultation appointment with you? How did you handle it?

Floresie | Say Cheeeese Photography

Floresie | Say Cheeeese Photography

Answers:

I’ve never had someone bring another proposal to a consult. I suppose if I were to encounter this situation…

First, they are likely doing that because they want to be able to negotiate price. So I would make it clear to the potential client that I wasn’t interested in a price war or in undercutting another designer just in order to get their business. I would be very careful to position my work as an exclusive service, outlining all the things that are unique about my business/style/etc., as well as, why my pricing works the way it does. If they were still interested, I would provide them with a proposal but I would make it clear that it wasn’t a negotiation. If and when I sent the proposal, it would have an expiry date on it (that way I wouldn’t be waiting and waiting for them while they shop around).

Clare Day (Clare Day Flowers)

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I did not experience this scenario.  I think there were more incidents of my proposal circulating around to other florists in the beginning to see if they could get the wedding done at lower cost.  In the latter half of my retail career, I did not actually give the final proposal until the wedding was booked.  I always offered what the other florists could not promise in design concepts – that was my winning formula.

Hitomi Gilliam AIFD (Design358)

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On many occasions brides email me or try to show me another designer’s work, at which point I adamantly say I can’t or won’t look at the intellectual property of another designer. I also request that they refrain from sharing the proposal in the future. It’s really bad form to adjust your designs or prices on someone else’s work. On several occasions I have actually told the client to stay with the other florist because I would hope someone would do that for me.

Holly Chapple (Holly Chapple Flowers)

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Nope, that never happened to me. I had brides calling me to talk once they got several proposals though, to try and negotiate the prices based on the other proposals. I am usually pretty firm on my prices which I strongly believe are fair. I however am always open to reduce the budget and find solutions to do less or smaller items if I feel the couple really wants to work with me because my style corresponds to what they are dreaming about, but I don’t do any effort for customers that just want the cheapest vendor in the area.

Laetitia Mayor (Floresie)

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No, I have never had this happen. If it did, I would firmly express my disinterest in seeing that proposal and say that we will be building a custom proposal for the couple, not trying to copy someone else. If they really wanted me to just go point-for-point through the other florist’s proposal, I would tell them I wasn’t a good fit and show them the door.

Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)

2 thoughts on “Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 98

  1. Blush & Vine

    We’ve never encountered this, thank goodness. Such bad form! However, we have been told what others have quoted to which we reply that we will not get drawn into a bidding war against a fellow Designer. We price by our work and no one else’s. We explain that flowers are a very personal aspect of the wedding. It is crucial to feel a connection with your florist and feel confident in not only their design aesthetic but also that they understand your vision. In the end, this is more important than the bottom line. Either the client books with us or they don’t. If they don’t, we know that it wasn’t a good fit and we can rest easy knowing that we didn’t undercut a fellow Designer.

    Reply
    1. Amy McGee Post author

      Thanks for this advice, Michelle & Suzette! I’ve heard similar feedback from other designers and it’s comforting to know you all are watching out for one another! Sometimes the clients just need to be educated on how we respect and protect the intellectual property of fellow designers to help them understand the industry a little better. Thanks for jumping in and offering your perspective on the topic! I always love to hear from designers.

      Reply

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