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Covid-19

Show Notes - Episode 01

The Ohio Bride Podcast 

How is Covid-19 affecting the floral industry and what does that mean for your wedding

Rachel Harper

TUNE IN: APPLE PODCAST | SPOTIFY | STITCHER

Welcome

00:59 Hi Everyone, welcome to our first Special Edition. I’m so excited. We have Carrie with us tonight of Stem Floral Design. She is the founder and owner.

Hello, I’m so happy you’re here. I want to plug you though. You are the founder and head designer and you own this business and you’ve been in the industry for nearly 20 years… I just really want to put together some information to really help couples out as they’re making decisions on if they’re going to postpone if they’re going to hang in there and hope it works out the date they have and what that means for them. Flowers for their wedding. So thank you so much for coming on.

Carrie’s Background + 911 Surviving that Economic Downturn

01:33 Tell me a little bit about your background. Well, let me start off. I was a start off as a floral clerk when I was in college. So I did this as part-time and started off in my hometown of Wooster, Ohio, which is about two hours north of Columbus. So I started off as part-time was not a floral designer at that moment because back then you had to have you know, the schooling and the certificate before you ever touch flowers. So I was a person learning how to do the bows, bleaching buckets, everything and it was just my side gig, you know, while I was in college and everything, but it also grew into me going to take classes and get certified as a floral designer. So from that, I ended up down in Columbus around the time of 911. So I worked downtown. When it was I worked at a shop that was Like it was connected to the city center mall and everything. And so what we did down there was we supplied a lot of the lobby arrangement. So like, we had a lobby arrangements for the different companies downtown that were doing the weekly arrangements that say like, you know, 350 a week of these nice elaborate arrangements. So when 911 hit everything, it literally like took the bomb out from underneath us. And so I had seen over the years of what happens when all this, you know, goes on.

So kind of as the business started to fizzle out with the economy, I went into business management, which was what I was going to school for in the first place. So I was with bath and Bodyworks and then I ended up going over to Ann Taylor Loft, and so that’s the area of that with a corporation really gave me such a good grounding for running my own. business, because, to me, it’s very important to have that type of training not only the schooling but to also go into Corporation as well, where they have strict guidelines. So, as the economy has gone up and down, I’ve always continued my love for flowers. It’s just always been something that’s been like second nature to me. But I also grew up in a rural area where predominantly everybody up there was farmers.

Resilience

06:14 So you know, as I’ve gone through the times where 911 was, and then, of course, the recession that happened in 2007. It’s really built up a lot of resilience for me. Because if you don’t, if you don’t build up that resilience, and if you’ve never gone through something is as terrifying as this, you know, you don’t know how to develop that ability to recover. So that it makes you write you know, a better person. So, you know, there was as quoted, I was reading on it was talking about resilience and it was said to be a person or group’s ability to recover from adversity to continue projecting the future. So sometimes it’s difficult search circumstances or traumas, you know, allow the development of resources that were dormant and that that individual is unaware of until something bad happens like this.

Where do we source flowers?

So it’s not typically here domestically 75% is, you know, grown in California and the 25 other percent of it is broken up between, you know, like states like Florida, Hawaii, you know, Washington, other states, Ohio, Michigan, so What had happened the other day when all of this hit, it was almost like a perfect storm that happened. So the timing that Covid-19 had hit, as it started to trickle down throughout the other countries and everything was just as these flower farms were ramping up to mass-produce.

I mean, they were mass-producing right now, because we’re ramping up for the wedding industry. So it was almost like the right storm with us. Right at the time, I come in. Because, you know, as everything was being sent over to the flower auction, which is, you know, in the Netherlands, it’s the largest flower auction in the world about this.

New Lead Times

11:08 So can you give me an idea of how far out you have to purchase from your sources for, say, a wedding? You know, what’s the lead time that you need, let’s say, in an ideal world, let’s say, it’s, you know, it’s a normal season, what’s the ideal world versus what we’re looking at now. So within the, within the floral industry and the wedding industry, I will kind of like walk you through of like, where things you know, like how this has happened and how this all plays a part. So with the pandemic, it’s pretty much put the floral and wedding industry to a screeching halt.

Sending a lot of businesses that rely on this industry, for their liveliness, scrambling to figure out how they’re going to make ends meet. But in the current situation of this, it plays into why so much of the industry is kind of like they’re stumped. They don’t know what’s going on, because this has never happened before; and that’s why so many people can’t give answers right now, like exact timing, because we really don’t know, on the exact timing of all this, so that it can go back to normal again.

So, you know, like the cut flowers, you know, they’re grown in a variety of locations. So, you know, just for that it’s, you know, while there are flower farms, you know, within us supplies, the wedding industry, we also rely on flower farms all over the world to supply the high demand for flowers. So if we take a look at it, most cut flowers are grown in warm climates. So because of those climates that allow for flower production to go throughout most of the year. Whereas if it was local, it’s, the climate isn’t there for it to go all year round. So that’s why it’s important for this.

15:12 Exactly. And you know, if you look at this way to give you a better idea about these cut flower farms everything and why they’re so important for our wedding industry is because if you look at farmers around Ohio, okay, so if you look at farmers that crop for corn, soybeans, wheat, stuff like that, so they have their machinery that puts this, the seeds in the ground, they also have the machinery like combines to bring the crop out, you know, so that they can have that yield then for their crops for the end of the year. Flower farms, they don’t have a machine that manually goes.

Costs

19:58 But do you think that this is going to drive the cost of floral up for events that are being postponed? In general, I did some research before our call tonight and I came across an article from the Better Business Bureau that stated 2018 stat says is the average cost of floral at a wedding in Ohio is $2,534. And obviously, that’s the entire state. Yeah. So I’m curious what your thoughts are going to be about pricing, and how does that work in your contract process for the couple, you know, as far as unforeseen price increases?

What should couples be doing now?

25:12 So, another question I have for you, for couples, what should they be doing now? What do you what can they be doing now? Let’s say, hey, they know they’re going to have to postpone How can they start making judgment calls or start looking at different flower designs that they may like now? Is it good for them to give you a call and talk to you, you know, so you can speak with them directly?

Meet Our Guest:

Carrie is the founder and head designer at Stem Floral Studio.  She has nearly 20 years of wedding floral design and business management experience.  Carrie has experienced the ups and downs of the economy over the last 20 years; beginning with 9/11, followed by the devastating 2007 recession and the impact it has had on the wedding and floral industry.  

Carrie has witnessed the result of what happens to the floral industry when an economic downturn forces many businesses to substantially cut back on budgets and brides are forced to cut back on their wedding budget.  We will also discuss how to reevaluate your vision based on what florals are available.

Instagram: @stemflordesign

Website: https://www.stemfloralstudio.com/

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