Botanical Brouhaha Expert Discussion Panel: No. 104

Question:

Do you offer residential holiday decorating to your clients? If so, have you found it to be a profitable service to offer? Would love to know which holidays you cover and which services your clients ask for. I’m thinking about adding this to my plate, but want to make sure it’s worth it before moving forward.

Holly Chapple Flowers | Angela Newton Roy Photography | Hope Flower Farm

Holly Chapple Flowers (Abby Chapple) | Angela Newton Roy Photography

Answers:

For many years as a retailer, residential holiday decorating for some of my best clients was a big part of my holiday business.  It was absolutely one of the most profitable parts of my business, as I serviced their holiday interior work, selling them new decorations, switching out old ones, suggesting additional fresh designs as it got closer to the holiday.  Helping with fresh flowers for their parties…  Even though I have been out of retail for close to 12 years now, I still service 3 of my best clients to this day – they will have no other…  I have been assigned to do their decor as long as they live – they have told me as much.  Sometimes, servicing several very high end clients is all you need to keep things afloat.  Their trust in you and your expertise turns into a life-long forged business relationship. I am booked every year, about mid-year for dates to do the Christmas decorations. Also any other special occasions that may come up, parties, etc. – they try to get me to do (sometimes this does not work out date-wise, since I travel so much) – but I try to accommodate as much as I can.

The key to serving clients in this way is…  to offer excellent service, but charge well. This is the way to win their confidence.  If the service is offered at a bargain, they treat you like a bargain.  As a professional, you have to know exactly what your time is worth – this is why they hire you, because you are the best!!  Your hourly or daily fee has to be worthwhile. And then when you add in the mark-up on the products sold – it should definitely be very profitable.  When you have to bring in assistants, make sure that you have good mark-up on their hourly wage. This makes it all worthwhile.

Hitomi Gilliam AIFD (Design358)

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Our farm and design studio only operate during the growing season so by the winter holidays, we’re in rest and planning-for-the-next-season mode. We don’t do any residential holiday decorating.

Jennie Love (Love ‘n Fresh Flowers)

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Holly Chapple Flowers | Angela Newton Roy Photography | Hope Flower Farm

I truly love evergreen and winter designs, these types of designs were the first I learned to create. In my area it is easy to harvest and craft pieces out of items foraged which can make the margin awesome.

But here is why we typically don’t get too involved in this type of décor… my energy is spent by the end of the wedding season and I just don’t want to destroy my Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Christmas decorating typically begins on Thanksgiving weekend, just the receiving of the greens that weekend is enough work for me during a busy family weekend. There is so much projection and forecasting that goes into this as well and I don’t like purchasing with the hope of a sale. For the last two years we have hosted a huge open house at our farm. The event requires so much labor that we have trouble turning a profit. I am totally on the fence about this!!

Holly Chapple (Holly Heider Chapple Flowers)

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I don’t offer this service.

Alicia Schwede (Bella Fiori), Clare Day (Clare Day Flowers)

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I do not decorate for the holidays- in fact, I avoid it completely…

Susan McLeary (Passionflower)

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Holly Chapple Flowers | Angela Newton Roy Photography | Hope Flower Farm

Holly Chapple Flowers | Angela Newton Roy Photography | Hope Flower Farm

All images courtesy of Holly Chapple Flowers (Abby Chapple) | Angela Newton Roy Photography | Hope Flower Farm

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