“I’m in the NY Metro area (20 minutes outside of NYC in Westchester County) and I’ve been a wedding florist for over 30 years.
“Presently I’m having a difficult time because many of the most popular local venues are ‘pay to play’ and I’ve never felt comfortable with the idea of “paying” a venue for their referrals.
“So I’ve had to re- think aspects of my business. There are still plenty of venues around that I can work in and I don’t mind traveling provided there’s enough compensation.
“I know I’m very good at what I do. For years people would refer me or come to me because I could sit down with a bride, chat for 15 minutes or so, look at dresses, venues etc. and come up with designs and flowers that suited her and her style.
“Some years I had close to a 100% booking rate (price being the reason they didn’t book.)
“Lately, due in large part to the internet and Pinterest – my expertise is no longer needed.
“I’m simply a “means to an end.” Today’s brides bring me pics of what they like and want me to price it. That’s not easy for me because my talent is taking their ideas and visions and designing something custom-tailored to their style and budget.
“I’m really tired of hearing brides repeat the advice they’ve heard from the so-called experts online and in their venue.
“Online experts are hardly ever experts, just writers trying to fill a blog post, usually offering poor advice, voicing the need for signature cocktail at the expense of floral decor. Venues are not seeking creativity or uniqueness either; they want to do things in the easiest way for them. Always folding napkins the same way, providing 3 generic but ‘free’ votives per table or telling brides to use the reception arrangements for the ceremony because it will save them money.
“Bottom line is they don’t want to be bothered with having to do something different.
“For years, I tried to just attract brides but now I realize my thinking was totally wrong.
“I’m not the right florist for every bride so I’m thinking that my niche is “the bride that kind of knows what she wants, realizes that a lot of what she’s seeing is unrealistic for her and wants expert help/advice in making her budget create a décor that’s unique and special.”
“My inquiry form has 3 options:
- I don’t know flowers and I haven’t even thought about it.
- I have ideas as to what I want but I need professional advice to refine them.
- I know exactly what I want and want you to bring all my ideas together.
“As long as I’ve been using this form, I’ve only had 1 “A” bride and 1 “C” bride. Everyone else has chosen “B.”
“Sounds like my target market right? But one of us is wrong.
“Most of those brides think that my job is refining their $30,000 Pinterest wedding pics to fit their $3000 budget.
“And they’ll keep shopping until they ultimately realize it’s not going to happen and they end up settling for “someone/something else that fits their budget.”
“My booking percentage has gone to 30% – it’s scary. I’m trying not to take it personally but I don’t like feeling like a relic.
“I’m not afraid to charge what I’m worth. I won’t go into details about our personal service (this post is already long enough.). I’m really struggling with this…
“Am I being realistic? Is my ‘niche’ a realistic niche?” — Lidia, 5th Avenue Flowers & Events
Answer: Yes! Your Niche Does Exist, But You Need to Identify and Attract the Right Clients For You
A few things jumped out at me in your post:
#1 – Paying for referrals
It may be time to consider this more carefully. It’s simply a marketing cost to be referred by specific venues.
If these venues are working with your ideal clients (more on that in a second) it can make a HUGE difference to your bottom line…especially if you don’t have to pay unless they book you.
#2 – Your target market
Your market does exist in the NYC area. Undoubtedly. We live in one of the most profitable wedding markets in the entire U.S.
You need to attract a different market. Not just couples with a bigger wedding budget, but those who value the relationship of planning and design.
Identify 10 of your best couples who were fun and profitable to work with. Describe them in detail: the wedding, style, career, education, personality, their problems, dreams.
Look for the similarities. Once you know who they are you can figure out where they go when planning the wedding and meet them there.
What venues do they choose? What other vendors do they work with?
#3 – The DIY niche
You can choose to target this more high-touch market, but it’s going to take some effort, trial and error, and advertising dollars to do it right.
Another alternative is to start with the market you have and create new services that appeal to them.
One florist I know has come up with some very creative offers for DIY clients. She even teaches workshops that show them how to arrange their own flowers, and sells them the supplies. Some of these brides end up hiring her for their flowers anyway, once they realize it’s not so easy.
She has 3 groups: total DIY, a blend of DIY and floral design, and then high-end full service floral. It’s a combo that’s working for her.
Start with identifying your ideal client and getting clear about the type of work you want to do. This will help you create the business to make that happen.
How do you deal with today’s Pinterest-obsessed weddings?