In order to become a successful flower trader, whether you are a broker, wholesaler, importer or even a florist, it is very important to team up with growers who will contribute to the success of your business. In general terms, you should be looking for trustworthiness, price, quality and innovation.
In my experience, I always ended up with problems if I overlooked any of these qualifications. What does this mean exactly? It might sound obvious, but if you look more deeply into it, you will see that it is easier said than done.
The idea behind the "selecting key growers" strategy is to ensure that 80% of your business is supported by 20% of your most reliable growers (this is the Pareto principle). Once you are able to identify your key vendors, you can focus on making that relationship stronger.
In order to establish what characteristics make a good grower, we interviewed eight professional flower buyers to find out what is really important. Here are some words that came up during these interviews:
- Invoices on time
- Key season support
- New varieties
All of these words are somehow related to one of the four main categories mentioned at the beginning of this article, so this is a good way of rating a grower. At this point in time, in the flower industry, there is no guide or way of knowing how to rate growers, so we are forced to guess when we come across a new grower, and only discover how good they are afterwards.
In order of importance, these are the most desirable qualities that a buyer should expect from a grower in order to start a business relationship:
The main concerns buyers face in regards to building a business relationship with a grower that is not trustworthy is that they will fail when most needed by:
- Not delivering flowers when they say they will
- Changing prices too drastically
- Selling to competitors at lower prices
- Not providing availability for peak seasons like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Women's Day, etc.
Is the grower investing in new varieties? Is it constantly improving production? At the end of the day, this will show in the flowers you receive from them.
This doesn't require much explanation. We all know what quality is: fresh flowers, good vase, big heads, nice colors, etc.
What I've learned is that not all expensive flowers are good and not all low-cost flowers are bad. Timing is very important when it comes to buying.